‘Nangarhar education sector witnesses considerable improvement but problems persist’
Jalabad City (PAN): Provincial Press Officer Education Directorate said though the education sector still faces challenges but much more have been achieved to promote the vital sector in Nangarhar province during the last five years.
“In Nangarhar, recent five years cannot be compared to the following five years , because the education sector witnessed tremendous achievements during this time,” these views were expressed by Mohammad Asef Shinwari, provincial press officer of the education directorate, in his exclusive chat with Pajhwok Afghan News.
Outlining his government achievements to promote education in the province, he said that the government has established around 855 Teachers’ Training Institutions, High Schools, Secondary Schools, and Primary Schools where 300,000 girl students are getting education among 775,000 boys students. 
He went on to say that there are co-education in as many as 400 schools built elsewhere in Nangarhar, adding that there are 128 girls’ schools in the centre and rest of the districts. He said that the strength of women teachers is 2, 500 among 14, 000 male teachers in Nangarhar. Apart from that, boys and girls are being imparted education together in the 16 Teachers’ Training Institutions in parts of Nangarhar including the centre, he added.  
He informed that as many as 10,500 girls as well as boys are enrolled in 55 private schools in the province with the strength of female students in private schools stands at 4.500, along with 150 teachers. In addition, he added that there are 12 Agriculture Vocational Schools and a Commerce School in the province.
Sayed Samiullah Saidi, Nangarhar University press officer told Pajhwok Afghan News that Nangarhar University has 13 active faculties, adding that his government has established the journalism and the Public Administration faculties last year. He informed that 1, 000 females are among 12,000 male students getting education in Nangarhar University. 
“The University has 20 female lecturers among 450 male teachers. Around ten of its lecturers are currently earning their master degrees from Kabul and other international universities. Most of the university lecturers are doctorate or master degree holders. This year, the Nangarhar University will offer master degree classes in literature discipline,” he added. 
Challenges and achievements,
Mohammad Asef Shinwari, education directorate provincial press officer admitted by saying that though progress has been achieved to promote the education sector adding that it faces some sort of challenges too.
Outlining problems that the education sector is facing, he said that 375 schools don’t have proper buildings, 500 schools confront lack of sports’ grounds, 400 schools have no fences while 350 schools have no proper toilets and potable water. 
He said that there is dearth of professional teachers, and there is dire need for new cadres to be educated in the education field. Sometimes students face problems in getting textbooks while there are schools, which have no laboratories, he added.    
Shinwari said that armed Taliban are no more hampering promotion of education as tribal elders succeeded in convincing them that getting education is in the best interest of all Afghans. He went on to say that had the Taliban creating problems or preventing people from getting education then hundreds of schools would have been closed so far in the province.
Sayed Samiullah Saidi, Nangarhar University press officer, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the Nangarhar University is though a big development but the main problem they are confronting with is the absence of proper buildings.
Saidi lamented that a matter of concern is that warlords grabbed the land of the Nangarhar University. “When the donors ask for proper land to build the University premises then there is no land to be allocated.” He said that the government is needed to resolve the problem of dormitory, which is direly needed to have enough space for students.
Lauding the contribution of Nangarhar University in imparting quality education, an employee of the Nangarhar revenue department told Pajhwok Afghan News that his son got admitted to engineering faculty in Kabul University after graduated from the Nangarhar High School.
He said that the Nangarhar High School has been imparting quality education and its teachers are extremely dedicated and punctual. He suggested that the education system should be improved equally in rest of the high schools.     
Journalist and writer Shah Mahmmod Shinwari however, said that the quality of education in remote districts is in shambles because of absence of supervision by the relevant authorities. He said that education in parts of central areas got tremendous achievements because the relevant quarters prompt to address relevant problems. He went on to say that text books could not be distributed to schools in remote districts including Nazian, Achin, Ghani Khil, Kot, Haska Mina and Dorbaba, adding that most of the schools in far-flung areas have no proper buildings.
Najmuddin, Nangarhar’s Haska Mina District resident told Pajhwok Afghan News that the quality of education isn’t satisfactory in the High School Gorgori village where his two kids are getting education. He complained that the teachers are not serious in imparting education rather they use their students as their personal labor and force them to work in their teachers’ farms during the harvesting season. 
He said even the provincial education directorate is not willing to conduct visit of the schools to maintain discipline. “If monitoring teams start visiting the schools then they will find the teachers absent from their mandated duties,” he added.
Kochai, a resident of Dorbaba District said that there is tremendous dearth of teachers in their areas’ schools while the teachers discharging duties in the schools are graduated of 12 classes only. He went on to say that students are forced to get education in the open areas as most of the schools have no buildings. He said that the absence of schools’ buildings causes the education institutions to be closed in the wake of rains or other natural calamities. He said that though there are girls’ schools but with no enrolment of girls’ students.
