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Thin budget forces MoHE to cancel evening shifts in public universities

Ministry of Higher Education got more budget than last year, says Ministry of Finance

By Akhtar M. Nikzad-KABUL: The Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) has cancelled evening shifts in all public universities this year while presenting “inadequate budget” as an excuse.

Spokesman for MoHE, Mohammad Azim Noorbakhsh, said that this year the Ministry of Finance (MoF) hasn’t provided adequate budget for evening shifts. “Hence, the higher education ministry decided to cancel the entrance tests for evening shifts in public universities of the country.

He claimed that the MoHE asked the Ministry of Finance to provide adequate budget for universities lecturers to continue teaching at evening, but the finance ministry has not processed the required budget.

He added that officials of the ministry discussed the issue several times with MoF to allocate sufficient budget for the evening classes, but failed to receive positive answer.

“Therefore, the high-ranking officials recently decided to cancel the exams of evening shift. If the funds were provided we will take the examination. The dates will be announced through mass media or on our website,” he said.

He said that 18,000 students are attending evening classes in the public universities and annually 10,000 students find way to different faculties in the country. Every student pays Afs200 to 5000 for one semester.

However, spokesman to the finance ministry, Ajmal Hamid, rejected the MoHE’s statement about insufficient budget.

He said that this year the Ministry of Finance allocated Afs600 million extra to the MoHE.

Regarding the difference in the current and last year’s ordinary budgets of the MoHE, he said that last year the ordinary budget of the higher education ministry was Afs4 billion while this year the ordinary budget is Afs4.6 billion.

“Hence, there has been increase of Afs600 million in the budget. There is no increase in structure of the higher education ministry to require such huge budget. They cannot provide a good justification because the finance ministry is giving much than what is required,” he said.

Ahmad Shakib, a 22 years old resident of Kabul City, said that last year he failed in the university entrance test and now he was preparing himself for the test of evening shift.

He said that thousands of young people are waiting to take admission in the evening shifts, but the recent decision of the higher education ministry would waste one precious year of the young people who want to pursue higher studies in the state-owned universities.

He said that those who want to study at evening also pay fee to the MoHE to support the lecturers.

Annually, more than 200,000 students graduate from public and private schools. A great number of these students cannot find way to university through the entrance exam. Therefore, they prefer to study at evening at self-finance basis.

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