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Balkh students stop attending lessons as violence rages

Balkh students stop attending lessons as violence rages

Aug 27, 2019 - 20:45

MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): A number of students have stopped attending classes following recent conflict-related violence in northern Balkh province, teachers say.

They say the war has intensified in the province since last one month and the violence has affected the educationinfo-icon process as well.

The Balkh provincial council says it is also concerned more students would leave schools if the situation continues.

Fierce clashes have been ongoing between Afghan forces and Talibaninfo-icon insurgents in nine districts of Balkh province since one month.

Chamtal, Chaharbolak, Dawlatabad, Shurtapa, Balkh, Sholgar, Charkant, Zari and Nahr Shahi are districts where clashes happen on a daily basis.

Wahid Gul Zaheer, a teacher at Salarzai High School in Balkh district, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the ongoing conflict in the province had affected students attendance in schools.

Citing his school as an example, he said that 50 percent of their students had stopped attending classes since a month.

“The school shuts whenever there is a clash between the Afghan forces and the Taliban nearby”, he said.

He said the situation had worsened as some students did not attend classes even on normal days.

“If the situation turns comparably good, students attend classes but they cannot focus on their lessons as they fear another clash,” he said. Zaheer asked the warring sides to spare welfare facilities during war.

Meanwhile, Ainullah, a student of Chamtal High School in Chamtal district, said that he attended his classes only twice during the entire last week.

He said clashes happened on a daily basis, a situation that did not allow them to go to school.

“We come across fights daily, bombs are planted on roads and rockets are fired into the air. My parents do not allow us to go to school and they tell us we would be caught in crossfire.” 

Ainullah said he had big dreams about his future but the war had created problems for him.

Besides students, teachers also refuse to appear in schools due to clashes.

Hamidullah (not a real name), a teacher in Abu Al-Maasher Balkhi High School in Chmatal district, said that he had not been going to school since last one week and he was currently staying in Mazar-i-Sharif, the provincial capital.

He said his school was located three kilometres away from the district centre, where he said, clashes happened on a daily basis.

“The conflict in the area has intensified since last one week and that is the reason students and teachers don’t come to school,” he said.

The Taliban have planted bombs on roads around the district center, restricting teachers and students’ movement in the area, Hamidullah said.

“If the situation does not improve, the academic year would remain incomplete and many students would deprive of their basic right of education,” he said.

He said the Balkh education department had so far taken no decisive steps to talk to the Afghan forces and the Taliban not to disrupt public education.

Balkh provincial council head  Afzal Hadid endorsed people’s complaints about security and asked the organs concerned to find an immediate solution to the issue.

He said nine districts around the provincial capital were currently under high security threats which affected education and other sectors.

Families in some areas are forced to leave their houses and their children are obviously deprived of going to schools, he said.

He added that the government was responsible to provide education facilities to the Afghan children.

Balkh education director, Aliullah Amiri said the education process was going normally in the province and they had not received any reports about serious problems in schools.

“No school in Balkh is closed due to security threats and students and teachers attend their classes on a daily basis”, he said.

He confirmed security problems increased in some districts in recent weeks and said the situation’s impact on the education process was temporary.

He said the education department with the help of Islamic scholars and tribal elders was trying to convince the warring sides not to harm the education sector.

Mds/ma

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