July 20, 2008

Afghan Paper Wants Action to Prevent Torching of Schools

Text of article in English by Shukria Kohistani entitled "Schools not for political campaigns" published by state-owned Afghan newspaper The Kabul Times on 17 July

The enemies of Afghanistan have recently waged subversive activities including torching schools to divest our children from education. How to protect schools from burning? This is a question crossing from the mind of every citizen.

Spokesman of the Education Ministry Hamid Elmi told the Kabul Times that concern on burning schools is soaring day by day, saying that the government is making effort to keep schools secure. "Ministry of Education makes efforts to keep the schools open for boys and girls with the cooperation of people," he said. "Fortunately, the local councils are fully cooperating with the security forces to stop retrogressive enemies hampering academic progress."

Killing of teachers and dissemination of night leaflets to threaten students in districts is another problem the government faces with. Elmi called this as a serious threat for both the teachers and student, saying this was done mostly in Paktia, Khost, Logar and Ghazni Provinces.

The spokesman for the Ministry of Education also said some spiteful persons have changed schools to political centres that are injurious for education. "This is the obligation of the ministry and people to prevent such disorder condition in the schools," he said.

About 300,000 students are now deprived of education and over 600 schools are closed because of the security condition in the southern provinces, while the education ministry says 700 schools were closed last year. More than 150 teachers and students have been killed by the insurgents so far. The recent event occurred was burning schools in Ghazni Province this week. The ministry of education confirmed this matter, saying 200 Holy Korans were also burnt at the school. A teacher of Naderya High School, Mohammad Morid, condemned torching schools and said the enemies of development commit such acts. "We don't allow the opposition to deprive the offspring of the country from education," he said. He also asked the government to identify the culprits of burning schools and punish them so that it would be an example for other insurgents.

Originally published by The Kabul Times, Kabul, in English 17 Jul 08.

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