KUNDUZ -- The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is providing education to children in six districts of Kunduz province and the provincial capital through the establishment of makeshift home-based schools.
As part of the effort, UNICEF sends teachers to remote villages and rents local houses to be used as classrooms.
So far, 510 classrooms have been set up throughout the province.
The classes, which are offered to children in grades one to four, will be taught from May to February every year, said Mujeeb Ur Rahman Seerat, director of the Citizens Organisation for Advocacy and Resilience (COAR) for Afghanistan's northeastern provinces.
"UNICEF has recruited 600 male and female teachers to teach children in various villages of Aliabad, Chahar Dara, Imam Sahib, Khanabad, Qala Zal, Dasht-i-Archi, and the provincial capital," he said. "The programme is expected to continue for eight years."
Teachers are paid 9,200 AFN ($100) monthly, he added.
The programme aims to provide educational opportunities for children who are otherwise deprived of schooling, Seerat said.
"In these classes, priority is given to children who do not have access to public schools or those who live in areas with no schools," he said.
"These classes give children in remote areas of Kunduz the opportunity to study and not remain deprived of education."
"These community-based schools were run by Save the Children in 2019 and 2020, but this year we have taken over the programme," he noted. "Fifty percent of the students are girls and 50% are boys."
Fulfilling children's dreams
The majority of the children studying in the local UNICEF-funded classrooms are between 8 and 15 years old.
Namera Naseeri, 11, is a fourth-grader at Haji Abdul Rahman School in Aliabad district.
"I have been studying at a home-based school for four years," she said. "I am very happy and very satisfied with the lessons here."
"We come here to study because public schools are hours away from us and our families don't allow us to travel that far."
Namera requested that the community-based schools be expanded so she and her classmates can study up to grade 12.
"I want to become a doctor in the future," she said. "If I have the opportunity and graduate from high school, I can realise my dream."
Ashiqullah Omarkhail, 11, a third-grader attending the same school, said the nearest public school is three hours away from where he lives.
"I could not attend that school, so this is a good opportunity for me to study near my house," he said.
"Teachers teach us religious subjects including the Holy Koran, religion and Hadiths, as well as science, math and Pashto," he said. "I can now read and write, and I'm very happy that I can build my future."
Ahmad Naweed Hussaini, 10, another third-grader, says he has been attending home-based schools for three years, as public schools are far from his home.
"My family members, including my parents, are illiterate and, being adults, can no longer study," he said. "I can study and want to become a teacher and teach other children."
"If girls' schools are not re-opened, not all of us cannot realise our dreams," he added. "My message to everyone is let's study and build our future."
'Building a brighter future for Afghanistan'
Children in various Kunduz villages who previously had little chance of receiving an education, now have access to classrooms, said Baryalai Qaderi, 33, a teacher recruited by UNICEF in the Se Darak area of Kunduz city.
"I am happy to be teaching children in my area," he said. "People in this area are very happy that their children are studying at the community-based school."
Around 30 boys and girls attend his class for half a day from Saturday to Thursday.
"Providing education to thousands of boys and girls means building a brighter future for Afghanistan," he said. "I am proud of teaching this country's children."
Sharifullah Khairkhwa, 37, also expressed pride in his role as a teacher at a home-based school in the provincial capital, meaning one held informally in someone's house.
"I have been teaching children at various home-based schools for four years," he said. "We teach children according to the school curriculum. They are provided every kind of support and lack nothing."
"I am proud to be teaching the children of this country, these villages, so they can study, stay away from harmful things and be encouraged to study," he added.
Thanks to UNICEF for launching this free program for children's education, but thousands of educated young people and I are criticizing it, and it is that; what will these children do if UNICEF would teach them until grade 4? Should they go raise the cows? Should they go graze the ewes? should they go to beg? What should they do? These classes are made in areas where no schools exist or the children cannot access education. I say that instead of hundreds, they should apply the same process to dozens and implement it. They don't need to rent a concrete building and may make mud houses, but they may change the system to the high schools as kids in the areas can get an education at least up to grade 12 and easily access them. A few years ago, an organization came to our village and told the elders that they were building a school, but they only paid the teachers' salaries. Our elders agreed with them. We did it together. A few classrooms were built from mud, and teaching started in a few days. After a few years, another institution came to give this school a regular building. Still, we welcomed them. We gave them twenty jeribs of land instead of one. The institution is working hard and rebuilding the school properly. Therefore, it is hoped that UNICEF and other similar institutions will do one thing but do it well. Don't do too much, but do it in a quality way.Reply
You have solved your question yourself. The point is that one organization cannot do everything. If UNICEF takes one step now, another organization will take another step, and another will take another step to complete the process. Moreover, these tasks should not be left only to external organizations. We must participate in it ourselves. The government of Afghanistan collects AFN billions in taxes every year. The government should build such schools. People should get together, put in money and build schools. UNICEF is indeed an agency of the United Nations, but this does not mean we should beg the world for everything when the Taliban spread lies that they have defeated the world. Now they have to build the schools and other facilities. However, the sons of bitch close the schools instead of building them.Reply
After a long time, we heard a good news. Our broken hearts were filled with joy and happiness. Our children are our future. We Afghans are very much worried about the future of our children because we don't have a strong economy to send our children to private schools in order that, our children can learn something. In public schools, we only have 3 hours of lessons a day, and a student cannot learn anything in these 3 hours. Public school teachers are also blamed for not always being present for their lessons, and they are always absent one or two days a week. We feel happy with the start of the UNICEF program in Kunduz province. UNICEF gives AFN 9,200 as monthly salary to 600 teachers. This is a help to those educated women who were sitting in their homes with no fate, and now they have a job and a living. UNICEF should tell teachers to teach their students in a basic way like a kind mother. Mothers and fathers should respect their children. Make use of this golden chance and learn the lesson in a fundamental way and the students should not spend their time in vain, and they should always try to do their homework correctly at home. I am just saying that UNICEF is the father of the poor and orphaned children of Afghanistan. Thanks to UNICEF for this prestigious program.Reply
This is really good news. Thanks to UNICEF, which has provided a living program for hundreds of Afghan teachers and educational programs for the students. In response to your criticism of public school teachers, let us say that public school salaries are not paid regularly, and the thing is, the needs of a family whose teacher is their breadwinner is not enough. Therefore, a teacher is forced to spend half of his day in side work to earn bread and sustenance for his family. First of all, the ruling system and international institutions like UNICEF should equalize salaries for the teachers, so we can expect better lessons and teaching.Reply