The Education Minister, Asadullah Hanif Balkhi, on Wednesday accepted that there is widespread corruption in his ministry but he said both he and his administration are committed to overcoming this scourge.
“The president has assigned two teams – one from the Presidential Palace and the other from the Wolesi Jirga [Lower House of Parliament] – to assess the Education Ministry’s activities since I have assumed this responsibility,” the minister said.
He said the first step will be to ensure those who embezzled money from the Ministry of Education (MoE) will be brought to justice.
He also said that money had been embezzled from a fund established to pay for the construction of 600 schools.
“Money was funneled for the construction of at least 524 schools and none of them have been built. Meanwhile, nearly 110 schools to be built by local councils have not been constructed but funds have been paid over for this purpose,” he said.
Balkhi said there are textbooks that have been printed for schools but students have not received them.
“There was technical staff, budgets and books but students did not get books,” he said.
Meanwhile, Balkhi raised another issue on schools, particularly those in Kabul.
“There are reports that girls take guns to school but teachers cannot stop this. And also we have received reports that girls take drugs to schools but they cannot be stopped. I have ordered the Education Director to put an end to such moves by schoolgirls,” he said.
Meanwhile, head of Social Councils of Schools Zia-ul-Haq Safi said at least 583 million Afs has been collected through the council for the country’s education system and that they have helped reopen 24 schools in some provinces through the fund.
“Nearly 10 percent of the national budget has been allocated for education – 90 percent of which is spent on teachers’ salaries, three percent on overall expenses and the remainder for improving quality of education in the country,” he added.
This comes after a newly assigned technical team to investigate the findings of a fact-finding team on ghost schools presented its report to President Ashraf Ghani on Monday.
The previous team was assigned in August last year by the president to probe ghost teachers, ghost students, ghost schools, embezzlement in contracts of MoE, scholarships, appointment of unprofessional individuals for organizing gatherings, ghost training sessions in provinces and the renting of buildings for schools.