The Afghan education revolution and the role the media play
Teaching experts Mr. Abdul Aziz Azizi, Director of the Balkh Department of Education, and Dr. Gustav Reier, head of the Afghan-German Cooperation programme for promoting the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) system, gave talks on the state of the school and job training system in Afghanistan. Moderated by journalist and presenter Ms. Arian Parwani from Rana News Agency, the media meeting also saw Mr. Zabihullah Eshas, deputy director of the Social Association of Journalists in Northern Afghanistan (SAJNA) talk about the potential for media and education to cooperate on various issues.
Abdul Aziz Azizi opened the round of talks by saying, “Media has great value, and if the media can follow the demands of education, they will do a great service to the country. I assure journalists that there are no obstacles to attaining information from the education sector and, especially, our department.”
Gustav Reier continued by stating, “The education system needs to reach more youngsters.” He introduced findings from research done as part of the programme, explaining, that “According to our findings, over 91% of all illiterate young people have to work, yet they wish to acquire an education. The task the education sector now faces in Afghanistan is how to reach this target group and get across the difference a proper education makes.”
Zabihullah Eshas touched upon the success education has had in Afghanistan and how it is often unreported. He asked, “Why can’t journalists concentrate more on good news? For example, in the education sector, they should fulfil a responsibility to help more people discover what value education can have in their lives.”
The panel of speakers also had the chance to answer questions from over 40 representatives from various national and local TV, radio and newspaper outlets, including the Pajhwok News Agency, Arzoo TV, Ariana News, TOLO TV, Rahe Farda TV & Radio, Reuters, Shamshad TV and Tamadon TV.
Abdul Aziz Azizi was asked about trust and confidence between education department representatives in the districts of Balkh and why certain media requests were left unanswered. He welcomed press inquiries, saying, “My door is always open for journalists. With the help of proper investigative media, we can help together re-move lack of trust and confidence for a better, more active education system in Balkh.”
Journalists also asked Gustav Reier about how the TVET system can address more young people. He responded, by saying, “Usually, personal networks – like family, community and elders – are responsible for sending their young to schools or not. Few know that Afghanistan has a functioning apprenticeship tradition in the bazaars that is a real asset. The press can contribute greatly to unleashing the potential of this system.”
Zabihullah Eshas concluded the lively meeting by saying, “The education sector and its ministry should develop new creative ideas for new creative generations. A good example is the TVET programme by Afghan-German Cooperation, which brings children from the streets to schools and gives them better opportunities. In this context, journalists must develop a sense of responsibility to encourage education.”
Media Meetings 2014 – Afghan Media for Social Responsibility – are a series of regular events held by Afghan-German Development Cooperation with Mediothek Afghanistan. The meetings bring together a panel of experts from the government and public sector, civil society, development cooperation and the media, to discuss important development issues with the press.