Numbers do not tell the full story. The concept that curriculum should bedesigned so as to enable students to function fully in their own worlds wasnever understood. For the majority of village children the knowledge they gainedat school had scant relevance to their lives and provided little of benefit tocompensate for time spent in school. For boys, meaningful learning experiencestook place in the fields with their fathers; for girls, at home with mothers,aunts and grandmothers. Rural Afghans for the most part consequently viewedformal education with profound indifference before the war. In addition, sincethere were are no reading materials to sustain interest, a large percentage ofthose who dropped out of the system lapsed quickly into illiteracy. Eveninstruction in reading and writing was weak, causing a disturbing lack oflanguage skills among those pursuing higher studies.
With the advent of invasion and war, many residing in communities outside thecontrol of the Kabul government or in refugees settlements came to view seculareducation as an alien Western imposition contradicting Islamic values; the roadalong which communism was brought to Afghanistan; an instrument ofSovietization. This attitude mellowed over the years as many refugees observedthe benefits of education, but the curricula developed for refugee children washighly politicized and filled with war messages. Attempts by NGOs to includesubjects pertaining to practical life skills, basic health, simple agriculture,environment and cultural awareness were met with indifference by theauthorities. The war messages have been discarded but little else has changed.There is still no agreement on curricula despite two years of concerted effortsby the NGOs to arrive at a consensus with local authorities. As a result,several systems are employed.
|Country Studies main page | Afghanistan Country Studies main page|