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Conflict closes 129 schools in Helmand

Conflict closes 129 schools in Helmand

Apr 23, 2016 - 20:48

LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): Educationinfo-icon officials say many schools are open in Talibaninfo-icon-controlled areas in southern Helmand province, but 129 schools are closed due to ongoing clashes.

There are a total 385 schools in Helmand and 129 of them have been closed in northern, southern and central districts of the province, according to the education director, Abdul Matin Jafar.

He told Pajhwok Afghan News the only reason behind the closure of these schools was clashes and the war.

He said his department was unable to monitor schools, supply books and other teaching materials due to insecurity that kept students and teachers away from schools.

In addition to insecurity, there are other challenges such as delay in dispatching textbooks to middle schools, lack of professional teachers, budget and staff, he said.

The director also complained there were some figures interfering in his department’s affairs, but named no one.

More schools have been closed as a result of the conflict in Helmand, but some have been reopened in Taliban- controlled areas where clashes had ended.

Currently, there are 215,000 students including girls being taught by 2311 teachers in the province.

Of 160 schools, 46 percent have their own buildings and students of the rest have been studying under the open skies, in tents, mosques or rented houses.

On a report in a British daily The Guardian that said security forces had turned into checkpoints some schools in Helmand, the education director said some schools located in frontline areas had been temporarily occupied by security forces due to the war.

He denied if permanent checkpoints had been established in schools.

But local officials in Nad Ali and Greshk districts acknowledged the Afghan National Army (ANA) remained stationed in some schools.

A monitoring officer in Greshk district, Sher Ahmad, said there were 38 schools in the district but 19 of them had been closed.

A dozen schools had been closed earlier and seven were recently closed in the district, he said.

He said there were currently a total 20,000 students including 3000 girls studying in the district.

A two-storey school building was damaged and all of its documents were burnt one and a half month ago during a clash between security personnel and militants, Ahmad said, adding currently police were stationed in the damaged building.

“The building needs millions of afghanis to be reconstructed, but we don’t have enough budget to rebuild it,” he said.

An ANA soldier, Sher Ali, said 60 soldiers had been stationed in school buildings in Nawzad district, but they were later moved to the Shorab military base after a coordinated Taliban and the fall of Nawzad district.

Education manager of Nad Ali district, Hajji Jamaluddin, said there were 31 schools in the district and two of them had been closed.

Currently, there are 16,000 students including 4000 girls enrolled in these schools in Nad Ali. Of the total 31 schools, 13 have buildings, he said.

According to education department officials, currently all schools in Nawa and Garamser districts are open and students regularly attend classes, but schools in the rest of the districts and some parts of the provincial capital, Lashkargah, are closed due to the current war.



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