News / Asia

Afghanistan Struggles to Educate its Youth

Afghanistan Struggles to Educate its Youthi
|| 0:00:00
X
Sharon Behn
August 01, 2012
Afghanistan is trying to unify the country through a new national educational curriculum. But a lack of security, books, trained teachers and schools is making it very challenging. Sharon Behn reports from Kabul on the difficulties faced by Afghan students.
TEXT SIZE - +
Sharon Behn
KABUL — Afghanistan is trying to unify the country through a new national educational curriculum. But a lack of security, books, trained teachers and schools is making it very challenging. 

Modern education is a challenge in Afghanistan. Educators are struggling with the aftermath of decades of war and differing political ideologies.
 
Education Ministry spokesman Amanullah Iman says it has taken 10 years to design and begin to implement a new curriculum. And a lot of challenges remain.

"The first problem is insecurity in southern provinces, 500 schools are closed there, and around 300,000 students are not going to school because they don't have access," he said. "The second priority is our professional teachers, because half of our teachers don't have proper professional training, and that is an important issue."
 
Iman says the ministry also has been rewriting the country's Islamic educational texts. In the past the Taliban, educated in Pakistan, had influenced the religious material.
 
"One of the big challenges has been Islamic studies, because many students studied in neighboring countries and when studying Islamic studies there they were against Afghanistan," he said. "So we have designed a new curriculum with our teachers and our Islamic scholars and in our national languages, we have focused more on love of country, and we hope to publish and introduce it soon."
 
Roughly 4.5 million books have yet to be published, due to a lack of money. Another five million books of the general curriculum are stuck on NATO supply trucks that were frozen in Pakistan for the last eight months.
 
Three million students around the country still don't have access to schools. And out of 16,000 schools, 7,000 are held outdoors or in tents because there are not enough buildings.
 
The Taliban continues to destroy schools in the south, and targets girls trying to get an education.
 
Arzu Omid of the group Women for Change says it is essential that girls get to school.

"If we want to bring about change in our lives, especially in the life of Afghan women, we need education," she said.   
 
In Kabul, university students say the educational system is out of date and broken.
 
University student Hamid Aman says classes are crowded, and teachers unprepared.
 
"In schools these days you will see 70 to 80 students in a class, and the teacher can't teach that many students well," he said. "So, first you need to change the class size, then the teachers. In rural areas there are students graduating from high school who can't even read or write properly. Then those graduates are teaching the middle school children, so the students aren't learning anything."
 
The Taliban has fought against the new books, which focus on gender equality and globalization.
 
Ahmad Khalid Fahim of the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan says the new curriculum is key to a modern Afghanistan.
 
"A national curriculum that defines the Afghan identity, but of course in a global perspective," he said. "To tell it in short sentences: to produce a local Afghan with a global outlook."
 
Afghanistan's leaders know it is the children who must be able to fulfill their country's expectations.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ali from: dc
August 01, 2012 10:46 PM
I believe a regional panel of neighboring countries should develop history books.This will develop harmony and understanding in the region.It is good for peace.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid