For the first time in a generation, thousands of young people across Panjshir are learning the tools that will enable them to join the workforce in the global village. Three-thousand students, including 900 girls, study English, computer skills, math, physics, chemistry and biology at educational centers in the Shutul, Rukha, Hesa Awal, Dara, Anaba, and Paryan districts.
The centers are seen as a remarkable initiative by the office of the provincial governor in concert with USAID. When the results of a survey indicated that young people desperately wanted to learn more, learn better and learn new skills, the governor’s office decided to use some of the pot of cash that USAID provides as the Performance Based Governance Fund to establish educational centres.
In a province with a literacy rate of just 30 per cent, the centers are being hailed as a catalyst for change. Fawzia, who teaches math at the centers, says that they are a revolution of sorts, especially for women. “All youth in Panjshir have difficulty accessing education facilities, but especially female youth,” she says. But the governor’s office got around that problem by hiring female teachers, she says, “so that families will allow their girls come to school and now we have a growing number of female students who are the first women in their families to receive an education.”
Romal, who teaches chemistry, adds that “without education, it is impossible to develop a society” and the centers are the “building blocks for the future development of the province.”
The centers also exemplify the extent to which community groups are joining with the provincial government to build a better future. Local community groups provide the venue and the governor’s office supplies a vehicle to transport the centers’ 14 teachers. The teachers’ salaries are paid from the The primary costs of the educational centers are the teachers’ salaries, which are paid with USAID funding.
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