Celebrating the successful completion of the Construction of Education Facilities in Kabul City
KABUL, 07 May 2013 – A ceremony to mark the successful completion of the Construction of Education Facilities in Kabul City was held in Kabul today. With His Excellency Ambassador Hiroshi Takahashi in attendance,UNICEF representative Peter Crowley officially handed over to His Excellency the Minister of Education, FarooqWardak,a list of 51 schools that have been constructed in Kabul since 2009.
The project which was an initiative proposed by the Government of Japan and implemented by the Ministry of Education and UNICEF with generous funding of USD 24,165,810 from the Japanese government has benefitted nearly 300,000 students of which 51percent are girls. The students now have access to safe, healthy and hygienic learning environments. In addition,3,000 teachers have been trained in child-centered, participatory teaching and learning techniques that help improve quality of education.
The project, which took four years to complete, has achieved the following;
• 51 fully equipped schools have been constructed in Kabul city between 2009 and 2012 with a total number of 1,088 classrooms and 384 staff offices.
• A total of 298,642 students (51 % girls) and their teachers now benefit from access to a better teaching and learning environment which is safe, secure and equipped for improved learning.
• All schools received a ‘child friendly’ package that includes separate toilets for boys and girls, drinking water points, playgrounds, boundary walls with guard rooms, green areas, concrete pathways and 40 sets of student furniture per classroom.
• 3,006 teachers attended Teacher Training Workshops on the child friendly schools approach and were trained in child centred teaching and learning methodologies.
The project aimed to address the severe scarcity of teaching and learning spaces for Kabul’s rapidly-growing population and had a particular focus on increasing educational opportunities for girls. This project was implemented in accordance with UNICEF’s child friendly schools approach, which aims to improve the quality of learning inside the classroom, as well as the physical facilities, so that children can study in an environment that helps them to realise their full potential.
UNICEF has found that providing a protective and sanitary environment, including boundary walls, water points, as well as separate latrines for boys and girls, can significantly improve girls enrolment and retention, and that children enrolled in such schools serve as particularly effective advocates for improved hygiene and sanitation in their own homes and communities. “I believe we have shown that if targeted and managed well, development assistance can produce outstanding results for the people of Afghanistan. The Ministry of Education has, with the collaboration of UNICEF, been able to provide very visible and tangible benefits for tens of thousands of students, especially girls” said Peter Crowley while speaking at the conclusion ceremony. His Excellency Minister FarooqWardak agreed,“Education is more important than ever; not only for its role as a principal force for nation-building, but also for its impact on regional and global stability, growth and prosperity. The Development of Education in Afghanistan is the most successful legacy of the world community’s partnership of the last ten years. Partnerships are of central importance to the development practice in the 21st Century.”
The Project has not only met, but exceeded original expectations. The generous funding by the Government of Japan has allowed more than the projected number of schools to be built, more toilets, more staff trained and more children served. The deficit of girls compared to boys has been evenedout and the quality of education has encouraged better attendance. His Excellency Ambassador Hiroshi Takahashi expressed his happiness with the outcome, “Development of human capital is one of the largest pillars of our assistance towards Afghanistan, as education is a motor for development and social inclusion. Since the commencement in 2009, we have closely cooperated with UNICEF and the Ministry of Education for this project. On behalf of Japanese government, I appreciate to realize the successful completion and the enhanced partnership among us.”
This project also involved local Shuras and local communities who were involved from the construction stage onwardsand have been trained in child friendly principles. This has ensured community based partnership and ownership of the project.
The capacity of the Ministry of Education has also been improved through the support provided by UNICEF to enable its technical staff to provide the necessary oversight and management of the project. A special mention goes to the 39 contractors who ensured top quality construction of the schools. The whole project has been an outstanding success for the Ministry, partners in the project, the government of Japan and most importantly, for the children of Kabul.
Inspired by the successful completion of the project and its impact on children, the Government of Japan is now funding the construction of 70 new schools in the three central highland provinces of Bamiyan, Daikundi andGhor. The Ministry of Education through the Provincial Education Directorates and with support from UNICEF has already started construction of these schools and the project is scheduled for completion by 31 Dec 2014.