In Helmand, education casualty of non-stop interference
LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): The governor has accused Education Ministry officials of appointing inexperienced and ineligible people to senior posts at the education department in southern Helmand province.
In an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, Hayatullah Hayat alleged some government officials were meddling and as a result denying students the kind of education they needed.
Hayat claimed some individuals had been issued with appointment letters fromthe Ministry of Education (MoE) in disregard of merit. “The appointment letters have been issued to individuals for high posts; but we have sent back 13 such lettersto the ministryin the past 14 months.”
Such negligence and interference caused problems for the education process, the governor noted, saying: “These letters have stirred arguments within the education department and have negatively impacted the teaching process.”
The governor said the education process in Helmand was literally stagnant but no one bothered about implementing reforms. However, he did not name the meddlers but said:: “I respect every public representative and tribal elder. However, I don’t give anyonethe right to misuse their positions.”
Meanwhile, provincial council head Karim Atal assailed the provincial authorities for recommending their blue-eyed boysto the Education Ministry for appointments. He and the governor had launched joint efforts to addressthe matter.
“Wolesi Jirga members,in an effort to advance their petty personal interest, have been mounting pressure the education minister to appoint ineligible individuals,” the public representatives said.
An official atthe Helmand education department, wishing anonymity, saida disputewas ongoing among department officials over seats in the province.“A number of people bring letters against each other from higher-ups.”
The dispute over appointments letters from the ministry has been ongoing for the past few months among administrative and teaching staff of the department and among managers at the district level.
Nad Ali district social council head, Mohammad Nabi,confirmed the dispute and called it a hurdle tothe education process.“Department officials cannot warn a teacher or principal because they have disagreements among themselves and secondly teachers and principals have connections with higher-ups in Kabul.”
There were also security concerns hampering teachers’ presence, Nabi explained. As a consequence, he continued, students were deprived of a sound education.
Wasil, an 11th grade Chah-i-Injir High School in Nad Ali district, complained about problems during the current academic year.He blasted the education department for failing to pay due attention to resolving the problems being faced by students.
Acting Education Director Sardar Mohammad Samimconfirmed certain issues. However, he had no knowledge about the people who had obtained appointment letters for the same positions.
He said the issue had been shared with the governor and other officials concerned. A number of letters had also been sent back to the ministry, the acting director revealed.
However, MoE spokesman Kabir Haqmal said administrative reforms were the main consideration in each appointment. “When needed, the minister has the power to appoint people as acting heads. But rules and regulations are respected in all cases.”
Helmand has 387 schools, but 150 of them remain closed for security reasons. And 50 others are without buildings.At least 200,000 students, including 40,000 girls, attend schools in the province.
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