Insecurity cited behind closure of schools

Monitoring Desk

GHAZNI CITY: Twenty-three schools and seminaries have been closed in Ghazni province as a result of social issues, insecurity and students’ unwillingness to attend classes.

Ghazni is one of the insecure provinces where 14 out of total 18 districts have been facing high security threat. Afghan security forces daily engage with Taliban militants in direct firefight due to which education and other spheres of life are threatened.

Education Director Mohibullah Ansari told Pajhwok Afghan News despite tangible development in the past years, the education department was still confronting challenges.

“In the past, there was a limited number of schools but now their number has reached hundreds where thousands of students are getting education and people are also cooperative in this regard,” he said.

He, however, criticized the Taliban over blatant interference in the education sector due to which some problems had been created.

“The Taliban sometimes interfere in the curriculum and sometimes in the appointments of teachers”, he said.

Ansar added of the total 647 schools, 23 have been closed, depriving thousands of students of education.

“The closed schools include five girls’ schools in Gilan district and one girls’ school in Andar district,” he said, adding closed schools were located in areas from where people had migrated to other places. Ansar said the lack of professional teachers and school buildings was among their key issues.

He said the construction of 113 school buildings was part of their plan for this year.

On the other hand, Rahmatullah Marjankhel, a resident of the provincial capital, told Pajhwok that in most of the schools in districts teachers had who studied only up to sixth grade had been appointed.

“I am pursuing my higher education, but I will never work in remote districts which are not safe against the 10,000 afghanis monthly salary that the government gives to teachers,” he said.

Haji Rahmatullah, a resident of Gilan district, said that most of girls’ schools in their district were shut due to insecurity.

“My daughters would previously attend school, but then the conflict intensified in our area and their school was recently closed,” he said.

Rohullah, a resident of Osman area of Deh Yak district, said that there were no schools in their area.

“My sons go to a school located far away from our area, their school has no building which is a big problem,” he said.

Mohammad Sharif, a resident of Miri area of Andar district, said that a school for girls was built in the area a few years ago.

“People immediately enrolled their daughters into the school after it was constructed, but its building was damaged and partially torched after Taliban attacked the district center, the school then stopped functioning from that day,” he said.

Nasir Ahmad Jalali, lecturer at Pashto Literacy Faculty at Ghazni University, said that besides education officials, local people were also responsible for problems created for schools.

He said that education problems could not be solved by education officials alone and local people should also help in the area.

“If people want their children to be educated, then they should tell the warring sides not to create problems for the education process and it can help solve the issue to some extent”, he said.

He asked Ghazni education officials and local tribal elders to talk with the Taliban to let schools be open for children.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, also confirmed the closure of schools and seminaries due to the conflict but said the Taliban did not ban them.

There are 648 schools in Ghazni where around 700,000 children including 45 percent of them girl are getting education. These schools are taught by 5,100 permanent and 2,500 contract-based teachers. (Pajhwok)