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In Afghanistan, a teacher's vision for education

In Afghanistan, a teacher's vision for education

Oct 06, 2011 - 15:23

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): "I wish to see the day Afghan students have buildings for their schools, equipped with modern facilities," says Zahir Shah, a 60 years old teacher.

Hailing from the Istalif area of Kabul province, he has been in the profession for 43 year. Currently, he teaches literature at the Char Qala-i-Wazirabad High School in Kabul.

As the Worldinfo-icon Teachers' Day was marked on October 5, he taught his students under a tent, saying the learning-teaching process was ineffective in such an environmentinfo-icon.

"If the present situation persists, the quality of educationinfo-icon in Afghanistaninfo-icon would become more dismal," the schoolteacher warned in an interview with Pajhwok Afghan News.

Alongside constructing new buildings for schools, the Ministry of Education should not lose sight of improving laboratories and providing the latest teaching tools, he suggested.

Presently, 50 percent of schools across the country are operating under tents and a large number of teachers are untrained, say education department officials.

Zahir Shah has taught thousands of students, including engineers, doctors and journalists, during his career. "Having four children, I treat students as my sons and pay special attention to them."

Unlike in the past, some students do not respect their teachers, refuse to heed their advice and tend to become violent at times, he regretted.

There have been incidents of girls injuring their teachers with knives and knuckledusters, noted Shah, citing decades of war and lack of parental advice for the violent behaviour.

Shocked by the ongoing wave of insecurity in the country, he said: "One of my sweet memories is the education ministry's announcement that it will distribute plots to teachers."

Optimistic that none of his fraternity members would remain homeless, Shah is still living in a rented house in the Char Qala-i-Wazirabad area.

Over the past decade, the education ministry has worked hard to better teachers' living conditions by raising their salaries, he acknowledged. However, he called for more concrete steps to promote the cause of education.

Since 2009, 134,000 teachers have benefitted from the payroll system. Another 56 will be included in the programme. Before the implementation of the programme, a teacher's baseline salary was $65.47 (3,000 afs) and highest id="mce_marker"24.94 (6,000 afs).

But now the pay has gone up to id="mce_marker"35.36 and $416.49 respectively. As many as 50,000 teachers have been given plots over the past 10 years.



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