A resident of Lalpoor District said that education received great setback because the teachers are not professional rather they got appointed on the basis of nepotism in comparison to the schools in centre. “The students of 7th or 8th class cannot even correctly spell their names then how can we call them schools?” he questioned. 
Shafiqa, a resident of Behsood District said that her daughter is a student in Malika Humaira girls’ High School where the main problem is that of absence of professional teachers. She complained that even there are even 40% professional female and male teachers who use to teach professional subjects.
She went on to say that another problems that haunt the teachers is that of a new curriculum where there are some lessons that teachers do not understand how to teach.  She said that the students don’t receive the text books on time adding that those text books are not even available in the market, which causes hurdles for students.
Students and Teachers,
Ahmad Shah, a student in Bati Cot High School told Pajwhok Afghan News that the students face lack of text books with changed curriculum while the text books are not available easily in the market. He went on to reiterate that the new curriculum is another source of concern and the teachers do not understand its lessons. He said that teachers do not observe punctuality to perform their duties, which cost the students to waste their precious time. He said that owing to nepotism, the teachers prefer their personal relations with the students during the exam days.
Nasir Ahmad, Nangarhar High School student told Pajwhok Afghan News that his school imparts quality education and its teachers demonstrate high professionalism in discharging of their duties. “Most of our teachers are graduated from universities” he added.
Arifa, a female student of Musa Shafiq High School in Kama District said that there is dearth of female teachers, which is a constant source of concern. She said that an exam was conducted in an apparent attempt to appoint new teachers but there was no female among the appointed teachers. 
Rahimullah, a teacher of Dago High School in Chaparhar District admitted that education system has been improved as compared to the past in his district. He said that a number of professional workshops conducted by the provincial education directorate helped them built their professional capacity. “When the teacher is professional and behave with students in professional manner then the students can learn easily,” he added. He went on to say that earlier the teachers were using a single teaching method but after the professional workshops, the teachers learned multiple teaching methods.
Abdul Qahar, a teacher in Alfath High School in Ghani Khil district noted that there are a number of students who are neither read nor write, adding that that is because of the students’ personal mental aptitude and talent while the new curriculum can be blamed partially for the problem. He said that the problem has now been resolved. He said that teachers are mostly professional now, adding that earlier the teachers were 12 class graduates but now most of them are Teacher Training Graduates. He said their current problem is not having school buildings, which is a countrywide problem.  
Wishing not to be named, a teacher from Aimal Khan High School in Mohmand Dara District said that there is widespread corruption in the provincial education directorate and the teachers should do whatever they tell them. He said that when a student fails in exams, they receive orders from high authorities to award good marks to the failed students.  
Hesabjan, a teacher at the High School in Ghani Khil District told Pajhwok Afghan News that only those teachers could attend the professional workshops who are the blue eyed boys of the center. He blamed the education directorate for being biased and unfair, adding that all teachers need to attend the professional workshops. 
A 12th class student in Khewa District said that their education system has been considerably improved, adding that the professional capacity of the teachers have also been bolstered following attending the professional workshops. He said that text books and other education related materials are available in schools now.   
Ziaurahman Hasrat, Nangarhar Teacher Training lecturer said that as compared to the past, the education sector witnessed record reduction in problems. He said that earlier there were few schools, which had buildings and professional teachers but now most of the schools have buildings with professional teachers. He said that steps are needed to be taken so that the quality of education needs to be improved further. He said that though buildings for Teacher Training Institution have been built in a number of districts but the main complain of the students to improve the quality of education should be addressed on priority basis. 
Nangarhar University Lecturer Sayed Samiullah Saidi told Pajwhok Afghan News that there is dire need for the public to join hands with the government to remove obstacles and pave way for quality education. He said though the teachers have the responsibility to educate the students with quality education but the parents should come forward to share the responsibility. Saidi says: “If the parents ask their children whether they go to school, or they learn something in the schools then it will help resolve the problem.”
He said that it is the prime responsibility of the residents of the respective areas to find ways to help construct building of the deserted schools and ensure security of the schools that are situated in insecure or volatile areas. 
Education analyst Sayed Aslam told Pajwhok News Agency that there should be special kind of discipline in place for the schools because the schools’ principle should not be left alone to take care of everything. He said that the students should be trained in a way so that there is no need for them to be punished to obey the rules.
He called upon the officials of the education directorate to devise a comprehensive law for maintaining discipline in schools in an apparent attempt to maintain order elsewhere in education institutions. He said that currently, the major problem is disorder in classes, adding that the students are playing with their cell phones at a time when their teachers deliver lectures. He underlined the need that the teachers should use practical teaching methods to benefit students in the long run.  
Education Ministry Spokesperson Amanullah Iman told Pajhwok News Agency that the education sector witnessed tremendous achievements elsewhere in the country. He said that now the Nangarahr province 85% schools have buildings and text books, adding that other related problems are being addressed on priority basis.