Each one of us would agree that building a school is a noble deed especially in a country like Afghanistan where education is the domain of a select few. With 40% of school-going children still having no access to schools, this is an acute problem. Yet, just putting up a building is not adequate. And, we will try to understand the real challenges being faced on the ground in this post.
Many journalists who have visited Afghanistan have seen relentless efforts in building schools in both rural and urban Afghanistan. There are many schools being built through the efforts of the US military, World Bank, individuals and agencies like Film Annex. The US military alone has spent more than $1 billion for building schools in Afghanistan. But, many of these buildings are lying vacant and going to ruin. This is happening because it is difficult to find trained teachers and books to teach students in rural areas. Teachers are paid very poorly. Most of them are government teachers who are employed during the day in the urban schools and then travel long distances to a rural school to supplement their meager incomes.
Finding trained women teachers is an even greater problem. Many schools, especially for girls, still can’t get off the ground due to a huge unfulfilled demand for female teachers. Also, most children in the rural areas only attend school for 3 hours in day and spend the rest of their time working in the fields. Many children, especially girls, are still not being sent to schools by their parents. The school buildings are spartan with children being seated on straw matting and the facilities being very basic. Some children are taught out in the open with no protection against the harsh heat and cold.
Besides teachers, the training material – books, stationery, computers, internet etc. are hard to come by. Thus, quality education still remains a dream for most Afghani school-going children. Another huge problem is the quality of construction of school buildings. It is being seen by the US military that many contractors employed to build these schools are doing a shoddy job often not adhering to the quality standards laid down. The buildings take longer to build and are often of very poor quality that might not last very long.
All these problems are proving to be major challenges towards providing education for all in Afghanistan. In this scenario, Film Annex has finished building its first internet classroom in its school building project in Afghanistan. The video above details the entire process of the classroom being built. And, Film Annex hopes that more such schools will be able to share lessons and training through internet that can benefit more Afghani children.
To read more of my posts on Afghanistan and watch relevant videos, see my webtv.