Functional literacy courses which had existed since the 1950s wereconsiderably developed during the 1970s, along with appropriate teaching andreading materials for new literate. The politicized promotion of adult literacyby the PDPA after 1978, however, was greatly resented. In the 1990s, aidproviders enthusiastically sponsor adult courses, but it is difficult for newliterate to maintain their acquired skills because insufficient attention isgiven to producing suitable reading materials.
Teacher training, textbook development, supplementary readings, curricula,school supplies and construction are all emphasized by agencies assistingAfghanistan's education sector. In many instances, literacy and numeracy arecombined with, health, dental care, demining, agriculture and other skillstraining. Goals emphasize literacy for productivity so as to build humancapacities, but, as in the past, social needs are secondary. According to the1995 work plan prepared by twenty-six Afghan and international NGOs and three UNagencies, their programs serve 20 provinces. Again, provinces such as Ghor,Bamiyan, Nimroz and Badakhshan continue to be neglected.
Despite these efforts, education receives only about 10 percent of thefunding provided for other sectors. Schools are still without buildings in manyareas and sustainability is questionable because of insufficient coordination,underutilized trained teachers, inattention to quality improvement, inadequateteaching materials, monitoring, and evaluation.
Not enough attention has been made to devise special education courses toreach young, one-time mujahideen who opted to go to war instead of completingtheir education. These restive individuals are unable to submit to constructivediscipline such as school attendance, yet they have no technical competence toenable them to contribute productively to the society. Existing programs,therefore, fall far short in human resource capacity building which is arguablythe most crucial need facing Afghanistan today.
In areas administered by the Taliban, emphasis is placed on maximizingreligious subjects, schools for girls are closed and female teachers areforbidden to teach. Many NGOs, on instruction from their donors, have suspendedassistance in those areas where female education is curtailed. Others seekalternative options such as home schools, but the education system as a whole isbeset with grave limitations on key issues such as equitable access and qualityinstruction. Several future generations will be severely handicapped as aresult.
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