Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Afghanistan: 100 school buildings constructed in Paktya province over past two years

Source: United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) - Some 100 school buildings have been constructed in Paktya province over the past two years, with 70 more to be completed this year.

This progress in the education sector in the south-eastern province was revealed by Paktya Governor Juma Khan Hamdard, at the opening ceremony for a middle school building in the Shakar Khel area of Gardez, where he urged parents to ensure education for their children.

"The parents have responsibility to send their children to school, and building schools is mine and (that of) the Government of Afghanistan," the Governor said.

With only 70 schools throughout the province in 2001, Paktya now has 259 government and six private high schools, and one madrassa (religious school) in each district of the province, according to Director of Education Mihrabuddin Shafaq who said this "means 65 per cent development has occurred in the education sector."

"Considering the significance of education, tremendous improvement has taken place in the education sector since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001. There are now 259 schools for 120,000 students in Paktya province, out of which 54 are high schools, 62 are middle schools, and 126 are primary schools, while the remaining are madrasas," explained Mr Shafaq.

The level of literacy can be increased if people, alongside the government, hugely invest in the education and the health sectors, continued Mr Shafaq.

Beside the schools, there is also a university with two faculties – Agriculture and Education – as well as a centre for higher Islamic studies in the province.

Paktya also has two female Islamic learning centres, where more than 550 female students are enrolled.

There are around 130 literacy training courses going on in different districts with a total number of 2,100 enrolled students.

Recently, a high school for technical education was established in the Gardez centre where students will receive education on welding, carpentry and motor-engine fixing.

Around 30 high school graduates have so far been sent to India, Pakistan and Turkey for higher education despite socio-economic and security challenges.

"Education (allows) individuals to live a decent life and to escape from the hunger trap and the circle of poverty," said Shaista Jan Ahady, Deputy Head of the Provincial Council.

"Based on Articles 26 and 27 of the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights, literacy is a basic human right guaranteeing and specifying the right of everyone to education. This is the responsibility of the present Government to make education accessible to all the people without any discrimination," said Dr Abdul Hadi Hamas, a civil society representative.

"By education we can eradicate illiteracy in the communities, allowing genuine transparent democracy that ultimately (will enable us to) reach our destination of a prosperous life," said Mr Hamas, adding that, in Paktya, the growth in education is multidimensional – affecting physical infrastructure, faculty and staff recruitment, student enrolment, and the diversity of curricula.

By Dilawar Khan Dilawar, UNAMA

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