By: Karima Malikzada
KABUL: Built in 2016, the Turkish Maarif Foundation has been set to take over all Afghanistan based Fathullah Gulen run schools, as the U.S.-based cleric was blamed for being operating against the current Turkish system.
The Turkish Maarif Foundation has agencies, operating in 35 world countries, and, in the near future, it is expected to be expanded to at least 50 countries, with a long-term plan of covering up to 100 countries worldwide, an Afghan member and advisor to the Maaraif Foundation, Khalilullah Rasoli told The Kabul Times.
The previous foundation affiliated with Gulen network has definitely been disrupting Turkey’s relation with majority of the world countries, therefore, both countries’ ministries of education signed a protocol under which, all Afghanistan based Fathullah Gulen-run schools would be transferred into the Turkish Maarif Foundation leadership.
“This is nothing except a terrorist activities and provocative plans against the government of Turkey, as the 2016 failed military coup highlighted,” the foundation advisor who is also a Kabul University lecturer said.
The fees taken by the previous foundation have been transferred to other countries, apart from Turkey, with a clear plan of launching terrorist activities, said Rasoli.
The Maarif Foundation is now running schools equipped with modern and standard facilities, in five provinces of Afghanistan, such as Sheberghan, Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif, Jalalaabad and Kandahar, he said.
“The Maarif run into problem, when we wanted to peacefully transfer the schools from the previous Gulen educational entity to current foundation,” he continued. “We have been made to take the issue to the Afghan government to even use force for the schools control transition.”
No change, he said will be or have been brought in the curricula of the schools, after the transition, but moreover, more learning programs will be undertaken for the students.
15 new schools, with 20% cut in students’ fees and the required increase in the teachers’ salaries, are expected to be built across the country, where some training courses including horse-riding, shooting etc. which could help protect the Afghan traditional culture, are also part of the program to be run for them, said the official.
The Turkish Maarif Foundation has also been set up to operate educational activities such as providing and developing formal and non-formal education from pre-school to high schools, besides providing different courses in the said provinces, the official added.
Student fees to be cut by 20 percent, scholarship for some qualified students, doubling the number of schools all over the country, lodging English language in the curriculum and hiring highly qualified teachers from Turkey and Afghanistan, are part of the plan, the foundation is considering to implement in the country, according to Rasoli.
Free education has also been considered to children of martyrs of the security institutions, as well as for the disabled children, in the newly run schools.
“Right now, we have schools for both girls and boys in some of the country’s provinces, like Mazar-e-Sharif, Jauzjan and Herat provinces, but in Kandahar, we have newly built a girl school while in Jalalabad, the plan is on hand to build as well,” Mr. Rasoli concluded.
The country’s ministry of education has also said in a statement that an MoU has been signed between the two sides, under which, the control of the Afghan-Turk schools would be handed over to the Turkish ministry of education.
The main aim of the handover is to further promote the quality and quantity of the education institutions, under the regulation of the two countries’ education ministries.
According to reports, currently up to 3,000 students are enrolled at 10 Afghanistan based-Turkish schools and colleges and two pre-schools, with a total of 300 available teachers, including 60 skilled Turkish instructors in the war-suffered country.
The number of students is reportedly expected to exceed the given figure in the next ten years, with the schools’ number to be expanded to 28, by building new technical and vocational schools countrywide.
Meantime, former officials from the Afghan-Turk schools have said the schools had nothing to do with politics and they were only providing very advanced and equipped with modern facilities education to Afghan children.
They together with the parents of the students of the Afghan-Turk schools called on the Afghan government to keep the schools as well as students out of politics.