Uruzgan education sector in deep trouble
TIRINKOT (Pajhwok): As many as 67 schools have been closed due to escalating insecurity and other problems in central Uruzgan province, plunging the education sector in deep trouble, residents and officials said on Saturday.
In an interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, Education Director Ihsanullah Nashir confirmed the closure of 67 schools due to security concerns, lack of buildings and the absence of students.
“These schools are located in far-off areas of the province, but we are in talks with tribal elders to reopen the schools.”
According to Nashir, the problem of professional teachers’ shortage has partially been resolved by recruiting high school graduates as teachers under a transparent process.
He said donor agencies had unnecessarily established 20 schools in Tirinkot, 17 in Chinartu district and 30 in other districts.
Haji Abdul Salam, a resident of the Chinartu district, said: “Students are unwilling to go to schools in the absence of textbooks and teachers.”
None of the eight education directors appointed and replaced over the past eight years had been able to bolster the education sector, he said.
Another tribal elder, Ahmad Shah, said in some parts many families sent their children to religious seminaries instead of school.
A resident of Tirinkot City, Abdul Khalil, said schools in the provincial capital faced a lot of problems, believing the situation in districts would be more appalling.
“Many schools lack professional teachers, textbooks and have a low quality education system.”
Abdul Qahar, a resident of Khas Uruzgan district, said most teachers had not even passed 12th grade.
Governor Amanullah Timori acknowledged the education process in his province was extremely deplorable.
He warned of launching a storm of protests if the central administration did not pay attention.
“After I shared education related problems with the minister concerned, he promised to send a delegation to Uruzgan in near future to assess the situation. We will protest if the delegation did not come.”
According to the governor, the education system in Uruzgan needed drastic reforms. He feared new generations would be left illiterate if they remained silent over the education problems.
Education Ministry Spokesman Kabir Haqmal, confirming the problems in Uruzgan, said local authorities, especially the governor, should concentrate more on reopening closed schools.
He believed the governor and local authorities could play vital role in reopening closed schools in cooperation with elders.
Haqmal said 25 schools would be reopened in southern Zabul province in near future, a process that had already been launched in some other southern provinces.
He said 50,000 schoolteachers were needed to be hired countrywide, but budget shortages had been a problem.
“We have textbooks, but are unable to transport them to provinces. USAID has taken responsibility for printing and transporting textbooks to provinces and the agency is to launch the process.”
Local authorities say 78,000 students in Uruzgan are currently studying in 243 schools, with 70 of them still under construction.
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