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A New Push Is on for Afghan Schools, but the Numbers Are Grim

01 Apr 2018 The New York Times

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Students taking a test in Kunduz Province. Almost half of Afghan schools are still in the open air or borrow space in homes.

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Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times

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KABUL, Afghanistan — Before the start of another Afghan school year, about 200 tribal elders in the southeastern district of Laja Mangal gathered in a schoolyard for an important declaration: Any family that did not send its children to school would be fined $70, about half a civil servant’s monthly salary.The district of about 50,000 people had built seven schools over the past 15 years, yet it had struggled to attract students from the mountainous area where the Taliban also have influence. The elders, feeling old tribal customs were holding back their children, thought the drastic measure was necessary.“They see those people who go to school and become important people in the government and international organizations, so they have tasted the value of education,” said Khayesta Khan Ahadi, who was the headmaster of the first school built in the district.Mr. Ahadi said local Taliban, after outreach by the tribal elders, announced their support for the decision from the loudspeakers of local mosques.

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The tribal elders’ decision has gained attention across Afghanistan not just because it could help more children get an education, but also because it comes at a time when many remain deprived. Violence and corruption have overshadowed what was once a remarkable success story. Continue reading the main story

Original Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/01/world/asia/afghanistan-schools-taliban.html

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