Illiteracy root cause of our misfortunes: Karzai
KABUL (Pajhwok): President Hamid Karzai, stressing the imperative of promoting modern scientific knowledge, on Saturday called the lack of sound education the root cause of Afghanistan’s problems and misfortunes.
Over the past 12 years, he said, ample progress had been made in the field of education, with 11.5 million children enrolled school. But 1.5 million children remained out of school, a figure that should be reduced to zero, he added.
Addressing a new academic year function in Kabul, he said: "It’s true our nation is known all over the world for its bravery and honour. But the time of pitched battles is over. Today’s war is centered on advances in science and technology."
Karzai explained: “Our misery, misfortunes and poverty and reliance on foreign troops essentially stem from our weakness in the field of scientific education in Afghanistan."
He urged youth to focus on learning sciences, capitalise on their energies and bring comfort to the lives of their countrymen. He told the students: "You are a great power. 11.5 million children can be a key driver of progress."
About the April 5 presidential and provincial election, the president said: “Our future will be built by the same people. In a few days from now, a new government will take over -- a tomorrow better than today. All Afghans should go to the polls...”
Education Minister Farooq Wardak touted progress in the education sector. “With the war still raging in our country, we can proudly say we have realised our goal as caravan of education has covered a lot of area."
Based on the Strategic Plan of Education, 8 million students are enrolled and almost 10,000 schools are functional. But the number of schools will increase to 17,700 and students to 11.5 million this year.
Wardak said 4.7 million of school students were girls, taught by 200,000 teachers. He added they were trying for quantitative and qualitative improvement. About 33 percent of Afghan students were enrolled in private schools, compared with 77 percent in developed countries, he concluded.
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