Improving Access to Education: Three Girls’ High Schools for 14,000 Students in Takhar

Yesterday, Takhar’s Provincial Education Department (PED) and the Afghan-German Cooperation signed the respective contracts for constructing three girls’ high schools in the province. The schools will provide an adequate learning environment for more than 14,000 students. Construction works are estimated to last for 30 months and include rehabilitating existing buildings and constructing new facilities. The Regional Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) supports the PED in implementing the projects. The Afghan-German Cooperation funds the schools’ construction via KfW Development Bank at a total cost of about AFN 258 million.

Takhar’s governor, Dr Fazlullah Mujaddedi, emphasised: “It is a great pleasure to witness educational improvements in the year of education. The new schools will provide a high-quality learning environment for our children.”

In some locations in Takhar, classes take place outside or under tents, often with inappropriate hygienic conditions. Existing school buildings in the area do not offer an adequate learning environment. Takhar’s PED therefore identified the need for new educational facilities. The province’s Provincial Development Committee and the Afghan Ministry of Education approved the projects in 2014. The facilities will be the largest schools in their respective areas. They will promote women’s learning opportunities, allowing them to access higher education and further training.

The PED’s director, Mr Abdul Sami Abadyar, commented: “The new facilities will improve girls’ access to education significantly. In addition, students will not have to attend classes under tents during hot weather anymore.”

In total, eight buildings will be constructed in Taloqan and Rustaq district. Each building will offer a total of 104 fully equipped classrooms and administrative rooms. The educational period will be extended from six to nine months per year, improving education quality. Currently, schools remain closed for six months a year due to weather conditions.  The extended educational period will enable the reduction of daily shifts at school from three to two. In case of natural disasters, the earthquake resistant buildings will serve as temporary shelter.

During the projects’ implementation, RIDF will offer on-the-job training, coaching and mentoring sessions for engineers and managers working at Takhar’s PED. These activities aim at strengthening the department’s capacities for identifying, managing and implementing similar projects independently in the future.  Construction works will provide job opportunities for many citizens in the area.  

The Regional Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) is being implemented by KfW Development Bank on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The programme aims at improving economic and social infrastructure in Northern Afghanistan while enabling provincial administrations to plan and implement development programmes independently. In the past 7 years the programme has funded and constructed/rehabilitated more than 160 kilometres of roads, 50 kilometres of irrigation canals and 11 protection dams against flooding or erosion in the provinces Balkh, Kunduz, Baghlan, Takhar, Badakhshan. At the same time, the programme has organised about 900 job-specific on-the-job trainings, coaching and seminars for more than 3,000 engineers and governmental employees facilitating the independent realisation of future infrastructure projects. In Samangan, RIDF is currently implementing two school rehabilitation projects.

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