Shinwari: We are in search of sketching a five-year plan for MOE

The Afghan Tribune’s correspondent, Halim Shamalzai arranged an interview with the deputy minister of General Education of Afghanistan. Ibrahim Shinwari appointment as a deputy minister involves many responsibilities in the basic reforms of Afghanistan’s education curriculum, putting into practice a well standard educational strategy for qualitative learning. His efforts for establishing a robust educational society through qualitative learning have helped National Technical Committee to establish connectivity and it integrated all relevant stakeholders and policy makers within the education ministry.

Furthermore, Ibrahim Shinwari personal efforts in the society have also proven him a young scholar in Afghan society.

The Afghan Tribune:

President Ghani has given a vital importance to the ministry of education and he urged that we need to give priority to the teachers’ socio-economic status, and capacity building; do you think that the ministry of education is making any progress in this regard?

Exactly, the president has promised while addressing a New Year ceremony this year that his administration is hoping to introduce major changes in the everyday life of teachers and standardize the teaching methods through capacity building measures and improve their social-economic status. But still there are many things to be done; of course, we are busy with the task of designing a proper structure. And to make it ready for implementation, perhaps, we need a bit to be patient before it’s implemented. The prestige of teachers as existing in our society should also be realized in actual meanings.

Unfortunately, all those students who obtained low marks in the high secondary schools in their annual exams prefer seeking admission in our universities; they think they’re fit for educational faculties, but the rest of the world’s first class universities don’t have these criteria. They prefer high-level marks obtainer for admissions.

The Afghan Tribune:

Our students are doing not well specially on primary level as the recent survey conducted by  Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) and Monitoring Trends in Educational Growth (MTEG)  show that more than 31 percent of students of grade 6 indicated that many students are not yet able to link the meaning of words to written symbols, 10 percent of students cannot read simple words, and 14 percent of students for math cannot name simple words, what do you think where the major problem lies  and what solution do you suggest to resolve these problems?

This is a small size assessment of the students learning in reading, math, and writing as well as a low level comparison study with our neighbors in the respective modules and generally we know very well that our sixth class students are equal with their fourth class students, perhaps this is because of decades war and destruction and lacking a proper infrastructure for learning. We are in search of sketching a five-year plan and fortunately we been able in focusing on quality of education system. Undoubtedly, the quantity of the schools, colleges and universities have been raised to a large number but we should also believe that we are lacking quality teaching methods and that’s why we are planning to go through an annual survey for measuring educational achievements in Afghanistan. Certainly, this will help us in knowing that where our educational objectives and goals are and what we are gaining, of course, the stakeholders, and major policy makers of the state will be alert after findings for further action and improvement in our educational sector. We have planned to introduce capacity building training programs for teachers during their annual vacation.

The Afghan Tribune:

Tell us to what extent your ministry has succeeded in achieving the first 100 days plan indicators in education sector under President Ghani leadership?

Well- we are contributing from our side on this plan and sometimes tasks get more serious and more time consuming due to their features and but I will simply state that our successes are more than 80% but still some activities like infrastructure needs serious attention and time, so we are doing good on this.

The Afghan Tribune:  

Minister Balkhi has recently claimed that he has access to the data which indicate that a large number of ghost staff and schools building exist in the education ministry! Why this poor performance of education ministry? And what sort of measurements has been taken for tackling corruption within the ministry of education?

To be honest, I have no proper information on ghost’s schools. But, yes we are struggling to overcome this matter and find the actual number through responsible teams as assigned to this task.

The Afghan Tribune:

Do we have a model in education to pursue in order to push the new Afghan generation towards progressive and contemporary sciences?

Recently we’ve assigned the task to Curriculum, Research and Planning Departments to find the possible way through research, analysis and findings that what is best, but yes we can’t dictate other nations to do our task, hence we need to reform our curriculum while keeping in view the standards, culture, and values of the Afghan nation. It is worth mentioning here that our departments have the capability and vision to bring positive changes as they are already making progress year to year.

The Afghan Tribune:

Recently, some informal reports suggested that there is a possibility of removal of directorates from the ministry, why this decision was made by President?

Recently, the provincial directorates’ positions were announced for the reason to recruit new staff through CBR process. Actually, we are working to renew and recruit capable staff for the assigned duties and responsibilities but this must not be considered as a drive of depriving people of their rights to jobs.

The Afghan Tribune:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised during his historical visit to Kabul for inaugurating the Parliament that his government would help in building 10 high schools like Amania and Esteqlal, would you mind to update the nation about what progress has been made in this regard?  

I do not know about this statement but our ministry is trying its best to contribute while addressing the current age contemporary challenges in all provinces.

The Afghan Tribune:

There is a great influence of anti-state actors in the educational institutes in the provinces of Afghanistan! What strategy does the government have in mind for curbing this curse?   

The ministry of education is against all politically motivated forms of educational syllabus or educational institutes. We are in the picture with the security agencies of our state and we ask them frequently to put at bay all types of prejudices and security risks against our educational institutes. I am sure that Taliban should not have any objection to our syllabus and educational institutions because our syllabus is not in contradiction with Islamic injunctions or principles. Undoubtedly, our syllabus is not political and we also know that there is no political propaganda in our syllabus against any political movement or organization including Taliban, but, yes we believe in making a well-civilized citizen and it is the responsibility of our syllabus so they could contribute positively to our society problems. Yes, the anti-state elements do resist in remote areas and we are looking to avoid these situations in future. But, still I believe that we should illuminate the education candles everywhere in our country beyond the concern that who controls the areas!

 

The Afghan Tribune | Halim Shamalzai & Ibrahim Shinwari | Published: June 11, 2016,  05:35 PM

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