KABUL: While Afghanistan is making progress in improving access to education, approximately more than 3.7 million children remain out of school. 2020 saw nearly half a million newly displaced people in Afghanistan, as well as an influx of over 600,000 Afghans returning from Iran and Pakistan. Droughts connected with climate change and other conflicts are pushing more people to migrate and undermining efforts to get more children in school.
President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani at an event at the presidential palace the other day said that Afghanistan’s education system is now in jeopardy as the country’s enemies are targeting students and destroying infrastructures.
Inaugurating buildings for 59 schools in 22 provinces during an event marking the week of education here on Tuesday, the president said that education sector is the key to development in the country.
“Today, our education is faced with a cruel attack. Today our student, who should be planning his future with a calm mind, is assassinated,” President Ghani said.
But in Afghanistan, that war and bloodsheds always make headlines, there are some development news too that help the war-suffered nation get rid of challenges. A private university in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul has been providing scholarships, in a rare manner, to thousands of Afghan youth in undergraduate and master’s levels to help the war-suffered generation being educated.
Dunya University of Afghanistan, for the first time in the country, has offered full paid scholarships to the country’s media workers. The University has recently also announced full paid scholarships for hundreds of the high school graduates, which the move has been unprecedented in the country’s private educational sector.
“We, here at Dunya, on the occasion of the spring season of the Solar Year 1400, offering full paid scholarship for the school graduates from across Afghanistan,” Dunya founder and leadership professor Dr. Javid Sangdel said.
“Undoubtedly, our efforts and knowledge will lead us to the lasting peace, stability and bright future,” he added.
Due to decades of war in the country, people remained in low socio-economic conditions, so the framers of the constitution of Afghanistan charged the state to establish free education where it could be easily accessible to all. According to Article Forty-Three, Chapter. 2, Art. 22 constitution of Afghanistan: “Education is the right of all citizens of Afghanistan, which shall be provided up to under-graduate level, free of charge by the state.”
Since demand for higher education was far more than the supply and the public higher education institutes did not have enough capacity to admit all students, the establishment of private higher institutions solved the problem to some extent. After the year 1385 (2006-07) the higher education institutes were given permission to operate in Afghanistan.
“Upon Afghan government’s decision for issuing license to the private universities, we established Dunya to help our people get rid of illiteracy and seek education with modern systems that we have brought from Europe and other countries,” CEO Ahmad Shah Sangdel of Dunya university said.
According to him, since Afghans are badly hit economically due to last four decades of war, therefore the university provides scholarships to different strata of the society, so that to ease education equally and for all in the country.
“Peace is the only and last wish of the Afghans now. Our education is under attack and millions of Afghans are deprived of education now,” he said, adding that despite of the challenges, his institution was making effort to provide standard education in the country.
Addressing the education week at the presidential palace, first Vice President Amrullah Saleh said that the country’s schools are accommodating students three times beyond capacity. “Today, in our schools, there are three times more girls and boys than their capacity,” said VP Saleh, who expressed hopes that the quest for education among Afghan children and youth will continue.
The acting minister of education, Rangina Hamidi, said that her ministry has facilitated education with minimal facilities. “Education is the backbone for Afghanistan, and I assure you that we will be able to have a brighter future for Afghanistan if this sector improves,” Hamidi said.
Meanwhile a number of education activists call private sector’s role key in development of higher education system in the country.
“Public educational institutions cannot address the current demands. These are the private education institutions that playing the key role and graduating thousands of young people everywhere on different levels of bachelor and master’s one,” Afghan PhD scholar at Jawaher Lal Nehru university of India, Naweed Pazhman said.
Another human and girls’ rights activist, Palwasha Ahmadzai says that private universities are the backbone of the higher education system now, and thus, according to her government is needed to provide them further facilities and monitor their activities to also help improve education standards.
The Kabul Times