Tabasum Sharqi (left) opens a book she received for graduating at the top of her Fatima Girls High School class at a ceremony held at the Kunar Department of Women’s (click for more)
Soldiers from the Polish Army and the Texas National Guard Agribusiness Development Team-IV check their shot grouping during qualification on the Polish AK-74 5.56 mm Mini-Beryl short assault rifle Feb. (click for more)
U.S. Army Soldiers from Company B, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Task Force Duke, play an impromptu game of volleyball against a team (click for more)
Dr. Mehirulla Muslim, the Nurgaram District subgovernor, addresses an audience of teachers, government officials and citizens during a ceremony to celebrate a completed solar panel electricity project Feb. 21 in (click for more)
U.S. Army Spc. Raheem Stewart, an automations specialist with TF Phoenix, steps along the rafters of the building his team helped wire for communications. Stewart, from Dallas, was one of (click for more)
An Afghan National Army soldier from Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 201st Infantry Regiment, searches a pile of rocks in the courtyard of a high-value target home outside the village of (click for more)
U.S. Army Capt. Nicole Zupka of Fair Lawn, N.J., a battlewatch captain with Combined Joint Task Force-Paladin, helps an Afghan child with her writing skills during female engagement team training (click for more)
LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Army soldiers move through Kharwar District to prevent the Taliban’s freedom of movement Feb. 12. U.S. and Afghan soldiers braved more than 3 feet (click for more)
Kentucky Agribusiness Development Team II members, U.S. Army Spc. Justin Allen (left), a London, Ky., native, and U.S. Army Sgt. Nicholas Combs, a Corbin, Ky., native, get to know a (click for more)
While schools throughout Afghanistan have been reopened or are opening for the first time following years of instability, there are some schools, like Abu Herera, which have stood the tests of time, threats and war.
According to Fasil Muhammed, the principal, the school opened its doors in 2002 and has educated Afghan children ever since. There have been challenges, like receiving only half of their allotted text books this year, but school remains in session.
Although the shortage of text books is an issue, Mohammad Aziz, Urgun deputy director of education, explained it is actually an improvement from the previous year when they didn’t receive any text books at all.
At the heart of success for Abu Herrera, are the dedicated teachers who said they sincerely enjoy what they do. Mohammad Sadiq, a teacher who specializes in religion, completed his education through grade 12 in Mazar-e Sharif, the capital city of Balkh Province in northern Afghanistan. He then went on to complete what Afghans call the 13th year, which is similar to one year of college.
“I like to teach,” Sadiq said. “People are actually keeping the security and that allows the children to come to school. Also, the government is helping and sending a lot of supplies.”
Security is one of the challenges faced by the school throughout the past nine years, the principal noted. Once, he said, they showed up for school only to find all the windows broken. Muhammed said security is steadily improving.
In recent radio call-in programs with Brig. Gen. Dawlet Khan, Paktika’s Afghan Uniformed Police chief, callers relayed positive responses regarding security in the province.
According to Khan’s radio interview, more than 200 police recently graduated from training, and they already have more than 150 new recruits. While security may be on the rise, school officials named other obstacles to better education.
Muhammed said the lack of teachers, especially females, is another issue affecting education at Abu Herera.
“That’s our culture,” Muhammed explained. “We don’t send our older daughters to school because there are only male teachers.”
Several of the school officials expressed a desire to open a high school. Ultimately, they said it depends on financial support and teachers.
“I have lots of graduated students, but unfortunately they’re all at home now because they completed 6th grade,” Sadiq explained. “After 6th grade, they stay home and work to support their families.
Sadiq said with so many children, both boys and girls, only educated through grade 6, there is no educational process in place to develop the future teachers of Paktika.
From an outsider’s perspective, the education system in Paktika still has a long way to go. U.S. Army Capt. Mike Butler, Paktika Provincial Reconstruction Team civil affairs team chief in Urgun who calls Chicago home, the ministry of education is only in the beginning stages of sustaining education.
“In the past several years, a lot of education infrastructure has been built but the MoE has never had a plan to sustain their assets,” he explained.
“PRT Paktika has been mentoring education officials to inventory MoE assets and develop budgets for operations and maintenance.”
Short-term plans to improve education include establishing two middle schools for girls. Through advisory roles, the PRT will continue to work alongside the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan at the provincial level to enhance education for the young people of Paktika, Butler said.
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