17 December 2017

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Wednesday, 13 December 2017 05:39

Eye Doctors Curing 300 Patients In Samangan

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Aibak (BNA) A health team is in Samangan to cure individuals suffering from eye diseases.
According to head of the team Dr. Hamidullah Sadat, the team will stay for 10 days in the province and it is planned that nearly 300 patients suffering from eye diseases will be cured free of charge.
Provincial director of public health Mir Agha Asmati says there is no eye doctor in the province and the team in the province can address problems of a number of individuals suffering from eye problems.
 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Kabul (BNA) A conference titled’ consultative, understanding and cooperation of people with police’ held yesterday in Kunduz.
In the conference held by GIZ in Khorshid Hotel, Kunduz provincial police chief Abdul Hamid Hamidi, government officials, civil society activists and elders participated.
In the conference, cooperation of people with police in maintaining civil order which is the responsibilities of police was considered as key.
 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Kabul (BNA) The United States Ambassador John R. Bass presented his credentials to President Ashraf Ghani during an official ceremony at Arg on Tuesday, the president office said in a statement.
“It was an honor to present my credentials to President Ghani today,” said Ambassador Bass. He went on to say, “I look forward to supporting the government and people of Afghanistan in their efforts to rebuild a society in which everyone has an opportunity to live in peace and dignity,” the statement added.
Ambassador Bass will oversee U.S. support for Afghanistan’s continued economic and political development, including support for the rule of law and combating all forms of corruption. A main focus of his tenure will be on efforts to bring peace, security, and stability to the country and the region as part of the U.S. South Asia strategy, the statement continued. Ambassador Bass, a career Foreign Service officer with close to three decades in diplomatic service, most recently served as Ambassador to the Republic of Turkey (2014-2017) and Ambassador to Georgia (2009-2012). His previous assignments have included positions in U.S. missions in Iraq, Italy, Belgium, and Chad; service on Vice President Cheney’s staff; Chief of Staff and Advisor to Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott; and the Executive Secretary for the Department of State and Director of the State Department’s Operations Center, the statement concluded.
 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Kabul (BNA) Presided over by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, high economic council’s session was held yesterday at presidential palace.
In the session, head of Da Afghanistan Breshna Sharkat (DABS) Eng. Amanullah Ghalib briefed related to implementation of the council’s approved documents in particular 2nd phase of Kajaki dam that included price of tariff, tax, operation scale, compensation of losses, executing agreement of the project, contract for purchasing electricity and others.
After overall discussions in connection with the respective project and its legal issues, the session asserted that those who were losing their lands for implementation of the project should be supported and the respective contract should have clear legal basis.
Afterwards, working report of debts committee was delivered to the session by an official to ministry of mines and petroleum and was said that most of companies have delivered their written commitments in this regard to the ministry. In the session, it was suggested that cooperation should be provided in connection with maintaining security of contracting companies.
The country’s President said that a clear review should be done by the third institution, adding that they should have a clear formula related to fines of the companies.
President Ghani further said that those companies that have committed to investment have fulfilled their promise and should be further supported.
In the session, selling report of Mazar-e-Sharif Fertilizer Enterprise was delivered by an official to ministry of mines and petroleum. Later on, report and suggestion related to extraction of mining materials as stone and pebble and plan for making use of construction materials was delivered by officials to ministry of mines and petroleum.
In this regard, the country’s President said that amount for using construction materials by government should clarified by a committee. While stressing on quality of the materials and proper price, he said facilitation should be provided to companies to participate in open competition. After overall discussions, the session decided that extraction process of mining materials as stone and pebbles should be extended for another year.
 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Kabul (BNA) President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has accepted credential of Turkish new ambassador to Kabul.
Passing good wishes of his country’s leading body, the Turkish new ambassador to Kabul offered his credential to President Ghani and expressed happiness about his mission in Afghanistan.
He assured of his country’s continued cooperation with the people and government of Afghanistan, adding that he would make further effort towards further expansion of relations between the two countries.
He further said that he would also try to attract investment of Turkish companies to Afghanistan.
Congratulating Turkish new ambassador on his new mission in Afghanistan, President Ghani praised Turkey for its cooperation with Afghanistan in security, economic, education and all other sectors. The country’s President hoped that in presence of the new ambassador to Kabul relations between the two countries would further expand and Turkey would remain as enduring partner and friend of Afghanistan.
 

Wednesday, 13 December 2017 05:28

FM Meets US New Ambassador To Kabul

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Kabul (BNA) Salahuddin Rabbani, minister of foreign affairs met yesterday with US newly appointed ambassador to Kabul.
In the meeting, the US new ambassador to Kabul considered his country’s relations with Afghanistan as strategic and stressed on execution of the US commitments to Afghanistan. Minister of foreign affairs while considering relations of Afghanistan with the region and world as expanding said opening of door for cooperation with regional and world countries was significant.
 

