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KHOST PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Khost government officials and the Shaikh Zayed University chancellor recognized 11 engineering students during a graduation ceremony at the downtown Civil-Military Operations Center in Khost province, Afghanistan, Dec. 23.
The engineering students took part in an 11-session course in construction, management and engineering quality assurance principles. The course had both classroom and practical instruction to ensure the new engineers to construction were adequately trained with the best practices.
The students completed the course upon presenting their final projects on internal and external solar lighting for the university, and a micro-hydro power source for a local community.
The students are in a five-year program at the university, and the course was a stepping stone to their final degree. They will intern for a few months and return to the university to provide their final thesis before being awarded their engineering degree.
Khost Acting Governor, Tahir Khan Sabari, delivered the keynote address.
According to Governor Sabari, the training involved both theoretical and practical training, which should be the standard for all future training.
“It gives me great hope to see the education and progress of our students,” said Sabari. “I know they will do great things from this training, and I look forward to the solar panel project to be implemented.”
Other speakers included Engineer Hamid Shah, director of economy, Gul Hasan Walizai, Shaikh Zayed University chancellor, and vice chancellor. Eleven students received completion certificates from the guest speakers.
“The solar panel project will help to make a bright environment for the university, and the students will be able to study at all hours, not just during the day,” said Walizai.
The Khost Provincial Reconstruction Team engineers conducted the instructional portion of the course. Some of the main instruction topics included concrete and brick mortar work, road concepts and structures, and project scheduling and maintenance.
“The program was well received and represents a critical step in expanding an engineering capacity within Khost,” said U.S. Navy Lt. Stephen J. Gustafson, Khost PRT lead engineer. “The next steps must include connecting engineering graduates to the local economy.”
Two of the students from the course were hand-selected to assist the director of Rural, Rehabilitation, and Development on their micro-hydro project.
“It was three months of training, but we learned a lot about engineering safety and management,” said an engineering student. “This was a very important course, and I look forward to more training in the future.”
The Afghan government, university, U.S. Agency for International Development, and Khost PRT are partnering to begin another program in the near future. The next iteration will involve a “train-the-trainer” component.
The program will facilitate the transition of engineering practices to be run solely by the Government Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
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