29 June 2017

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Kabul (BNA) Afghanistan (CNN) Seven months after a deadly attack killed 13 people, students at the American University of Afghanistan returned to classes for the first time Tuesday. Classes resumed Tuesday after two days of orientation, Zubaida Akbar, head of media at the university, told CNN.
The attack last August at the university in the Afghan capital began when the first blast occurred at 7:50 p.m. local time when students were gathering and eating together, Basir Mujahid, spokesman for the Kabul police chief, told CNN at the time. The 13 killed included seven American University of Afghanistan reopens after 2016 attack students, three police officers, two security guards and a doorman. Thirty students were injured in the attack, for which no group has claimed responsibility. “We are so happy today... Such deadly attacks cannot prevent us from gaining knowledge. We will continue going to university at any cost,” said Ahmad, a political science student.
“I hope terrorists do not target education centers in the future, as these places are for knowledge, not for doing such attacks,” the student, who declined to be fully named for security reasons. Two gunmen were killed after police entered a building hours after the shooting started, and a third attacker was killed when he detonated an explosives-laden car in front of the university wall, Mujahid said. The gunmen detonated explosives and fired guns, witnesses said, causing some students and faculty to flee. Others hid inside buildings, a senior US State Department official told CNN last August. Despite the name of the school, few Americans study there, a senior State Department official said, though a number of Americans are on the faculty. The school is regarded as a symbol of cooperation between Afghanistan and the United States.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Kabul (BNA) The school bell was officially rung on Thursday in Kabul to announce the launch of the new academic year.
Minister of Education Asadullah Hanif Balkhi, who attended the official ceremony marking the start of the new educational year 1396 at the Amani High School, said education was the key to a country’s development.
“That is why the Ministry of Education has been trying to provide equal and high quality of education to the people of Afghanistan,” the minister added.
He said one million children, 43 percent of them girls, were expected to be enrolled in school this new year. The new entries would take the total number of students across the country to 9.2 million, Balkhi said, however, hundreds of schools have been closed due to insecurity all over the country. The shortage of textbooks for students is another challenge the Education Ministry is struggling with.
Education Ministry officials admit they had been unable to transfer textbooks to 16 provinces last academic year.
The officials say President Ghani had ordered the Defense Ministry to assist the Education Ministry in transferring books to provinces.
The education minister said his ministry, in cooperation with the Public Health Ministry and UNICEF, was planning to provide medicine for Anemia and Folic Acid (iron deficiency) to female students of 5th to 12th grades.
Balkhi said besides progress they faced some challenges as well, including lack of buildings, children’s inaccessibility to schools, lack of educational instruments and female teachers.
Afghan government aims to increase literacy rate in the country from 36 percent to 60 percent over the next three years. The matter was revealed by second Vice-President Sarwar Danish who was speaking during a ceremony to ring bell to inaugurate new academic year.
Citing official statistics, Danish said that 64 percent of people above 15 years of age are not able to read or write, what he called a shocking situation.
Calling illiteracy and ignorance the mother of all problems and miseries in Afghanistan including extremism, Danish blamed Taliban and other insurgent groups for the deprivation.
The official admitted ghost schools, teachers and students in the country as a disgraceful reality. He said that lots money was spent through government budget over the past year without any work on the ground.
Meanwhile, in a video message, First Lady Rula Ghani said ringing the school bell was promising a peaceful environment to students to continue their studies.
She added those beautified with education played leading role in their countries’ development, but unfortunately the Afghan youth remained backward due to the decades-long war in the country. “War and insecurity has damaged our educational basis and that’s why we lack educational capacities in the country”, she said.
She urged the people to join hands for having a high quality educational system that met the needs of Afghan society. “We will never allow the enemy to return our people to the dark days of ignorance.”
“It’s our responsibility to hold the torch of knowledge aloft because education is the only way to rescue a nation”, she said.

Saturday, March 25, 2017
Kabul (BNA) Presided over by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, a session was held Wednesday to discuss quality of higher education in the country.
In the session, minister of higher education Farida Momand first briefed related to achievements and academic activities of the ministry in various sections in particular information technology, coordination of academic affairs, entry test and capacity building during the past one year.
Minister of higher education also enumerated the respective ministry’s achievements in the sessions such as connection of universities to optical fiber, establishment of IT centers, equipment of technology appliances, increasing internet quality and establishment information management system.
In the session, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani said that a very good base has been founded in the country’s higher education sector, adding that high human resources council would be created to make decision related to key issues.
He praised MoHE for a number of its developments and said a clear vision should be created in higher education sector.
The country’s President further said there was no obstacle for connection of government universities to optical fiber during the current year, asserting that further attention should be also paid to students’ hostels.

Monday March 20, 2017

Kabul (BNA) Aziz Khanzada like many other young Afghans has come back to his home in Kabul from Kandahar where he is a second year medicine student of Kandahar University for celebrating the New Year with his love. 
This New Year is different for him and other Afghans; celebrating the New Year with closed Pakistani borders. “I’ve done shopping for myself, my family and for my fiancé,” said Khanzada. “I have not seen any big impact of the closed borders on the Market prices.” He has shopped from Markets which are no longer dependent to Pakistani borders. Afghanistan’s market maintained the stabled prices of goods; specially fuel and foods, which are primary needs of the country, said Spokesman of Afghan Ministry of Commerce and Industries Musafer Qoqandi. “We are freed from one way export and import.” Since February 20, two Pakistan’ borders—Chaman and Torkham—have remained closed. Although it has not had big impact on Markets, fruit and vegetable prices have witnessed change. Potato, for instance, price has jumped up to 200 Afghani from around 130 Afghani per 7 kilo. At the same time, the Market does not need only fruit and vegetable.
The Market is busy with mass residents who need clothes, shoes, and other supplies for celebrating the New Year in new dress and at this scene, price of goods have not changed. Even the high price of fruits and vegetable are temporary, says Qoqandi. Afghans have problem with the high prices of fruits and vegetable only for the next month. “We are going to have grapes and other domestic fruit.” said Sayed Mansoor, Shopkeeper in Kabul’s Fruit and vegetable market. However, Pakistan closed its two borders after the Pakistan’ army accused Afghanistan for not targeting extremist inside the country after a suicide bomber had attacked at a Sufi Shrine in the Southern Sindh province which killed at least 88 people. In response, Afghan National Security Adviser Hanif Atmar rejecting such accusations condemned the attack. “We must find and execute effective strategies to eliminate terrorist sanctuaries wherever they exist.” Atmar said in a statement.
Although Pakistan accompanies Afghans in the New Year with closed borders, the landlocked country has no more worry of using Karachi seaport to export and import. “In the last two years, our transits have been increased in different ways. We have divided our transits goods into different ports.” Back to Khanzada, the alternative open borders with central Asia and Iran have led him to have normal shopping from Markets that are supplied by the open borders. “People have the ordinary pre-the New Year days like previous years.”  Said Khanzada. This New Year is the first ever year that Afghanistan is in state of independency from Pakistan’s borders. Mass residents of Kabul are prepared to celebrate the New Year. Noisy salesmen have good selling time.
Ezzatullah Mehrdad

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