15 December 2017

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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
 

Tuesday December 12, 2017

Kabul (BNA) Afghanistan are all set to make their Test debut with their Asian neighbor India as confirmed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India following the Special Governing Body meeting on Monday.
The game will be played in India next year with the exact details on the venue and dates expected to be announced in due course of time.
Earlier, Afghanistan were set to play Zimbabwe in a Test series in the United Arab Emirates but Zimbabwe Cricket turned down the offer as they wanted to focus on the Qualifiers leading into the World Cup.
"Afghans were scheduled to play their first Test in 2019 versus Australia but considering the historic relationship between India and Afghanistan, we decided to host their first Test," said BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan Cricket Board chairman Atif Mashal thanked the BCCI counterparts for agreeing to the request made by the board to make their Test debut against India.
"Afghanistan will play its first Test against India. The exact date and venue of the match will be shared in a joint press conference in due course. I personally thank BCCI board for the decision"
Cricketworld
 

Tuesday December 12, 2017

Kabul (BNA) Prof. Mohammad Rassoul Bawari, acting minister of information and culture during his visit to Ghazni province, urged the organs concerned to soon step up for basic repairing of the provincial historical monuments, BNA reported the other day.
Bawari added that the historical monuments of the ancient city needed fundamental reconstruction, as they were not basically repaired to mark the 2013 festival, the agency quoted. “Currently, a professional team of the ministry of information and culture is involved in repairing the provincial historical monuments,” said the minister adding all historical monuments in the center and districts of the province are expected to be repaired. Expressing concern over the usurpation of the historical sites by land-grabbers, he said the historical areas should be recovered from them as soon as possible, the agency quoted.
He instructed for returning the usurped historical objects and said illegal excavation of the historical sites should be banned. Thanking the acting minister of information and culture for his visit to the province’s historical sites, governor, Eng. Abdul Karim Mateen and asked the ministry for doing more in prevention of destruction and collapse of the historical monuments in the province. He said that the president has ordered that Ghazni Fortress should repaired. According to another report, new building of the provincial information and culture, which was built at the cost of up to 26 million Afghanis, and the provincial national museum built at the cost of up to 8 million Afghanis from the budget of the ministry inaugurated and put in utilization.
The acting minister and the governor of Ghazni also attended the utilization ceremony of the Al-Beroni library, which according to the provincial director of information and culture department of Ghazni, at the present the library contained up to 6,000 various books. Numerous books of the mentioned library annihilated due to terrorists attack in 2014, now trying to make enrich the library again, the provincial director added.
 

Tuesday December 12, 2017

Kabul (BNA) At the presence of President Ghani and CE Abdullah, the High Economic Council (HEC) during its meeting on Monday signed the contracts on CASA-1000 power transmission line and Arghandi’s 500kv substation, the presidential palace said in a statement.
The meeting signed CASA-1000 power transmission line worth $235mln between Da Afghanistan Breshna Company’s CEO, Eng. Amanullah Ghalib and Indian companies’ in-charges KPTL and KEC, the statement further said. CASA-1000 power transmission line project which crosses Central Asian countries and ends in Pakistan, would length 765km, that 563km of which would pass through Afghanistan and would be implemented in three parts of the country, the statement added. The contracts on project’s first part worth $76.9mln with KPTL company, the second part worth $85.43mln and the third part worth $72.83mln was signed with KEC company, the statement continued. The amount would be granted by World Bank and the project would be practically started on April 2018 and would be completed by the next three years, the statement added. Likewise, the meeting signed a contract on building a 500kb substation in Arghandi by Da Afghanistan Breshna Company Eng. Ghalib and an Indian company of Techno-RGM JV, the statement said. Building of the substation would worth $32.2mln which would be sponsored by the Asian Development Bank. Work on substation would be practically started on January 2018 and would be wrapped up by the next two and half a year.
 

Tuesday, 12 December 2017 09:01

CE Chairs CMs Meeting

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Kabul (BNA) The Council of Ministers (CMs) was held with Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah on the chair, urging the provincial governments in eastern Nangarhar, Faryab, Jawzjan and Sar-e-Pul provinces to assess security, a statement from the CE office said the other day. 
The statement quoted him as praising security forces in some districts of the eastern Nangarhar province in war against Daesh and other militants groups.
Dr. Abdullah thanked the security forces for arresting kidnappers and said detaining the dangerous criminals helped ensure security in the country, according to the statement.
The CE congratulated opening of Qaisar-Laman road to the Badghis people and said that in a meeting with Turkmen foreign minister both sides agreed on providing electricity with low prices to Badghis residents.
The CE, touching on some political issues from some certain people, said provocative assertions should be prevented as they would never tackle any problems and rather would fuel discords among the country’s different tribes.  Any Afghan is willing peace, and should do his /her best to help restore social justice in the country.  Dr. Abdullah also asked the country’s media to work hard in prevention of violence against women through launching a country-wide campaign, the statement added.
After hearing security report from defense minister, the CE appointed a delegation to assess displaced people situation in the restive Khogyani district and directed the counter natural disaster administration and the ministry of agriculture, for soon sending a delegation to the district to cooperate with the displaced people.
He said the ministries of defense and interior should do their best to take security of the gas pipeline extension to Jawzjan province and ensuring security of Amu River shore consolidation, as according to him, Turkmen minister of foreign has assured for cooperation in consolidation projects of the river, during his visit to Kabul.
He also instructed the Kabul municipality to consider construction of wells in city design and resort to the reconstruction and asphalting of the city roads to reduce traffic jam, the statement added.
 

Tuesday, 12 December 2017 08:51

NPC Approved 5 Contracts Worth 2.1bln Afghani

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Kabul (BNA) Chaired by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, the National Procurement Commission (NPC) held meeting at the presidential palace on Monday, BNA reported.
The meeting approved 5 contracts worth 2.1 billion Afghanis which include:
-Road construction of Shorabak-Spin Boldak in Kandahar province, related to the ministry of public works.
-Road construction of Shabashak, Dar-e-Souf in Samangan province, related to the ministry of public works.
-Planes insurance services contract, related to Ariana Afghan Airway Company and two others which were related to the ministries of public works and urban development.
Besides, the NPC approved time extensions of a road project of Chah-e-Anjir to Gereshk in Helmand province and supervision project of Sparay-e-Surkhroad road in Jalalabad.
Afterward, President Ghani tasked the ministry of public works to review the ongoing projects’ supervision and advisory services and control the quality, the agency added.
The meeting was attended by Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, head and members of NPC, national and international observers and some other domestic and foreign officials.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Kabul (BNA) Second Vice President Sarwar Danesh who recently left the country to attend ‘Coordinative International Conference’ in India spoke during the conference, his office said in a statement.
Thanking the participants for holding the conference, VP Danesh appreciated all national and international organizations that have done much on human rights, the statement further said.
However, the world has considerably improved in different fields but it is currently fighting some challenges such as poverty, illiteracy, extremism, terrorism, immigrations, wars and political competitions, Danesh said.
He said the human society was in dire need of peace, equality and social justice, the statement continued.
Pointing at the few decades of war in Afghanistan, Danesh said despite many other problems, my countrymen were facing an international terrorism and I thank all of our international partners that are helping us in ensuring peace and stability in the country.

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