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The Killid Group

Nepotism in Herat University

Written by Ahmad Qala-Nawi
Sunday, 02 January 2011 09:46

Nepotism in Herat University With low educational standards in Afghanistan, students here look forward to opportunities to study in established universities abroad, benefitting from the large number of scholarships established by donor countries. However students of the University of Herat in the country's western province, complain that most of these opportunities are cornered by relatives of the influential people through nepotism, rather than being distributed on merit.

Engineer Abdullah Kazemi, Head of Eshraq Higher Education Institute in Herat, is of the opinion that the process of choosing the beneficiaries for the limited number of scholarships is not based on fair play or established criterion. "In fact there are behind the scenes deals which ensure that the scholarships go to a chosen few" he says. Officials in charge of these scholarships distribute them to family members of relatives and friends and deny the eligible and deserving candidates, he says.

The charge is however denied by officials in charge of processing these scholarships. The Vice Chancellor of Herat University, Sayed Farhad Shahidzada claims that there are far fewer scholarships for students than for teachers. "Of the total number of foreign educational scholarships, 98% are for teachers and only 2% for the students." Shahidzada said the eligible students are chosen through a transparent exam followed by interviews.

Underlining the importance of the scholarships is the lack of adequate number of seats in the university and the poor quality of the courses. "Annually approximately 300,000 applicants take the university entrance exam across the country but only 20-25% of them succeed in obtaining a seat", says Nazir Ahmad, a resident of Herat.

Herat University has currently 8500 students but even they suffer from many problems related to the lack of facilities. While a number of new courses have been started, there are still many which need to be included. In addition, says, Faiz Mohammed, a student, there are no facilities for the students 96.*to stay at the university.

Analysts and psychologists feel the nepotism surrounding the allocation of scholarships will impact negatively on the youth. "If Afghan officials, especially those working for higher education do not pay attention to this phenomenon, it will damage the social fabric", says psychologist Mohammad Zahir Abasi.


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