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Striving for education and reopening schools

By Syed Khan Sulemankhil

PAKTIKA: If the situation worsens in any part of the country, the first victim will be the children who are deprived from going to school and the people would be forced to leave the area, adding to the IDPs, and definitely will weaken the local economy. In those areas where insecurity has caused the closure of seven schools, outing hundreds of students of school – the teachers would be reluctant to go to school.

At a time when students were going to school all over the country, the schools in the Yahya Khel district of Paktika province remained closed and the building of the Yahya Khel District Education Department collapsed and there was no one to open the door of the Education Department. 

However, Ali Mohammad Saadat, a young man who was a teacher at Central High School in the area, came out to the fore and held a briefing with the elders of the area to provide education facilities in a bid to save the next generation from the darkness. He decided to open the door of Yahya Khel Education Department, making ways easy for the children of the area to go to school.

Ali Mohammad Saadat is a resident of Manjan village in Yahya Khel district of Paktika province, where he serves as the director of the education department.

Ali Mohammad Saadat said: “It was a difficult decision in my life and my family really did not show any interest in reopening the closed schools. But the immense cooperation of the local elders in support of me in difficult situations was a great move for the next generation – risking lives and opening more schools in fewer days is not an easy task.”

Mr. Saadat finally inaugurated the Education Department despite it being turned to rubble. For the first time he succeeded in opening several schools and called on the teachers to attend classes and encourage the students to come forward in pursuit of knowledge.

Mr. Saadat continued: “I have worked days and nights while the building was nothing but debris. During the rain, water was flowing to my desk but I kept working because most of the schools did not have buildings and I was scrambling to get them buildings.  At the moment, only the two schools don’t have buildings.”

“If we remain still and don’t work hard, the next generation would trigger into the darkness and would be more prone to war which has no end in sights.”

“My core dream was to provide ground for girl’s education, but the social taboos and the negative mindset among the family members of the residents, have not let their daughters to school. However, now people have started trusting and sending their daughters to school, in total 2,000 girls are now enrolled in the schools,” said Saadat, adding 9,000 boys are currently attending classrooms.

Over the years, 27 schools have reopened in Yahya Khel and four high schools have been filled with hundreds of students. Construction and reconstruction of some schools have been approved, and besides schools, religious schools also opened in the area, he added.

Ali Mohammad Saadat has been engaged in the education sector for eight years and encourages the youths to play sports beside education.

Ali Mohammad Saadat has one important aspiration which is peace between the Afghan government and the Taliban and provides a safe environment for the students to go to schools like other children in other countries.

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