HERAT CITY (Pajhwok): School students in eastern Herat province are complaining about lack of textbooks and teachers.
They say textbooks are distributed to a small number of students every year and most of them have to buy textbooks from the market.
They say majority of families cannot afford to buy textbooks and have to finish academic year without textbooks.
FarishtahHakimi, an 11th grade student, said she received two books out of a total of 15 subjects this year.
She said she had received only three books last year and this year she have to buy textbooks from the market.
She added unfortunately there was a shortage of textbooks every year and students had buy them in market. “Books are not cheap and most families do not have the money to buy them”.
Mustafa, an eighth-grade student, also complained about the lack of books and teachers, saying every year. He said three to four students were able to get all the books.
Mehdi and Soheila are two students who are worried about the lack of textbooks and teachers, saying that some subjects had no teachers.
They call on the government, especially the Department of Education, to address the shortage of books.
A number of families are also concerned about the lack of textbooks in schools and teachers and say rich families send their children to private schools, but poor families have to face this challenge.
Civil society activists criticize the Ministry of Education for not sending new books to Herat over the past three years.
Sayed Ashraf Sadat, a civil activist, said that the shortage of textbooks is a major challenge in Herat city and districts and that the Ministry of Education was yet to address the issue despite numerous complaints from civil society activists.
According to her, a small number of students were given the textbook which too worn out.
ZakariaRahimi, the provincial director of education, acknowledged the shortage of textbooks for grades four to twelve and the shortage of teachers, but said that in the first week of May this year, five million volumes of books would reach Herat and this problem would be solved.
The director described the shortage of teachers as a serious challenge, adding that Herat now lacked 5,000 teachers.
He said the problem of teacher shortage was being solved through hiring contract-based teachers. He said so far this year the Ministry of Education has not hired such teachers.
He said he had informed the Ministry of Education of this challenge and the ministry had assured the problem would be solved soon.
It is noteworthy that in addition to Herat province, students in other provinces also faced shortage of books and teachers.