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The Killid Group

From schoolgirls to teachers

Written by Abeda Telayee
Sunday, 05 February 2012 10:19

From schoolgirls to teachers An acute shortage of trained teachers is hampering efforts to increase the number of graduates from schools in Afghanistan. An investigation by Abeda Telayee
It was an unusually high percentage of failures at the high school examination level that set alarm bells ringing. Inexperience and unprofessionalism among senior school teachers was blamed for the poor school-leaving exam results.
The reasons were historic. After 2002, when the number of schools increased to allow thousands of students, particularly girls, who were denied education under the Taleban regime, 90 percent of teachers recruited were fresh graduates or students enrolled in teacher training institutes. More than half the students in teacher training institutes are employed as part time teachers by schools.
There are 42 teacher training institutes, and 138 supporting centres for teacher training in the provinces. More than 56,000 students are enrolled to become teachers. Sixty percent of these are female.
Susan Wardak, a consultant for teacher training institutes, said efforts are being made to improve the quality of teaching. "There are more than 170,000 teachers and 68 percent of them are unprofessional," she said. She acknowledged that this had an "unfortunate impact on the results of millions of students". In an effort to professionalise teachers even in the districts, the Education Ministry has started workshops and programmes for professionalising the teachers.

New strategy
Taking the trainers to the districts is a new strategy. Wardak explained that in 70 percent of districts there are no girls' high schools or female teachers. As a result female students are unable to enrol in high school. To solve the problem the government has begun an intensive course for female students to ensure they finish school faster and can be employed as teachers.
"Since teacher training institutes are not able to meet the demand for teachers, priority has been given to the short-term training programmes in the provinces with support from the World Bank," Wardak said. Female students who have completed grade six or have been taught at home are targeted. "They finish two school years in one year," she said. Officials in the Education Ministry confirmed the strategy of recruiting teachers directly from among school graduates was working. It has also helped solve another problem. A shortage of teachers because school teaching is not the first option of university graduates since teachers are poorly paid.

Poorly paid
Professor Mir Haroon Ahmadi, acting head of Kabul Education University, observes, "Teachers are unfortunately given low salaries. It should be increased so people will respect the job of a teacher." Female teachers in remote areas are paid roughly 60 USD.
Amanullah Eiman, the spokesman of the Education Ministry, claims education levels in Kabul are "high"; every school teacher is trained and qualified. School teachers can claim pensions, and other privileges like preference in the distribution of residential plots.
Mohammad Azam Tawkhi is head of the Sayed Jamaludin Afghan, a well-equipped teacher training institute in Kabul with facilities like a library, laboratory and computers. He says students who enrol are from Kabul's schools and from other provinces.
Khujusta, a recent graduate from the teacher training school, who insists she's speaking on behalf of her batch, says every new teacher was ready to work "in any corner" of the province.

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