CHAGHCHARAN (PAN): Though some progress has been achieved to promote the education in the volatile Ghor, grave nature of challenges including militants opposing the vital sector in the province have yet to be tackled.
Education department officials said there were more than 780 schools in Ghor with 180 of them are female, 15 co-education and rests are male schools. As many as 20, 0000 including 70,000 female students were being imparted education by 4,400 teachers.
Sibghatullah Akbari, head of Ghor education department says more than 24,000 students including 11,000 girls are enrolled to schools, which indicates progress of education sector in the province.
More has been done to promote the education in Ghor province during 2013, he said adding quality of education has been improved and more than 1,000 teachers have been included in reform process and they have replaced the nonprofessional teachers, he added.
He went on to say 70 school buildings have been inaugurated the current year or are being constructed.
In addition, Ghor has two technical institutes, six teacher training colleges, two agriculture high schools, 17 Madrassa and Dar-ul-Ulum, 105 home-based schools and 90 international participatory schools and one Dar-ul- Hifaz.
One higher education institute was founded in 2012 where 260 students including 45 females are studying Mathematics, Physics, Computer, English Language, Chemistry, Biology and Agriculture.
Problems and progresses:
According to the head of education department, insecurity, lack of school buildings and shortage or late distribution of textbooks among students are regarded as serious problems being faced by the education sector in the province.
He says out of 800 schools, only 150 of them have proper buildings while rests of the schools have no buildings and students are compelled to get education either under the open sky or under tents or mosques and Madrassas.
He says a small number of schools in Pasaband, Shahrak and Charsada districts and in some other far-flung areas of Chaghcharan such as Murghab, education process is interrupted by militants and other armed groups that roam freely in the localities.
Authorities say education process face tremendous challenges in 12 high schools, 14 secondary and 58 primary schools in the areas of Yar Folad, Paikamar, Reza, Miri and Allah Yar and the center of Ghor province due to heavy presence Taliban remnants.
A number of Ghor citizens complain that problems of education sector have not been properly addressed and many schools are still facing lack of buildings.
Mohammad Hassan from Lal-o-Sari Jangle district says: “There are few schools in the district, which are facing shortage of buildings and professional teachers. There is no perfect school in terms of equipments.”
He said when a school has neither professional teacher nor building then its students are also neither get interest in going to schools nor tend to learn things.
Senator Ahmad Khan says Ghor residents are interested in getting of education but unfortunately a large number of students are deprived of education, adding lack of school buildings, professional teachers, books and other teaching materials are the problems that the people are suffering from.
He said education situation had been better as compared to the last decade, adding the government should still required to do much more for the improvement of education in the neglected province so that people get education and could contribute to the development of the country.
Mohammad Ali, a resident of Ahengaran area, center of Ghor says, “a small number of students get interest to attend schools and most families do not send their children to Madrassas but they preferred schools.”
He says the Ahengaran School has a good building compared to other areas with every classroom has chairs, tables and colored walls but only five teachers and 20 students were present at the school. In some classes one teacher was teaching a limited number of students.
One of the teachers who did not want to be identified said staff of the school includes 13 teachers and 760 students with 270 among them are girls students in three teaching shift.
To a question, he said, “There is a wedding party in the area, most teachers and students have participated in the party while the school remained closed during teaching hours.”
Another teacher said that a number of students do not attend schools due to collection of bushes and woods from mountains by their teachers.
Some parents do not want to send their children to schools due to lack of professional teachers.
Mohammad Khan, a resident of Du Laina district and father of five children says, “The teachers do not have teaching experience and there is no difference whether the children go to school or Madrassa. My children only study for three hours in school and the rest of the time they study in Madrassa or work at home.”
On the other hand, Ghor civil societies accuse education sector of wide corruption and warn that incase of not taking practical action to improve the education sector, the vital field will face deep crisis.
Hassan Hakimi, an active member for coordination of civil society organizations says the saga of corruption in education department has caused the closure of nearly 600 schools in the province.
He urged the government to send a delegation with authority to the province to investigate the issues, otherwise such misdoings and misuses would alienate people, which will cause instability in the province.
“Document indicates the head of education and administrative staff members of the department have embezzled the projects and recruitment of staff,” he said, adding that the education authorities instead of paying attention to improvement of education, they are interested in doing their party related activities.
He said head and the administrative board of education department has taken the salaries of hundreds of staff members of education department who have had no physical presence at the department.
He distributed a joint statement duly signed by civil society and human rights activists in Ghor, among the media outlets that pointed out 14 cases of misuses in different sections of education department.
But the head of Ghor education department considered the claims as unsubstantiated, adding that during the two years of his work in Ghor, multiple reconstruction projects have been implemented in education sector which has had positive impact on education condition in the province.
According to UNICEF report in 2005 Ghor has taken the 28th grade among 34 provinces of Afghanistan in terms of education level.
The level of literacy among women has been estimated 3% but the recent report by the ministry of economy and the World Bank, shows the level of women-literacy surges to 6% but possibly the medium level of literacy among women is 13%.