‘Half of schools nationwide without buildings’
KABUL (Pajhwok): The school bell was officially rung on Thursday in Kabul to announce the launch of the new academic year, with a senior government official admitting half of the country’s schools lack buildings.
Education Minister Asadullah Hanif Balkhi, who attended an official ceremony marking the start of the new educational year 1396 at the Amani High School here, said education was the key to a country’s development.
“That is why the Ministry of Education has been trying to provide equal and high quality of education to the people of Afghanistan,” the minister added.
He said one million children, 43 percent of them girls, were expected to be enrolled in school this new year. The new entries would take the total number of students across the country to 9.2 million, Balkhi said.
However, hundreds of schools have been closed due to insecurity all over the country. The shortage of textbooks for students is another challenge the Education Ministry is struggling with.
Education Ministry officials admit they had been unable to transfer textbooks to 16 provinces last academic year.
The officials say President Ghani had ordered the Defense Ministry to assist the Education Ministry in transferring books to provinces.
The education minister said his ministry, in cooperation with the Public Health Ministry and UNICEF, was planning to provide medicine for Anemia and Folic Acid (iron deficiency) to female students of 5th to 12th grades.
Balkhi said besides progress they faced some challenges as well, including lack of buildings, children’s inaccessibility to schools, lack of educational instruments and female teachers.
Second Vice-President Mohammad Sarwar Danish rang the school bell and some medicines were given to a number of students.
Meanwhile, in a video message, First Lady Rula Ghani said ringing the school bell was promising a peaceful environment to students to continue their studies.
She added those beautified with education played leading role in their countries’ development, but unfortunately the Afghan youth remained backward due to the decades-long war in the country. “War and insecurity has damaged our educational basis and that’s why we lack educational capacities in the country”, she said.
She urged the people to join hands for having a high quality educational system that met the needs of Afghan society. “We will never allow the enemy to return our people to the dark days of ignorance.”
“It’s our responsibility to hold the torch of knowledge aloft because education is the only way to rescue a nation”, she said.
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