Most universities established under pressure: Momand
KANDAHAR (Pajhwok): Higher Education Minister Farida Momand has said most of the public sector universities have been established either under political pressure or political connections.
Momand, at the head of a delegation, arrived in Kandahar City, the capital of southern Kandahar province, to hold talks with officials about problems facing universities in the province and to inaugurate three newly constructed buildings on the Kandahar University campus.
Kandahar Governor Dr Mohammad Humayun Azizi told the visiting delegation there were a number of issues in area of higher education in Kandahar.
He said the Kandahar university lacked enough structures and other facilities and the National University of Agriculture Science and Technology had not been released any funds so far.
The governor complained the ministries of higher education, education and the public health had not constructed a single building in Kandahar since he assumed office two years ago. He said some 300 schools in Kandahar were without buildings.
The governor asked the higher education minister “what you have done except giving salaries to teachers?”
He said it was the government’s responsibility to provide services to people, otherwise the government was meaningless.
Last year, the governor recalled, he shared several problems of Kandahar with the Cabinet, but nothing happened to resolve them.
“How can we ask people to support the government and the security forces when we do nothing for them?,” questioned Azizi, who called Kandahar a forgotten province.
Higher Education Minister Dr. Farida Momand said her visit to Kandahar was aimed at investigating problems at the Kandahar University and the National University of Agriculture Science and Technology and finding solutions to them.
She said after enduring many hardships she was able to get increased her ministry’s budget from 1.8 to 2.8 percent, but still it was insufficient.
She said it was unfortunate that most of the universities had been established under political pressure and as a result of political connections, ignoring even preliminary requirements like buildings, teachers, laboratories and others.
Now her ministry had no option but to provide all needed facilities to these educational institutes, she said, adding it was very hard to cope with the situation with a meager budget.
She said today (Tuesday) three buildings --- cafeteria accommodating 1000 students, media centre and a library (Allama Abdul Hai Habibi Library) --- were inaugurated on the Kandahar University campus.
She promised to construct a hostel building for the university’s medical faculty and a Coordination and Research Centre.
About the agriculture university, Momand said she had requested the Indian foreign minister during her visit to India a few days ago to assist the university in areas of education and technical.
The minister said her ministry was trying to establish farms for the agriculture university and turn it into a production centre in order to gradually obtain financially sustainability.
About private universities, she said they were trying to evaluate all such universities before granting permission for the establishment of any new private university.
Momand also said her ministry wanted to see private university teachers receiving the same privileges as public sector university teachers.
She said future university entrance tests of the private sector universities would also be taken by the Higher Education Ministry.
A member of the delegation, Prof. Hamidzai said there were only four universities in the country when the Taliban ruled, enrolling 7000 students only.
He said currently there were 36 public sector and 127 private sector universities across the country imparting education to 370,000 students, calling it a revolution.
But he said the quantity of education had increased but the quality did not increase as it should be.
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