25,000 out-of-school children being enrolled in Kandahar
KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): Education officials said on Monday nearly 25,000 out-of-school children both boys and girls would be brought to schools as part of an enrollment campaign during 2015-16 academic year in southern Kandahar province.
Kandahar is one of Afghanistan’s warmer provinces where the nine-month academic year starts in September and in the colder areas in March.
Kandahar education department’s spokesman Nazar Mohammad Samimi told Pajhwok Afghan News the enrollment drive had already been launched right away in Kandahar City and districts.
He said it was expected that about 25,000 out-of-school children would be enrolled in schools this solar year in Kandahar to increase their number to nearly 290,000 this year from last year’s 260,000 students, including 78,000 girls.
The education official said all preparations for the new academic year had been finalized and that there were some problems which had been shared with the Ministry of Education.
He said the majority of schools in Kandahar had no buildings and most of such schools existed in districts.
However, he said the Education Ministry had promised to construct buildings for 26 schools during the ongoing academic year.
Several school buildings in Kandahar City needed rehabilitation, the official said, adding that the problem of textbooks shortage for primary schools had been resolved, but students of class 7, 8 and 9 still faced the problem.
He said the shortage of books for these classes was not only confined to Kandahar, but schools in central capital Kabul also struggled with the issue.
There are a total of 454 schools across Kandahar province, but 147 of them have been closed due to insecurity.
Samimi said the major problem behind the closure of these schools was the shortage of teachers and that problem plagued schools in Kandahar City as well.
He said education department officials were trying to overcome the teachers’ shortage problem and pave the way for reopening of closed schools in districts.
He said some aid organizations had opened schools in districts where government-run schools had been closed. Both boys and girls were studying in the NGOs-run facilities, he added.
He said schools in insecure areas lacked buildings and another problem was displacement of families due to insecurity.
Meanwhile, Kandahar residents said the Education Department should resolve problems in the sector ahead of the start of the new academic year. They also asked the department to do more on improving the quality of education.
Haji Mohammad Din, who lives in Sanzari area of Zheri district, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the most important job the education department should do was to overcome the shortage of professional teachers and textbooks ahead of the new academic year.
He said the quality of education in districts had been low because most schools had no buildings, professional teachers and books.
A resident of Char Bagh area of Arghandab district, Fida Mohammad, said the education department besides resolving other problems should work on improving the quality of education.
He said six schools, which had been closed due to insecurity in the past, had reopened and seven new schools in the district had also been made operational, taking the number of schools to 30.
But it was not enough, he said, asking the government to improve the situation of functional schools instead of trying to reopen the closed schools.
Provincial education officials say the Governor’s House has created a consultative mini-jirga aimed at implementing reforms and preventing corruption in the education sector. The jirga meets after every fortnight to discuss progress, they say.
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