5 new schools in Jawzjan save pupils from the hardship of studying outdoors

By Muhammad Qasem

A newly built school funded by Norway is pictured March 21 in Aqcha district, Jawzjan province. [Courtesy of Atiqullah Ibrahimzada]

A newly built school funded by Norway is pictured March 21 in Aqcha district, Jawzjan province. [Courtesy of Atiqullah Ibrahimzada]

JAWZJAN -- Norway and the Agency for Technical Co-operation and Development (ACTED) have built five schools in three districts of Jawzjan province, providing school buildings for more than 3,000 children.

Prior to the construction, students had to attend classes in open spaces.

The total cost to build the schools using concrete and standardised construction methods was 14,000,000 AFN ($164,000), funded by Norway.

The schools are single-storey buildings that include four classrooms, two administrative offices and other necessary facilities, said Mohammad Tahir Jawad, director of the Jawzjan Department of Education.

"Construction work on these schools started four months ago and they were formally inaugurated on March 21," he said.

The new schools are situated in the Aqcha, Khanaqa and Khwaja Doko districts of Jawzjan, he added.

"Prior to the construction of these schools, students had to study outdoors -- under trees or in some cases under tents -- but with the completion and use of these school buildings, more than 3,000 male and female students now have access to a proper educational environment," he said.

Optimistic for the future

Parents have welcomed the construction of the new school buildings and called for aid agencies to implement more infrastructure projects.

"My children are in the third grade and fifth grade at Yangaareq school in Aqcha district," said 48-year-old Fazel Rabi Hussaini.

"They were not interested in going to school and studying in the past since there were no facilities. But now with the new building, they go to school with enthusiasm and study."

The construction of schools will help promote education in the country, Hussaini said.

"It would be good if more of these development projects are implemented in the future, as they are effective and they help train the country's future generation," he said.

Mohammad Shaker Zarif, 15, a sixth-grader at Chobash middle school in Khwaja Doko district, said that for years, he and his classmates had been studying outside in scorching heat and cold winters with only trees to protect them.

"I went to this village's school for grades one through six. Students faced so many problems in the cold weather in winter," he said.

"Our clothes, books, notebooks and other studying materials would get wet in the rain."

"Students are now very happy studying in their classrooms. They are now optimistic about their future," he said.

Shortage of school buildings

Only 57% of schools in the province have actual buildings, according to Jawad, the provincial educational director.

"Aid agencies have pledged to build, renovate or reconstruct schools that lack buildings and other facilities and teaching materials," he said. "If fulfilled, this [promise] will help address the shortage of school buildings faced by thousands of students."

"Our kids always get sick when they attend school in the winter and the summer from the lack of a proper studying environment," said Niaz Mohammad, 62, a resident of Khanaqa district. "They face so many problems while studying."

"A number of schools in many districts, including Khanaqa, lack buildings," he said. "If this problem faced by the students is addressed, not only they will be more interested in their studies, they will also be safe from the spread of diseases."

The schools were constructed to facilitate access to a safe educational environment for students, said Amanullah Amin, director of ACTED in Jawzjan.

"We always try to implement such projects not only to meet the needs of residents of different areas but also to enhance public access to services in various fields," he said.

This year, 110 additional schools will be built or renovated in the province, and this construction will facilitate access to educational opportunities for thousands of other students, he said.

"Our expectation of the locals, especially village elders, is to be diligent in using and maintaining these buildings so that their children can keep using these facilities," he said.

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Building a school is a huge and complex task, but having a clear land plan for building schools is important because a school should have regular classrooms, administrative rooms, toilets, and playgrounds... Now, suppose there is no plan to build other parts besides constructing teaching classrooms and administrative rooms at the beginning. In that case, they can be built when the budget is found, but since there is no regular plan from the beginning, the number of students may increase, and the space will not be the same, and the playground, toilets... If not, students may face one or other difficulty. In this regard, the Islamic Emirate should take steps and first make a clear land plan for the construction of schools and then give it to the organizations and foundations that cooperate in building schools. If a transparent mechanism is created, responsibilities will be better performed, coordination will be established, and affairs will be better monitored. We have been victims of financial corruption for the past 20 years, and now we see corruption and embezzlement in every work; therefore, officials equipped with Islamic and national spirit must supervise these works and cooperate with the organizations. Building schools is our national priority, so we should do it with sincerity!


What good work! When school gates are opened, the darkness escapes, and the light comes in. New thoughts come to people's minds, and their thoughts change entirely. Unfortunately, many areas in Afghanistan still lack schools, and the children have not yet seen a book or a pen. Now it is time for the teachers of this field to train their students in a standard way and show the families that their education has made a significant change in the lives of the children, and if it continues, it will be better, and it will be a cure for the pain...


You have pointed at many important points. Indeed, by opening every school gate, a gate of darkness closes; however, only building a school is not the way of solution. Beside that, a small park, toilet and office rooms are needed. Another important point is that teachers in schools should be professional so that children are smart and aware from childhood. Today, a student graduates from grade 12; however he is not able to spell and write which is a big problem.


One of my sons studied at a school in Kabul for four years, but he has not learned anything. I tried very hard to work with him at home with him so that my son can learn, but I didn't get any results. After several tries, I sent my wife and my eldest son to the school to ask them and find the reason why my son can not learn the lessons? Later, I found out that my son was studying in the open space or in a tent. When another class has sports' period, the teachers take their students out to the school yard. All school students who study in the tent, notice their sports games, and do not focus on their studies. Another reason why my son did not study was that whoever was walking around the school grounds, all the students who were sitting in the tent noticed them while they were studying. Building schools in Jawzjan Province by Norway and France is a positive step in the lives of children in Jawzjan Province, Afghanistan. With the construction of these schools by Norway and France, now the students of this province can study properly. Lessons are not taught in the tents and students cannot learn the lessons. Students who study in the school yard are very different from the students who study in the classroom. With the construction of these schools by France and Norway, there will be positive changes in the lives of 3000 children in the field of studying. We request other countries too to turn the tents into classrooms so that Afghan children can study properly and have a bright f


It is well done that the children have become safe from the wind and rain. We are grateful to both ACTED and Norway for this work. However, AFN 14 million or $164,000 for five such schools, each with only four classrooms and two administrative rooms, is unacceptable. This means that approximately $33,000 have been spent on each building, which is unacceptable. It seems that these buildings were built in a very primitive way. A maximum of $15,000 should be enough for each of such buildings. It doesn't cost more than that. Anyway, thanks again to Norway and ACTED.