Four decades of conflict in Afghanistan not only destroyed the physical infrastructure of the education system, but also the human resources schools rely on. The government is now committed to strengthening its teaching workforce to rebuild the country’s education system and allow the next generation of Afghans better opportunities.
Both these two remote central highland provinces, home to the Hazara ethnic minority, face severe challenges due to poor infrastructure and lack of education services and have been neglected by NGOs and the Afghan government. Established in 2007, the Jesuit Refugee Service projects in Bamiyan – and more recently in Dai Kundi – seek to promote access to quality primary and secondary education as the foundation for peace and economic prosperity.
Education. JRS provides financial support to academics to teach English to 120 students at Bamiyan University and to the teacher training college in the city. In addition, JRS taught English to nearly 500 children as part of the US-embassy supported English Access Programme in Bamiyan and Dai Kundi. This two-year training programme reaches out to disadvantaged children (especially those from returnee families living in remote villages) to offer them better opportunities for quality education.
At request of the Bamiyan Education Director, the Konkur (common university entrance exam) programme was started in two centres in Bamiyan to provide support 420 students from six schools. The programme includes the intensive training in subjects like mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology, as well as tutoring for students taking university entrance examination. The JRS staff in Ishtarlei will also providing training to 100 teachers, and enrol 320 students in the Konkur programme.
Women's empowerment. In cooperation with Bamiyan Education Department and Bamiyan Women’s Academy, JRS organised pre-university courses in English and computers for nearly 300 school and university women students, as well as a course basic accounting and office management for another 30 women. JRS also provided the materials, including for the computer lab for the courses.
Winter training in remote villages. For the last six years, JRS has been conducting regular and winter training programmes in Bamiyan, and more recently in Dai Kundi province. Many students who attend Bamiyan University come from Dai Kundi. So when they return home on the winter break, they receive a stipend to teach English and science to children in remote villages of Panjab and Waras districts, en-route between Bamiyan and Dai Kundi.
Stan Fernandes SJ
+91 11 4310 4661; +91 11 4953 4106
JRS South Asia is one of 10 geographic regions of the Jesuit Refugee Service, an international Catholic organization sponsored by the Society of Jesus. The regional office in South Asia serves Bhutanese refugees in Nepal, Srilankan refugees in the Indian State of Tamilnadu and internally displaced people in Sri Lanka. Services include: education, skill training, economic programmes, healthcare, psychological support, disability centres, community development and emergency assistance. There more than 8,00,000 refugees presently in these four countries.
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