Samangan students faced with shortage of books, teachers
AIBAK (Pajhwok): Pajhwok Afghan News findings show 50 percent of schools in northern Samangan province are in need of textbooks, around 1,000 teachers and standard buildings.
Educationists believe the lack of textbooks, teachers and proper buildings can contribute to the academic mediocrity of students who cannot find their way to higher education after graduation from school.
Each student in Samangan, according to a Pajhwok report, is adrift of five textbooks -- a problem that mostly affects high school pupils. The shortage of books is more acute in Dara-i-Sauf Bala, Roy Du-Aab and Dara-i-Sauf Payeen districts.
Syed Jawad, acting director of education, said that more than 22,500 students were enrolled 47 schools in the district.Without going into details, he said 90 percent of students of 12th and ninth grades and 50 percent of other classes lacked textbooks.
He added 20 percent of students purchased textbooks from stores in the district bazaar. Supply of textbooks to schools is the government’s responsibility, but delays in this regard have been a common irritant.
Education manager for Roy Do-Aab district, Abdur Rauf Khairandesh, said 13,000 students were studying at the 41 schools in the town. However, 90 percent of 10th to 12 grade and 60 percent of 1st to 9thclass students lack textbooks.
Syed Abdul Qudus, education director for Dara-i-Sauf Payeen, said more than 14,000 students were enrolled in 60 schools in the district.He said 26 of the schools were in Taliban-controlled areas.
Qudus added 60 percent of students in the district were faced with a shortage of textbooks.
Education DirectorMohammad Eshaq Hamkar said that nearly 9,700 students were attending 32 schools in Hazrat Sultan district.
He said 55 percent of students, particularly students of high schools there lacked text books.
Mohammad Bashir Naveed, education director for Firoz Nakhcheer, said 4,200 students, 50 percent of them girls, were enrolled in 14 schools across the district.
He said 45 percent of students lacked textbooks, while parents of some pupils had to purchase books in the open market.
Mohammad Qasim Khuram, education director for the district said 30 schools were operational in the town, where more than 10,000 students were getting education.He said 30 percent of students lacked textbooks.
According to the information from Abdul Wadud, head of education planning, more than 39,700 students, including girls, are studying at 72 schools in the province.
He lamented students in Aibak, the provincial capital, were short of 50 percent of course books. Many parents, guardians and other relatives of students complained of non-availability of books.
Ahmad Khalid, a student of 10th class at Dara-i-Zhwandoon High School, said they had only Biology, Pashto, Civic Education and Tafseer Sharif books in their class.
He deplored teachers did not wrote the main points of lessons on the blackboard. “We will have no information about the subjects whose bookswe don’t have. We will write nothing during the exams.”
Also Noor Khan, a resident of Hazrat Sultan district, said: “My son Javed is a student of 5th class at the Aur-ul-Shams School, but he cannot write even his own name. It’s just because of the education systemwe have-- no books and teachers doing nothing.”
He asked the ministry to ensure that every student got books and monitor the teaching system at schools in the province.
Meranshah Noori, general director at the education department, acknowledged the lack of textbooks as a major issue. He said 578,000 books had already been distributed this year but there was demand for another 542,000.
He said the issue had been discussed with the education ministry, which pledged to address the problem. The total number of students in 296 schools across Samangan is over 113,000,including 46,000 girls.
Lack of buildings
Acting Education Director Ferozuddin Saqib said 145 schools had buildings and the construction of another 14 schools was underway. The remaining 137 schools are working in rented buildings.
Shortage of teachers
Juma Khan, human resource manager at the education department, said the province should have a total of 2,720 teachers. Of 2,370 of them are school graduates and 350 others with lower qualifications.
Looking at the current situation, there was need for another 1,000 teachers to be appointed, the official said, adding that steps were being taken to address the problem as soon as possible.
Backwardness of students
Books, buildings, observation and an overall enabling environment played a vital role in the quality of education, said Abdul Rahman Sadiq, who has worked as a teacher for 37 years.
“A student generally lags behind in the subject whose book is not available. And if there is no building, pupils cannot study properly. Similarly, unprofessional teachers cannot impart lessons in a proper manner to students,” he argued.
The issue of lack of books and school buildings was not limited to Samangan; other provinces have similar complaints.
Mujib Mehardad, spokesman for the Ministry of Education (MoE), said 16,000 schools were currently functional across the country. Fifty percent of the schools are without buildings,housed in rented structures or tented.
He said the ministry needed to hire up to 10,000 new teachers annually but over the past three years, no budget had been allocated for the purpose. With the process to hire 12,000 new teachers underway, 217,000 teachers are already working in government-run schools.
Mehardad said the ministry printed 50 million textbooks annually. Half of funds for printing the books are provided by foreign sources as the ministry has no budgetary allocation for the task.
He said this year more than 20 million textbooks had been printed. Based on demand, the books were distributed to students in 11 provinces of the country.
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