Residents, officials differ over education progress
SHIBERGHAN (Pajhwok): Residents and education officials on Monday expressed conflicting views regarding the education process in northern Jawzjan province.
Residents complained the quality of education in Jawzjan had been low amid a lack of infrastructure, resources and professional teachers.
Around 200,000 students, 40 percent of them girls, are taught by 4,200 teachers in 380 schools in Jawzjan.
Abdul Rauf Aren, the deputy education director, said Jawzjan was the only province in the north where all schools were functional and 75 percent of teachers were professional.
He said after the collapse of the Taliban regime in 2001 and the advent of a democratic system in the country, the education department in Jawzjan had developed a lot.
The official said 195 school buildings were constructed during the past 14 years with a cost of $300 million. The buildings now housed more than 100,000 students, he said.
He informed that construction work on another 15 school buildings to accommodate 8,000 students was underway and would be completed this solar year.
Aren said around 187 schools were without buildings and the students of these schools studied in tents and under the open sky.
But residents, acknowledging some progress, complained the quality of education remained low and many schools lacked textbooks, chairs, desks and other resources.
Tajor, a resident of Sufi Qila village on outskirts of the provincial capital, Shiberghan, said her children learned nothing from their teachers.
The 50-year-old mother said: “Despite poverty, we send our children to school, but the quality of education is low and cannot enlighten the children.”
She said her husband had died and she supported her family by making handicrafts.
Shah Mohammad, another dweller, said the lack of educational materials in schools showed how incompetent the provincial education department was. He said a majority of students studied in open and without books.
But the education department official said 4,000 tents had been provided with the help of the United Nations Children's Fund to students who earlier studied in open.
He said the issue of textbooks for lower classes had been resolved and his department planned to distribute chapters to upper classes if a shortage of books occurred.
He rejected claims about low quality of education and said steps had been taken to improve the level of education in Jawzjan.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.