Wednesday, 13 December 2017 05:27

Silk Road Scientific & Research Seminar Held

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Kabul (BNA) Chaired by acting minister of information and culture Prof. Mohammad Rasoul Bawari, 3rd session of convening commission for preparation of Silk Road scientific and research Seminar (Afghanistan and Silk Road) was held yesterday.
In the session, it was decided that the first day of the seminar should be held in Kabul and two other days held in Nangarhar. Therefore, the commission decided that a three-person delegation should visit Nangarhar for better management of the seminar.
In the session, acting minister of information and culture asked officials of relevant committees to further make effort in holding the seminar.
He said that financial year was about to finish, so expenses of the seminar should be counted precisely.
 

Wednesday, 13 December 2017 05:24

Construction Work of 42 Welfare Projects Executed

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Kabul (BNA) The rural rehabilitation and development ministry nearly a last month executed the construction work of 42 welfare projects in the level of the country.
The projects include, digging of potable water wells, hand pumps, and construction of retaining walls which have been implemented through irrigation national program of rural rehabilitation and development ministry in 17 provinces of the country.
Habib Behzad press in charge of rural rehabilitation and development ministry told BNA, the projects have been implemented in Maidan-Wardak, Logar, Ghor, Kabul, Parwan, Kapisa, Takhar, Nooristan, Paktia, Badakhshan, Daikundi, Balkh, Badghis, Zabul and Helmand provinces at the cost of more than 1,700,000 Afghani.
He said, 277, 000 families were benefited from facilities of the projects.
T. Yarzada
 

Wednesday, 13 December 2017 05:23

Taliban Rebels Killed In Helmand Conflicts

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Lashkarga (BNA) 14 Taliban rebels were killed in a clash by security forces in Helmand province last night.
The clash occurred in suburb of Lashkarga city while a group of Taliban stormed on a convoy of security forces.
An ANA senior commander in the south of the country told BNA, in the clash, 14 Taliban rebels killed.
According to another report, the security officials discovered and neutralized seven mines from crowded areas of Lashkarga city.
No one has been detained in connection of the case.
T. Yarzada
 

