Written by: Lisa DeBenedictis
Forget the lack of textbooks, supplies and access to computers.
Imagine instead a school without teachers—or even trained teachers.
This, however, is the harsh reality that many schools across Afghanistan are forced to deal with.
The Maidan Wardak province, just west of Kabul, was formerly run by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and the Hizb-e-Islami party and the Taliban. As a result of much political strife, Maidan Wardak’s economy—and education system— has suffered deeply.
“Most professional teachers have either taken refuge outside the province, been martyred during the wars, or worked for foreign organizations due to economic problems at the moment,” said Maidan Wardak’s Director of Education, Hafizollah Waziri, in an interview with the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR).
Out of the 4,375 teachers employed in the province’s 331 active schools, only 510 are qualified to teach, he added.
And according to Afghanistan’s Ministry of Education, it’s a nationwide issue. Of the 175,000 registered teachers, over 70 percent have not graduated from teaching training colleges. Even more alarming, some of them reported as only having completed the sixth grade.
In Barakat’s Mullah Kareem Nazar School in the Andkoy district of the Faryab province, the school is lucky enough to have a good relationship with the local government. It is a government-sponsored school, and so they appointed each of the school’s 15 teachers. The minimum requirements for hiring a teacher in the Mullah Kareem Nazar school are: successful completion of the twelfth grade, completion of teacher training college, and experience.
But Barakat’s Besh Kapa Surkh School in the Aqcha district of the Jowzjan province has had more trouble. The school’s relationship with the local government is not as strong, and without governmental help, it is difficult to find properly qualified teachers. As of now, the 12 teachers working at Besh Kapa Surkh have completed both the twelfth grade and their teacher training college programs, but not all are very experienced.
In order to counter this problem, we at Barakat are in the process of hiring seven more experienced teachers at Besh Kapa Surkh School, which will provide help to both the students and the teachers.
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