KABUL (PAN): Though some tangible progress has been achieved to promote the education sector in parts of the capital city, residents of some districts complain the vital sector is still facing a host of problems including shortage of efficient and professional teachers and lack of facilities for teaching staff.
 Kabul city has a large number of education centres where a private Maaraf Shahri city education is working to enhance promote education in the private as well government sectors.
According to the statistics provided by the ministry of higher education, more than 10 educational institutions, four state-run Kabul University, Kabul Medical University, Polytechnic University and a Teacher Training University have been functioning in the capital city.
In addition, as many as 10 more institutions that offer education till 14th grades have been providing education facilities for around 100 students.
Similarly, around 47 private universities have been functioning with 10 other institutions where thousands of students are being imparted education in various areas.
Head of Ministry of Education, Muhammad Kabir Haqmal said they had education departments and administrations in two parts--- Kabul province and Kabul city.
Talking to Pajhwok Afghan News, he said as many as 316 schools have been functioning with 49 of them primary, 92 secondary and 175 high were schools. A total of 1103,873 male and female students study in these institutions where around 24,000 teachers impart education to students.
In addition, as many as 14 Madrassas, four Dar-ul-Ulums and three Dar-ul-Hifz are functioning in Kabul where 4,411 students are being imparted education by 252 teachers. Similarly, Kabul has around 28 technical schools in which 22,601 students get education with the help of 825 teachers. Around 7,790 students study in the Kabul city Teacher Training School where 261 teachers busy teach the students.
 Haqmal went on to say the capital has around 995 literacy courses centres with enrollment of 21,834 students who are being imparted education by 193 teachers.
Kabul has around 428 schools with 224 are primary, 80 secondary and 124 high schools in which 236,986 students are being imparted education by 4,903 teachers.
As many as 30 Madrassas, two Dar-ul-Ulums and five Dar-ul-Hifz have been functioning with 219 teachers and 7,443 students in the districts.
Furthermore, six professional and technical schools with the enrollment of 906 students have been actively working in the districts. As many as 1,294 students are enrolled in 14 Teacher Training Institutes.
Achievements and Challenges:
Haqmal said education sector was moving on path to progress in the city and districts, adding most of the schools had proper buildings, timely distribution of textbooks and the process of training teachers professionally was moving with tandem.
Most of the teachers were 14th grades graduated while those who had less qualification than that were studying in the Teacher Training Institutes, he remarked.
Referring to challenges in the education sector, he acknowledged students of some of the districts and Kabul city were getting education in tents or rental houses. With the same breath, he said his department was planning to construct buildings for schools in the next five years.
The shortage of professional and dedicated teachers was yet another challenge, which would be tackled soon, he promised.
Residents of Kabul districts and city complain about sinking education quality and direly needed facilities.
Jamal Ahmad, a resident of Kabul’s fifth district said his nephews were studying in Mahmood Hotak High School who had been complaining about constant absence of their teachers. He said strength of students was increasing day by day but the number of teachers and school buildings remained unchanged.
“My brother is studying in eleven grades and he is unable to study even for two hours the whole day,” he added.
Muhammad Dawood, a resident of Dasht Barchi while complaining about the performance of private schools, said there was no check on the private institutions and they were only minting money from the students.
Most of the time, the private schools asked the students for money amid high fees but their quality was not up to the mark and satisfactory. “I pulled out my son from a private school and had to enroll him in a state-run school,” he said, adding the concerned government departments should have a mechanism to have a proper check on the private institutions.
Shahabuddin, a resident of Di Sabz locality said his area was in acute shortage of professional teachers with most of the teachers had graduated from high school whose teaching method was not satisfactory.
Mahmood, another resident from Khakjabar district said some teachers in his area’s schools had not yet finished their 12 grades, lamenting students did not learn anything in the schools because teachers were not trained well professionally.
Students and Teachers:
Shugufta, a student from Kabul city complained science students did not learn well and practically due to the absence of proper laboratories in schools.
She expressed, however, some sort of satisfaction by saying that authorities had introduced some positive changes, which had improved the vital sector to great extent.
Sadaf, a six grade student from Alfatha High School informed that teachers’ absence from schools was a matter of greater concern for the students as well parents, which should be resolved. They used to go to schools everyday but they had to spend their time because of the absence of teachers.
Maaz Ahmad, another student of nine grades from Mahmood Hotak High School also voiced same concerns by saying that absence of teachers was a challenging problem to be resolved on priority basis, adding that most of the teachers were working in other departments simultaneously. He said government run schools offered better opportunities but the quality of education was low there.
Mujtaba, a student from 13 regions of Dasht Barchi from Shaheed Abdul Rahim High School said the saga of teachers’ absence continued unchecked by the relevant authorities, adding that the teachers who used to attend schools were telling social stories instead of focusing on students’ curriculum.
Baryali, a teacher from Shaheed Abdul Rahim High School said teachers had to work more in private schools as compared to government schools. He said environmental pollution was a great problem, adding that the relevant authorities should adopt measures to resolve the issue.
Private school and universities students complain from extra fees by saying that students are forced to get admission in private universities at a time when they failed to get admission in state-run universities.
Tamsila Barakzai, a second year student of Business Department at Khanaai Noor University in Kabul said she had to pay 15,000 afghanis for registration, books and transportations. She paid 5,000 afghanis as her monthly fee, which is unaffordable for those students who do not have good income.
Rafiullah, a graduate from management section of Kabul University said: “There is no cooperation among higher education and private universities. When a student try to go to ministry of higher education to obtain his document he/she should pay some money to get his/her job done.”
He said students had to pay money for every kind of work as the concerned ministry levied heavy taxes on private universities, which were being paid ultimately by the students.
Zahra Musawai, deputy of Kardan University said his varsity charged every student with 150 afghanis monthly, adding that the amount was imposed by the ministry of finance. “All conceptual lessons and key points have been provided with the help of slideshows which benefit students,” she added.
Dr Shafiullah Naimi, head of higher education institute of Rana said students had to pay 5,000 afghanis and the amount was being used in developing programs of the universities. Rejecting allegations of high fee that the university charges, he said as many as 1400 students were getting education under the established norms by the ministry of education. 
Mohammad Azim Noor Bakhsh, spokesperson of ministry of higher education said ministry had established regulations, which covered covers equally all private higher education institutes.
He said a commission in the Ministry of Higher Education was assigned to evaluate all private universities and compiled a report in this regard.
Hamidullah, a student of Ami Shamal High School in in Karti Parwan region of Kabul said he paid 2,500 afghanis as a monthly fee while another 5, 000 as enrolment fee.
Parents of a student said: “My son is student of nine grades. I am shopkeeper. It is very hard for me to pay all educational fee of my son. It would be great if ministry of education resolve these problems.”
Jamshid Ahmad Faizi, principal of Ama Shamal private school said they charge 1,750 afghanis up to 5,000 afghanis.
Haqmal said there were widespread complaints against private schools but established laws barred them to interfere in their affairs. Efforts with collaboration of private sectors had been initiated to work out a mechanism to divide schools in three categories.  
Khoshhal Khalil, an educationist said: “Based on my evaluation, children do not enjoy their basic rights in schools. Besides quality and quantity education, they are deprived of other rights too.”
He said: “Absence of clean drinking water, lack of play grounds and harsh behave of teachers with students amid harassment and beatings of students are some serious problems, which need immediate solution.”
Because of heavy strength of students in a classroom, they were unable to follow their teachers properly, he said, adding that education had been achieved commendable development in Kabul but much more was needed to be done to enhance the quality of education, he added.