Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, August 17th, 2019

Corruption in Education must not be Tolerated

It is now a widely accepted fact that Afghanistan cannot survive without pursuit of modern education. A brighter and better future can only be guaranteed if Afghan children both male and female have easy access to educational institutions. Particularly, primary and secondary education is vital for the efforts to make education lead our way towards educated society. However, even after knowing the fact, the government has not been able to play any considerable role in this regard. Though, there have been efforts since the downfall of Taliban, serious issues still prevail in the sector and hinder the way for better education opportunities for Afghan children. One of the most dominating hindrances in this regard is the prevailing corruption in the sector. Previous government, though exaggerated much its performance regarding developments in education of children, was not able to achieve something worthwhile. And now there are pieces of news that suggest that many of the claims made by previous government regarding education were false.
Minister of Education, Assadullah Hanif Balkhi, said on Sunday, December 18, that as per a recent study only six million Afghan children are at school, which is contrary to the 11 million figure which was given by the former government. According to statement by Balkhi, currently up to six million children are attending 17,000 schools across the country. A total of nine million children are registered but 24 percent of them do not attend school. “Our statistics are authentic. Eleven million were not enrolled – not even on the database of the previous government. The media was given the wrong statistics,” Balkhi said in his statement.
Meanwhile, Sediq Patman, a former deputy minister of education said that the leadership of the education ministry exaggerated the statistics about the number of active students, possibly for certain reasons including corruption and misuse of resources. According to Patman’s statement, many schools in eleven insecure provinces were closed down in the year 2007.
This is really tragic and shows the level of irresponsibility and corruption that has penetrated within our society. If the country is not able to make developments and achievements even after so much assistance and support from international organizations and international community, it is because the authorities in Afghanistan have been corrupt and have had no serious commitment and preference for education. Corruption and misstatement in education sector shows the worst form of ethical degradation and must not go unchecked.
Emphasizing on the same, Integrity Watch Afghanistan (IWA) has called for the prosecution of officials in the previous government who released fabricated statistics. Sayed Ekram Afzali, Chairman of IWA said in a statement, “On one hand it indicates that there might have been corruption in the ministry of education. Huge amounts of money could have been embezzled through ghost schools and ghost students. On the other hand, they (education ministry officials) gave false information to the international community and portrayed the education sector as one of the more successful projects. The international community also never focused on the topic.”
True justice is needed instantly in this regard. Making those accountable who provided wrong statistics, would pave the way for better developments regarding education, however that is unlikely to come. A society that does not feel guilty about the children who die of hunger, poverty and lack of rudimentary requirements, would never prioritize education for its children. And, a society, where the government authorities lie about the most important sector that will define the future of the country, is really heartbreaking. 
Afghanistan is one of the countries that are highly influenced by such people who aim to block all the ways to improvement and modernization. Blinded by religious extremism and outdated tribal values, they are always ready to oppose any sort of efforts that are devoted to spread education to the people of Afghanistan, as they know that the modern education that has been spread in the country to a certain level may encourage evolution and modern changes.
In particular, they are against the modern education for the females. The destiny-makers of this society know that if the girls are given modern education, they may question about their roles in rights. They may question the prejudiced rules and regulations. They may challenge the religious dogmas and in due course challenge the Mullahs and the illiterate tribal leaders. They may change the scenario and that is what the makers of the society do not want them to do. They want them to be passive and compliant, as in such state they would be easier to tackle and ruled over.
It is important that the responsible institutions and authorities realize the worth and importance of modern education and must encourage it as much as possible. Modern education is essential for Afghan society if it has to invite positive changes. Education, as a matter of fact, makes positive evolution of the society possible and embraces the new ideas and processes with open arms. The nations of the world that have given value to modern education, made it universal and have made efforts to develop their education systems on the basis of modern and scientific systems have been able to earn astonishing growth and reputation. Simultaneously they have assimilated innumerable amenities of life for their people and have made them capable of living their lives with poise and decency.