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Afghanistan to ask for $2bn for education, health, women's affairs

Abdul Qadir Siddiqi - Jul 8, 2010

KABUL (PAN): The Afghan government plans to propose health, education and social projects worth $2 billion at the Kabul Conference on July 20, officials said.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Education, Gul Agha Ahmadi Wardak, said the ministry had prepared a programme entitled Education for All which would cost around $1 billion.

Under the project, the number of children attending school would increase by two million while education facilities would be provided to another 500,000 children, particularly girls, in the rural areas of the country.

Some 600,000 boys and girls would be admitted to secondary schools, while another 100,000 girls and boys would receive modern Islamic education.

Media Bulletin – Hottest News and Political Issue The project would also increase the salaries of 1,200 female teachers, erect new buildings for 4,800 schools and set up 3,000 new schools in areas where there are none, he said.

Another 22,000 students with low education would be enrolled on the quick education programme which would fast-track them through classes 9 to 12.

About 1,000 teachers would receive scholarships to gain a masters degree, while 10,000 more, who had already completed a two-year teacher training course, would be financially supported to gain a bachelor's degree.

The Ministry of Health's plans include training 2,000 nurses over three years, with 80 per cent of them women, said head of the finance branch of the ministry's plan and policy department, Dr. Ahmad Shah Salihi.

He said more training centres would be established at the district level and the capacity of existing centres enhanced. He said the ministry was also planning to increase health services across the country, although did not elaborate.

The ministries of health and education were also planning to team up to bring health education to schools, he said. This would enable between eight to 10 million students to get basic information about health each year. The ministry's plans would cost about $140 million, he said.

Muhammad Osman Babari, an official at the Ministry of Higher Education, said they would present plans worth $244 million to the conference. He said the ministry had divided its programmes in to two sections; increasing opportunities for higher education and increasing the level at universities to master and doctorate degrees.

He said government universities would be encouraged to compete with each other in terms of their standards of education and degrees that they offered. New hostels would be constructed and university buildings repaired or extended. He said new buildings would be constructed on the university campuses in Kabul, Herat, Kandahar, Nangarhar and Balkh.

He said dormitories would be built for female students in Herat, Takhar, Kunduz, Nangarhar, Balkh, Bamyan and Faryab provinces.

A spokesman for the Works and Social Affairs Ministry, Gul Muhammad Mukhtari, said the ministry would present $223 million worth of projects during the conference. He said the amount would be spent on centres to help people get jobs, and to help 300,000 people retrain over the next three years.

Fauzia Habibi, at the Ministry of Women's Affairs, said the ministry's proposals totaled about $10 million. She said their plans focused on the welfare and development of women. The ministry hoped to enhance the capacity of 2,000 women working on gender issues in the coming three years. She said the ministry would extend its offices to all provinces and cities to monitor gender-related issues and to help solve problems faced by women.


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