Sar-i-Pul schools under Taliban threat
SAR-I-PUL CITY (Pajhwok): Up to 50 schools in northern Sar-i-Pul province are under threat from the Taliban, a public representative claimed on Friday, asking the Education Department to pay teachers’ salaries regularly.
Asadullah Khurram, the provincial council head, told Pajhwok Afghan News the schools under threat were located in Sar-i-Pul City, Kohistanat and Sancharak districts. The areas are Taliban’s influence.
He the schools in the insurgent-controlled areas were faced with a double whammy of lacking teaching facilities and security threats. He urged the government to pay attention to the situation and address it on a priority basis.
“Most of these schools are threatened by the armed opponents. Area people say none of these schools is functioning properly. And local clerics teach students in the ones that remain open,” Khurram added..
But Education Director Abdul Ghafoor said the academic environment in the province had improved, compared with previous years. With the cooperation of tribal elders, students could go to school even in Taliban-controlled areas, he insisted.
“It’s true that some schools are located in insecure areas. But it doesn’t mean these schools are closed. They are supervised by influential people and local councils...” the director explained, saying staff was paid regularly.
In some parts of the province, he acknowledged, people did not send their daughters to school due to the absence of female teachers. The shortage of professional female teachers in rural areas would be overcome, he promised.
But resident Amir Mohammad endorsed the provincial council chief’s view and said: "In fact, our area does not have any functional school. Here strongmen are posing as teachers and drawing salaries.” No government official had been seen in the area over the past four years, he alleged.
On the other hand, authorities say 387 of that 412 educational institutes in the province are open. More than 150,000 students, including 40 percent girls, are enrolled there.
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