President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday said the death of Dr. Sharif Fayez, former higher education minister and founder of American University of Afghanistan (AUAF), is a big loss for Afghanistan’s academic society.
“His activities are admirable and his death is a big loss for the country’s academic society,” Ghani said in a statement.
Fayez passed away on Friday night at the age of 73 due to heart attack.
He was the first higher education minister of Afghanistan following the collapse of the Taliban regime and served as the higher education ministerfrom 2001 to 2007.
“Taking Afghanistan’s higher education out of isolation and making it international, hiring good teachers, preparing good curriculum and making the university entrance exam modernized are all the activities of Dr. Fayez that he had started in the first decade of the 2000s,” said Zahir Wahab, a former advisor to Fayez.
Fayez was known as one of academic figures in the country who founded one of the best higher education institutions in the country – the American University of Afghanistan and served as head of AUAF from 2004 to 2006.
The AUAF President Kenneth Holland said Fayez did a lot to Afghanistan’s higher education sector.
“Dr. Sharif Fayez was the first minister of higher education after the fall of the Taliban regime and he attempted to westernize higher education in Afghanistan. And he had a lot to do with establishment not only of the American University of Afghanistan but also Kabul Education University. And what he tried to do was to bring more western, more scientific approaches to learning and to study. Now that he is gone, there is some danger, especially of the Taliban returned to the government that they will make the University of goes backward,” Holland said.
Meanwhile, a number of AUAF students said Fayez was a good lecturer and that his death is a big loss to the university.
“He was a good teacher and his teaching was very good,” said Jamshid Mohammadi, a student.
“It is a big loss to the AUAF and our country,” said Zakia Rasuli, a student.
Fayez was born in 1946 in Herat province of Afghanistan. He gained his master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Colorado and his Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in American literature.
Fayez has written a few books in Farsi and English.