News / Asia

Afghanistan Struggles to Educate its Youth

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In Kabul, university students say the educational system is out of date and broken.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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

1855 Slave Brochure Starkly Details Sale of Black Americans

Document lists entire families that were up for sale in New Orleans, offering graphic insight into the slavery trade More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs