Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, February 25th, 2021

The Voice of Teachers is Voice of Justice and Development

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The Voice of Teachers is Voice of Justice and  Development

In recent days and weeks, Afghanistan has witnessed teacher’s protests throughout the country including Kabul, Herat, Ghor, Faryab, Kapisa and other places. In simultaneity with the arguments between parliament and government over equalization of public servant salaries, they also raised their voices to increase the salaries of teachers insisting on equalization of salaries across the country.
They say that they receive only 7/8 thousands Afghani (nearly 100$) while they have to pay taxes, electivity bills, water bill, cars fare, house rent and so on. Criticizing on government, they say that it has repeatedly promised them to increase the salaries of teachers but never acted upon.
Given to the aforementioned criticism, it seems that the teachers are exceptionally under economic pressures in Afghanistan. Undoubtedly, the country is not in ideal economic conditions and the government has also a lot of limitations, but we should note the education and educators are considered as starting point of changes and modernization in a society.
As long as the situation of education and educators are changed, there will be no fundamental changes in the country. Therefore, education needs to be considered as top priority in any conditions and so we need to have a deeper view at teachers’ challenges.
Since 2008, when sharp changes happened in prices of basic goods in the country, the upward trend of prices has unstoppably continued while no enough monetary changes has happened in the income of fixed salary takers, especially teachers.
The salary of a teacher is still 6000Af or 7000Af while the basic goods’ price increased nearly one hundred percent. For example, one decade ago, the price of one kg liquid gas was around 35Afs in Kabul market but now it is around 55Af more than 50% increase. The price of 50kg flour was about 1000Af but now it is around 1800 Af, nearly a 100% increase. 
The price of 16 kg cooking oil was about 900 but now it is about 1600 Af, nearly a 100% increase. The price of 30 eggs was about 120 Af but now it is around 200 Af nearly 100% increase. On the whole, Afghani currency largely lost its value against dollar and so it affected on everything.
In addition to fiscal and economic pressures on teachers, they suffer from low social position. Whenever, someone could not become engineer, doctor, director and so on they become teachers. Although the people and society respect the position of teachers, it is more ceremonial rather than being effective on practical life of teachers.  Yearly, one day is marked under teacher’s day that is known as world teacher’s day but it is not effective on practical life of teachers. Because of low salaries and low social status, the institution of education cannot absorb the top talents for the position of teachers while they are considered as engineer of human development. Therefore, not only educators but also education has a degrading status in Afghanistan. Every year millions of children remained out of schooling in the country. In recent days, the acting education minister said 3.7 million eligible students dropped out of school last year across the country while high school graduation became obligatory in today’s era and so most countries has reached zero illiteracy rate.
As pointed out, on contrary to our ceremonial and humiliating views towards education and educators, the developed countries pay special attention to teachers in order to accelerate the development process through training of specialized human capital. We should note that the role of teacher in modern educational system is not only imparting merely knowledge to students but also, act as a real architect of new generation, responsible to build personality of modern citizens. In fact, the roles of teachers are not only teaching but also leading and acting as personality builders. The modern teachers also act as a leader, builder, and facilitator and actually as engineer of human development to shape the personality of new citizens.
Therefore, we need to realize the important role of teachers and professors making necessary investment to provide them with facilities, prosperity and social glory in order to do their job properly.
The teachers with 7000Afs (100$) neither have enough energy to do their job energetically nor they have enough motivations to mobilize and inspire the students by being a role model and through various innovative and creative teaching methods. We need to know how to motivate teachers and students and what their expectations from the government and society are. 
In developed countries such as Japan teacher has the highest prestige socially and fiscally. The average salary of teachers is 7500$ but they required to renew their education personnel certificates every 10 years, after undergoing professional courses to ensure their skills and knowledge are up to date.
This is why teaching jobs are very competitive, and only one out of every five to eight applicants will eventually become a teacher. On the other hand, their role is unusually productive; every teacher has to be a researcher besides being teacher. It means, if there are around two million teachers, there are two million researchers, as well.
Lastly, in order to have a modern expectation from teachers we also need to provide them with modern facilities and fight against their hampering challenges. As abovementioned, the first most important challenge of teachers’ community is low salary. The next problem which sometimes heard is corruption which must be taken serious. In fact, the institution of education is a sacred institution and so it must remained free from all forms of corruption and discrimination so as to train and present a sound generation in the country. We must remember that a corrupt teacher can corrupt a generation while a righteous teacher can reform a generation.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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