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State schools in Afghanistan

The schools in Afghanistan are incredibly bad. In the section on OFARIN's teachers, I report on high school students who cannot solve the problem "16 - 9 = ?", and that this is even the norm. Colleagues have even met a 12th grade graduate who cannot write his own name.

I have also seen a colleague who worked for us who worked out the problem "65 + 18 = ?" as follows: 65 + 18 = 65 + (20 - 2) = (65 + 20) - 2 = 85 - 2 = 83. He had learned this from his teacher in the country-side. One lady could even divide six-digit numbers by two or three digits in writing. But she came from a better family, where such cultural techniques are passed on within the family. So now and then something flashes up that shows that there were once some good schools in Afghanistan.

But there can only have been a few. Afghanistan only introduced compulsory education in the 1920s and tried to establish a school system that covered the whole country. It was a breathtaking race to cope with the rapidly growing number of children. The state was overwhelmed with the task of providing a sufficient number of school buildings. Qualified teachers could never be produced in sufficient numbers. War and civil war had been raging since 1978. But even in the "democratic period" from 2002 to 2021, the education system made no progress. Foreign countries helped to construct school buildings, organized teacher training courses that had nothing to do with Afghan schools and avoided any intervention in teaching.

Who is now in a position to lead the Afghan school system to better performance? The Taliban leadership is still debating whether schools and education are not aberrations at all. But if the Taliban forces that want to advance their country through better education prevail, no one will know how to do it.

Before the ARTE film about OFARIN was recorded in 2018, we took a closer look at the education system and wrote a detailed report about it. Nothing has changed for the better since then. We are reprinting our report from that time here. So don't be surprised about German soldiers! The report was written before the return of the Taliban. 

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