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No schools to be used as polling stations: MoE

AT News Report

KABUL: The Ministry of Education (MoE), said Tuesday that using of schools as polling stations in the September Presidential elections would throw schools to the firing line and would inflict financial damages to the educational system, thus no polling station inside them.

“We have submitted a plan to the presidential palace and the Independent Election Commission [IEC] to find alternatives for polling stations that previouslywere schools,” said NoriaNazhat, spokesperson for MoE.

“Education system should not be used for political purposes and we expect theIEC in collaboration with other government institutions to find alternatives, probably use mosques as polling stations.”

Schools across the conflict-plagued country fear deadly attacks from the insurgents, as the country look ahead to hold presidential vote in September this year. 

“Concrete steps are required across all government ministries to enshrine the safety and civilian nature of schools and to take steps to reduce attacks by avoiding military and political use of school buildings,” said Norwegian Refugee Council in a statement.

In October 2018, the IEC used schools across the country as polling stations and hired 23 thousand teachers as temporary employees. MoE claims that IEC has not paid the salary of the teachers.

MoE added that the parliamentary election in October 2018 inflicted30 million Afghani damage to the educational system of the country. The damage crippled educational system in many areas.

But the IEC continued using schools for its purpose and recently opened up voter registration centers in the rural area’s schools. Acting spokesperson for the IEC Zabihullah Sadat said the IEC and MoE had agreed over using schools as polling stations in the upcoming election.

Education advocates voiced their concern over using schools as polling stations. The Taliban insurgents in a statement warned educational staffs, teachers and school principals in cities and rural areas of the country to halt the use of their schools as polling stations. Taliban also warned students and teachers to not work as election workers during the forthcoming election.

In 2018, 192 attacks on schools and teachers were recorded, a triple of attacks on educational systems in the turbulent country, according to Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack. During the last five years, Afghanistan was one of the nine countries, a country that went through more than 500 attacks on schools.

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