On brink of bankruptcy, private education centres close in Herat

By Omar

Most of the private education centres in Herat province have gone bankrupt and closed their doors after the fall of the Afghan government last August, leaving tens of thousands of students without access to education and thousands of teachers unemployed. [Omar/Salaam Times]

HERAT -- Most private education centres in Herat are going bankrupt after the fall of the previous government, leaving tens of thousands of students without access to education and thousands of teachers unemployed.

Of the 200 education centres in Herat, only 70 are still operational, according to the Union of Private Education Centres in Herat.

More than 50,000 students, mostly girls, were studying at these private education centres before the fall of the previous government, but now the number of students has dropped to fewer than 15,000.

After the mandatory separation of girls and boys in classes and imposition of restrictions on girls, the number of girls attending classes has dropped by more than 80%.

Students listen to their instructor in a class at Atayee Education Centre in Herat city on January 13. [Omar/Salaam Times]

Students listen to their instructor in a class at Atayee Education Centre in Herat city on January 13. [Omar/Salaam Times]

Of the 3,000 teachers previously employed by private education centres that prepare students for the university entrance examination, fewer than 1,000 still have jobs, said Mohammad Arif Ramesh, director of the union.

"The majority of our students come from other provinces who [want to] study at the public university in Herat," he said. "But since the university is closed, they have moved back to their home provinces."

All preparation classes for the Kankor (university entrance exam) have been cancelled since no one is interested in applying to universities, he said.

"More than 20,000 people took the Kankor preparation classes last year, but this year, no one is interested in taking them," Ramesh said.

Fear of attending classes

Families are afraid to send their daughters to university preparation centres after the fall of the previous government, said Nargis Sadat, a 7th grader in Herat city.

"There were 50 to 60 girls in my class, but after the recent developments, there are now only 15 girls left," she said.

"Girls' schools must reopen immediately," she said. "Today, we are children, but we want to work for the government tomorrow. Girls are important members of society and should not be sidelined."

"Girls have lost hope because of the closure of schools. They will resume their studies if the schools reopen," said Aasenat Atayee, another 7th grader in Herat city.

"Like any other country, schools in Afghanistan need to be opened so that today's children can become tomorrow's leaders," she added.

Fear of an uncertain future and hopelessness have discouraged girls from their studies, said Zakia Ahmadi, a 10th grader in Herat city,

"We were a group of 15 girls, learning English together ... but now only four of us are left in the class," she said.

"The current situation is very dangerous that can make the future of the country very dark," she said. "The education system of our country is severely damaged and can be further affected with every passing day."

There are many restrictions on girls now, Zakia said. They cannot study or move around as they once did.

Collapse of educational system

Private education centres are under great pressure following the collapse of the government in mid-August. The authorities now pressure them to teach religious topics instead of English and science.

Many centres have thus ceased operations, and those that continue to function are about to go out of business.

Mir Ahmad Atayee, who runs a private education centre in Herat city, said he has lost 60% of his students after the fall of the previous government.

Restrictions on education centres by the authorities, especially on women, have caused frustration, pushing the centres out of business.

"After the recent developments in the country, Afghan youth have lost hope, giving up on their studies," he said. "The majority of them have left the country, while those remaining are not that interested in education anymore."

"One thousand female students were studying at our centre last year, but now, fewer than 100 girls come to study," Atayee said.

Now, girls' and boys' classes must be separated and male teachers may not teach girls.

The future of the country depends on education and if the youth do not study, the future of the country will be bleak, he said.

Zemarai Mukhtar, who runs a private education centre in Herat city, said he had more than 4,500 students before the fall of the previous government, but now only half of them remain.

Most students are unable to pay their fees because of rising poverty and have several overdue payments to make, he said.

"Last year, 150 teachers were teaching at our centre, but this year, only 70 of them are left, while the others are now jobless in their homes," he added.

"Our centre will most likely be closed in a few months if the situation remains like this," Mukhtar said. "We cannot cover our expenses, including teachers' salaries, right now."

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And on the other hand, when most of our young people participate in the university entrance exam for higher education, they cannot get the marks chosen for them by the Ministry of Higher Education. They not only waste a year but are also unable to go to private universities. However, one thing that is good for the students in private universities is that they are not obliged to participate in the entrance exam again. Besides, they do not fail there. Therefore, we need the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Higher Education to establish other states' higher education institutions in the country with high quality so that the youth can enjoy the great blessings of education. On the other hand, illiteracy comes to an end in the country. Suppose the Ministry of Higher Education and the Ministry of Education do not take these points seriously. In that case, the lives of the country's youth will be further ruined in terms of education. The poor will get poorer and the wealthy will get wealthier.


It has been ten years now that the Ministry of Education has been shouting and saying that we will increase teachers' salaries and give them plots of land, but so far, no serious action has been taken. Promises have not been fulfilled, and the teachers are not happy. Now it is up to the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Higher Education to decide that most of the rich people of our country will enroll their children in private schools, and the poor compatriots will be left with no education. Poor will not be able to provide modern education to their children. In their opinion, lessons in private schools will be better. Still, with the help and facilities of the international organizations, I can say that the Ministry of Education can strengthen their education and their teachers compete with the private schools and discourage people from enrolling their children in private schools. But when we look at private schools, their work is good, their teachers are well-organized, and with very little chance, they have defeated the departments of education in the country.


There is no doubt that Afghan youth have been deprived of the great blessing of education through war throughout history. The reasons behind this are all related to the war today. On the one hand, the war is going on in our country, and on the other hand, our schools are being mercilessly set on fire by the enemies, and our youth remain uneducated. They were forced to leave their country and live in foreign lands, which on the one hand, came under foreign culture and aggression, and on the other hand, no people looked down on them. The young people who are doing their education in our country today are complaining and saying that we have not been appropriately trained the way we deserve. It means that we do not have professional teachers in the country, and even if we do, they are a minimal number who often work in foreign institutions. The salaries that the Ministry of Education has set for them today cannot fulfill their needs, so eventually they are forced to work in foreign organizations. to be continued


The closure of educational and higher education centers is not limited to Herat and a handful of other provinces. Still, the process is accelerating in other provinces, with hundreds of educational and higher education centers (courses, schools, semi-higher education institutes, and universities) closed in each province after the collapse of the presidential system. As a result, the teachers and students of these educational centers were affected and are getting involved. With the closure of these centers, the future of Afghan children will be dark, they will live in darkness all their lives, and eventually, they will die in darkness. Humanitarian aid is now coming to Afghanistan from other parts of the world. Still, as an Afghan citizen, I would say that we should also be assisted in development work projects in different provinces in addition to humanitarian assistance. A budget should be earmarked to engage the people. Implementation of development projects will involve a person; instead, his children will learn, and his future will be bright. These same children, and those for whom schools are closed, can not only threaten Afghanistan's future but also pose a threat to the entire region. They can pose a serious threat, but they will not do anything to endanger a person or society if they are educated and have jobs.