Modern technology reaches Afghan schools

Nearly 400 students at a school in the eastern province of Nangarhar are learning their lessons with new laptop computers.

The classes for students in grades four to six are now fully computerized with each student owning a laptop which they can take home to continue the lessons.

A joint venture of the Ministry of Education, the American Company One Laptop Per Child, Afghan Small and Medium Enterprise Development (ASMED), the Ministry of Communications and the Roshan telecommunication company is being implemented at the Istiqlal Public High School in Jalalabad city.

One Laptop Per Child has provided the computers worth US$ 100,000 while ASMED is implementing the programme at the Istiqlal and Roshan is providing internet access.

“It is a pilot project set up by the Afghan Ministry of Education, in close collaboration with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Communication and Information Technology,” said Engineer Azizullah Habibi, the General Manager of Information Technology Section of Nangarhar’s Directorate of Communication.

All the subjects taught at school are computerized and are saved in the laptops.

“At the beginning, the students and their six teachers were trained by three trainers how to use computers. Luckily, all of them were trained easily, and everyone can use the computers, and the education process is going on smoothly,” said Mr. Farooq Khan, the principal of the school.

“We are learning with special enthusiasm. We can take the computers home where we can repeat our lessons,” said Ubaidullah, 12, a fifth grade student of the school.

Fayaz, 13, another student of the school is very happy with this initiative: “We learn all the lessons in the computer. This method is more effective than a traditional one. Now, we can easily learn our lessons,” said Fayaz.

“The students learn computers with enthusiasm. I am doing my best to train the students but the main problem we are facing is that there is no specific time for learning computers. I would like to suggest to the Ministry of Education to include computers in the school curriculum,” said Mr Waliullah, a computer trainer.

According to Saleem Hairan, the General Manager of the Information Technology Department of the Ministry of Education, this programme will be implemented throughout Afghanistan and will be funded by One laptop Per Child, at a total cost of US$ 1.3 million.

By Shafiqullah Waak, UNAMA

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