PAN, May 14, 2012
Insurgent threats shut Farah schools
Local officials in western Farah province said on Monday that there was no school in Bakwa district while militant threats had forced the closure of five schools in Gulistan town.
There was only one school that Taliban fighters destroyed five years ago, depriving many girls and boys of education Bakwa, said Mohammad Ismail, the district’s administrative chief.
“There is no school in this district at all; few teachers have been hired hired to teach children at mosques with the help of the education department,” he said, adding the closure was largely due to insecurity as there was no adequate police force in the district.
Insurgent threats shut Farah schools. (Photo: PAN)
Ismail put at 60 the number of police personnel in the town, saying that they could not provide security even for the district’s headquarters. He reckoned about 500 policemen were needed to protect the district.
Residents who have migrated to other provinces said once security improved and schools reopened, they would return to their respective areas. “I don't want my children to go uneducated. Therefore, I have been in Nimroz for the last 10 years,” said resident Dost Mohammad.
Mohammad from Gazi Khurd village of Bakwah said most children whose parents could not migrate to other provinces were deprived of education.
Meanwhile, officials and residents of Gulistan district said Taliban fighters had closed five schools. Gulistan, situated 240 km from Farah City, the provincial capital, is one the most restive districts.
Mohammad Khalid Gulistani, a 12th grade student at Sheikh Abu Nasar School in the capital, said he had moved to Farah City after his school was closed. “I studied up to grade six and when the Taliban closed our school, I came to Farah City."
He is not the only one who fled the district and settled in Farah City. Many well-off families have to moved to the capital.
The education environment in Gulistan is not good, only two of the seven schools are open -- they are shut either due to Taliban threats or non-payment of salaries to teachers, according to Amir Jan, a tribal elder.
Although Gulistan residents wanted their children to acquire knowledge, the government had failed to take any steps to address the security problem, the elder alleged.
Provincial council head, Abdul Basir Khairkhwa, acknowledged five schools had been closed due to threats from the fighters. "The Taliban killed a teacher last year and the rest of his colleagues also received death threats. As a result, the schools are closed."
The district needed 30 to 35 schools but only two of the seven were currently functioning, he explained.
“In Bakwah we are unable to open schools due to the presence of fighters and lack of security," said Attiqullah, Farah City’s education head. In addition to the security threats, lack of professional teachers hampers the promotion of education.
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