New statistics by Education Directorate of Helmand show that at least 600,000 children are deprived of education in the southern province.
Helmand has 417 schools, of which 143 have no buildings while 123 others have remained closed due to some reasons including insecurity, the statistics show.
Helmand Education Director Daud Shah Safari said insecurity is the main challenge, adding that other problems including ‘negligence’ and inattention by former government officials, corruption, lack of development projects are other hurdles which have affected education in the province.
“At least 123 schools have remained closed due to lack of facilities and some other problems. Unfortunately, up to 600,000 students are deprived of education,” Safari said.
Senior officials from Helmand, who gathered at a ceremony in Lashkargah City on Thursday, said they are working on a ‘special mechanism’ to provide the ground for reopening schools and helping more children to go to schools.
They vowed to collect money to fund education of children and youngsters in Helmand.
“It not only is the duty of the Helmand education directorate, the governor and government forces, but it is the responsibility of all Helmand residents to pay attention to education and keep the doors of schools open for their children,” said Attaullah Afghan, head of Helmand Provincial Council.
“We have turned our back to education and we have gone towards drugs. This society, this country and this province cannot improve in absence of education,” said Mohammad Khan Kharoti, a tribal elder in Helmand.
At the same event, Helmed governor Mohammad Yasin said the people particularly religious scholars play an important role to help in reopening schools in the province.
“We all including leaders have not fulfilled our responsibility for education as required. The improvement of the sons of this soil is dependent on education.
Our brothers and elders should take this issue serious,” the governor said.
The Helmand students are on their summer recess right now. Officials said they will reopen some schools in the near future.
This comes after President Ashraf Ghani said in March that 50 percent of schools in Afghanistan are without buildings, 3.5 million children are deprived of education and at least 1,000 schools have remained closed across the country.
He said 6,000 school buildings will be built within the next two years. He added that $200 million has been allocated for this plan.