Tuesday December 12, 2017

Kabul (BNA) It has been widely acknowledged that no country can alleviate poverty, achieve sustainable economic development and produce skilled human resources without substantial investment in human capital.
Education is the main tool for investment in human capital development. Moreover, it makes individuals more responsible for contributing in the development of any economic sector in a country.
Undoubtedly, higher education increases people’s skills and knowledge, which in turn raises innovation, productivity, creativity, and fuels entrepreneurship and technological developments. Educated citizens can be the key determinant of a nation’s development which builds the economy and contributes in poverty reduction. In general, quality education and economic performance are likely to be related to each other: if one is improved, the other is also improved, vice versa.  Therefore, this article attempts to highlight recent improvements and current challenges in the higher education sector of Afghanistan and discusses its role in the economic development of the country.
Higher education institutions in Afghanistan
Since the Taliban regime was ousted in 2001, there has been a significant improvements in different sectors, especially in the services sector in Afghanistan. However, around 39 percent of its population are living in poverty, and about 40 percent are not gainfully employed. Nevertheless, there has been a substantial increase in the number of universities and higher education institutes, and students’ admissions. For example, the number of public universities and institutes increased from 19 in 2002-2003 to 36 today and the private universities, and higher education institutes increased from close to 0 to more than 100 at present. Across the country, admissions have risen from about 7,900 students in 2001 to 300,000 students in 2017 at public and private universities and higher education institutes. Notably, for the first time in the country’s history, PHD programs have been recently launched by Kabul and Nangarhar Universities – public universities.
The challenges
Despite the cited quantitative immense growth during the past over one decade, Afghanistan suffers from severe challenges on the road to organize its higher education system for the best possible economic development. Lack of access to higher education at the universities and higher education institutes for most of the youths is one of the main challenges in Afghanistan.
Since the demand for higher education is growing due to the expansion of primary and secondary education and the economic benefits of higher education, public universities and higher education institutes do not have enough resources to absorb everyone. To solve this problem, every year thousands of successful university entry test, known as Kankor, applicants are enrolled at private universities and higher education institutes by the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) with tuition-free or discount. In 2017, of 169,000 successful Kankor applicants, a total of 55,266 were enrolled at private universities and higher education institutes, which is a higher number than the previous years. According to the World Bank, compared to many other low-income countries, the private sector in Afghanistan has absorbed a relatively large number of students.
It seems to be common when high school graduates who do not find a way at first attempt to pass Kankor exam, either try again or go to the private universities and higher education institutes. Since tuitions fees are high at private universities and higher education institutes, most of the students cannot afford to pay them due to their low economy situation. In addition to this, the quality of the programs and the legitimacy of the degrees offered by most of the private universities and higher education institutes are a great concern for higher education practitioners and the MoHE.
Unfortunately, Afghanistan does not only have “ghost soldiers” and “ghost schools” but also ghost university students and graduates. In an interview the head of private universities department at MoHE – Mohammad Amir Kamawal did not refute the issue of ghost students and graduates. To solve this problem, Kamawal added that the MoHE does not issue degrees to the students of the private universities and higher education institutes until they separate the real graduates and students from the ghost ones.
According to Kamawal, the private universities and higher education institutes in terms of quality are categorized as: good, satisfactory and poor. This means none of the over 100 private universities and higher education institutes is categorized as excellent. Surprisingly, no public and private universities or higher education institutes in Afghanistan are in the list of regional and international university rankings. Moreover, almost none of them have academic peer reviewed/refereed journals to impart lecturers’ knowledge and provide students with up to date material and knowledge. This might be due to several reasons but two of the main reasons could be the lack of academic research among the lecturers/professors of the public and private universities and the institutes, and a lack of updated teaching materials.
Osman Babory, the former Deputy Minister of Higher Education for Academic Affairs admitted: “there are still faculty members at Kabul University, the largest and most ‘developed’ of all universities in the country, who teach with lecture notes they compiled decades ago, copied and copied again until barely legible anymore.” Top lecturers can be top researchers, but without research, lecturers cannot better compile, provide and explain lecture materials to the students. These all refer to the lack of qualified faculty members, especially at public universities. For example, figures show that 57 percent of the lecturers hold Bachelor degrees, 38 percent have Masters, and only five per cent hold PhDs.
Lack of modernized curriculum, medium of instruction rather than English, and lack of budget are also among the severe challenges, largely at the public universities. For instance, the staff at Kabul University said “they do not have “a single Afghani for its central library,” neither do faculties have money to stock their own, smaller libraries, and the same applies to provincial universities’ libraries.”
Despite some improvements in the curriculum in the last few years, especially at the public universities, reformed curriculum is not implemented at some faculties because lecturers stick to the old course materials. On the other hand, one of the problems with the private universities and higher education institutes is that they lack a unified curriculum.
Solutions
Certainly, these challenges have affected the quality of higher education. Undeniably, low quality of higher education makes graduates less productive and innovative in the labor market, which in turn has a negative impact on economic development of Afghanistan. The solution to these challenges is difficult but possible.
Together the Afghan government, especially the MoHE in collaboration with the universities, higher education institutes, and donors (e.g. World Bank, USAID) should address the cited challenges because the development of Afghan societies and economies is inter-linked with the development of (higher) education.  To do so, there is great need for:
Investment in higher education: The Government of Afghanistan, the donors, and the private sector should increase their investment, financial grants towards the capital costs in the higher education sector. Modern study campuses, dormitories, facilities, and equipment should be made to absorb more students. Libraries need to be modernized, and the skills and capacities of faculty members should be further improved.
The teaching profession: The MoHE should monitor and evaluate the teaching profession of both public and private universities and higher education institutes. The teachers or lecturers should be selected based on merit and experience with holding at least master’s degree.
English as a medium of instruction: essential for the students in most of the faculties (e.g. medical, economics, engineering, economics, computer science, etc). This could make graduates more competitive and productive in the labor market. To make this happen, English level of the school students should be improved.
Research and development: Universities should built-up a research culture and focus on creating an entrepreneurial culture among their graduates. They should produce job creators rather than producing job seekers. To do so, universities should build linkages with the productive/business sector. The MoHE should provide research grants for talented students.
Curriculum modernization: The curriculum of universities and higher education institutes should correlate with the economic situations of Afghanistan and the job market demands of the 21stcentury rather than teaching decades old materials to the students. Since rural poverty, internal displacement, refugees, corruption, and aid effectiveness are some of the major issues in Afghanistan it would be beneficial if these courses are incorporated in the universities and higher education institutes curriculum.
Collaboration/Networking: Besides collaboration and networking with the business sector, the universities and higher education institutes in Afghanistan should establish linkages with the prestigious universities across the world, national, regional and international organizations for internship opportunities. This will help students to develop their thinking, create new knowledge, and improve creativity
Sayed Nasrat and Tamim Karim
 

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