When I watched the video, I was really impressed. When we hear the word – Afghanistan, what comes to our mind? War, Taliban, exploitation of women, drugs and a sad, underdeveloped place, right? The video shows the other side of Afghanistan – of progress and development and IT prowess! Herat is the third largest city in Afghanistan. It is a developing, vibrant city that has seen an explosion in IT growth in the recent past. Computers and internet are slowly finding their place of pride in Herat. Schools and offices are getting IT-savvy. Growing internet connectivity has allowed access to global news, information and resources. Students and professionals alike are using internet to connect to global communities through social media. This helps in a cultural exchange and a leap in knowledge and opportunity not possible through traditional media.
Information Technology is being actively promoted by young graduates and entrepreneurs in this field to make it available to more and more people in the country. University of Herat currently has 6000 students on its rolls. It also has the distinction of having the first Computer Science faculty in the country. Herat’s IT faculty has been expanding considerably and is being helped by international contributors. Computer Science is the subject of choice for most of Herat University’s young students. It is heartening to note the hunger in them to adopt new technologies to spearhead technological progress in their country. There are 3 Computer laboratories in the University and experienced faculty to guide the students. Fareshta Forough, one of the young entrepreneurs, is also a lecturer at the University. The emphasis here is on free exchange of ideas and resources. Students approach faculty after class hours for further guidance and projects.
Computer usage in homes is also picking up as is evident from setting up a Computer Center where PCS and accessories can be bought. There is a long way to go before connectivity is wide spread and before everyone has access to a computer and internet. But a beginning has been made, and the progress is heartening. After all Rome was not built in one day!
Do watch the entire video above to see how the IT revolution is taking Herat by storm. You can also hear the lecturers and students speak about the role of IT in their lives.
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