Badakhshan education sector in a shambles
FAIZABAD (Pajhwok): Interference by influential figures, inefficient teachers, teaching of science subjects by religious figures in Badakhshan schools have contributed to downgrade the quality of vital education sector.
Badakhshan is a mountainous northeastern province, having 28 districts. Despite many achievements in education sector, the province still grappled with many challenges.
The province has more than 640 preliminary, secondary and high schools, having more than 328,000 students, with 150,000 of them girl students.
Around 10,000 mentors teach in the province, out of which 50 per cent of them are non-professionals and religious teachers.
Saifuddin Sayes, a long-time teacher in the province and head of civil society association, told Pajhwok Afghan News it was worrying that every year thousands of students graduated without apt literacy.
“We are very concerned that every year eight to 10,000 students graduate from schools without proper literacy. Neither they can find way to universities nor can they get hired in government,” he remarked.
“They are unemployed. They do not have vocational training to work. So they have no choice but to swell anti-governments ranks.”
He criticized influential figures meddling in the affairs of education, saying they had direct role in employing non-professional teachers. These influential, he said, were members of provincial councils, members of parliament and local elders.
“The education department does not have any vision and strategy to improve the vital sector in the province. There is also no regular communication among students’ parents and teachers,” Sayes added.
Of 11,000 school graduates appeared for Kankur or nation-wide university entrance examination last year, less than 3,000 managed to get to universities.
Sayes said these figures showed lack of quality in education sector in Badakhshan province.
For instance, he said, out of 62 people that graduated from Makhfi Badakhshi High School last year, only two students managed to successfully pass Kankur test. Makhfi Badakhshi is a reputed girl’s school in Faizabad, the provincial capital.
“If Faizabad is facing with such a grave situation then what can be said about other districts,” Sayes questioned, saying that in last year’s Kankur Badakhshan’s performance was very low.
Lida who graduated 12thclass from Halima Sadia High School in Faizabad said lack of professional teachers was a major reason for her not to pass the crucial examination. “Science subjects were taught by unprofessional teachers. This caused me to fail in the exams,” she grumbled.
Jalaluddin, another student from Kokcha High School in provincial capital, said he was always topper at school, but could not crack Kankur. He had no choice but to prepare one more year for the exam despite all the economic challenges on his way.
Director Educaiton Sayed Shamsullah Shams said in one school they had 12 teachers out of which eight of them were graduates of Islamic studies.
According to Shams-ul-Haq, majority of the districts, teachers who were graduates of Islamic studies and literature were teaching science subjects. “Those teachers that have been appointed earlier are not prepared to leave their positions for the new comers and professional ones.”
Education department head said interference by powerful people was on all levels, and local elders had added to their ongoing challenges.
“In the last two years we tried to evaluate teachers and principals’ performance, but the interferences were so much that we could not go ahead with our plan,” he added.
It was high time for officials, influential figures and local people to cooperate with the education department to improve the sector in larger national interest.
He suggested a comprehensive evaluation system for teachers who have been teaching opposite their field should be sacked and new teachers be hired.
“We have a formed a team to travel to districts and conduct meetings with local officials and elders. The inept teachers should be replaced competent ones,” he suggested.
Ataullah, principal of a school in Dara-e-Jim locality of Kishm district, said majority of those teachers hired during the war-time had lack of professional capacity.
He said the school currently lacked teachers for English, Chemistry, Physics and other subjects.
Sayed Mohammad Shamshiri, education department supervision head, linked the students’ bad performance to inefficient teaching staff.
He said that in one school there were instances of up to 18 religious teachers teaching all sorts of subjects, including science.
Intrusion of high-ranking officials in their job was a main impediment to bringing reforms in the education sector of the province. It is said that of 600 schools in the province, more than 45% of them had no proper buildings.
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