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Afghanistan soaring to new heights in education: Llorens

Afghanistan soaring to new heights in education: Llorens

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Jul 20, 2017 - 19:32

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): US ambassador to Afghanistaninfo-icon, Hugo Llorens, hailing Afghanistan’s tremendous strides in educationinfo-icon over the last 15 years, has welcomed the revised National Education Strategic Plan released this year. 

From 600,000 children enrolled in school in 2001 to 8.7 million today was a great progress made so far, the envoy said in a write-up on education in Afghanistan.

He said Afghanistan had hired and trained tens of thousands of teachers and constructed an unprecedented number of schools during the past decade. “ Yet despite this progress, over 3.5 million children remain out of school, and many more don’t complete their education.”

Without an education, the ambassador said Afghans would be hard pressed to participate successfully in Afghanistan’s growing economy.

 “While it continues to emphasize access to education, the Strategic Plan now also highlights quality and governance.  The plan is critical for coordination and assistance with organizations such as the Global Partnership for Education and the Worldinfo-icon Bank’s education program,” the envoy wrote. 

He said as a result of the hard work of the Ministry of Education and the donor community, the US anticipated these two programs would serve children still waiting for their opportunity to go to school.

“Access to a quality public education is the right of every child, and the progress made in the last 15 years is truly remarkable. “

Llorens said one of their local employees was from a small village in eastern Afghanistan.  “When he was young, there was one primary and secondary school—for boys only.”

“Now, when he returns to his home town, he sees more schools—a high school for boys, and now a high school for girls.  This village has embraced the understanding that both boys and girls need schooling in order to build a better Afghanistan.  This is a testament to the progress made in the last 15 years. “

The ambassador said more work was needed to be done and working together, they would build on successes. 

“In the last five years, USAIDinfo-icon, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, printed and distributed 47 million textbooks to primary students in 34 provinces, and last year we expanded that to distribute an additional 11 million to primary and secondary students in 24 provinces.”

He said over the next five years, USAID had committed to printing 135 million textbooks, enough for every child, in every school, in every province from first grade through high school graduation.

Earlier this year, Llorens said he was fortunate to inaugurate another US-sponsored initiative called the Afghan Children Read Program. 

“This five-year, $70 million program will improve reading skills for boys and girls in grades 1 through 3.  We expect more than one million Afghan children will benefit from this program.”

He said through student-driven innovations and new technologies, or leveraging the technical expertise of the international community, Afghanistan was soaring to new heights in the pursuit of quality education. 

“While universal public education is the ultimate goal in Afghanistan, affordable, quality private schools are also a viable alternative to explore.  I passionately believe that education offers the best and surest path for a brighter future for Afghanistan.”

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