Largest Girls High Schools Inaugurated in Taloqan, Benefiting 11,000 Students

Yesterday, provincial officials and representatives from the Afghan-German Cooperation inaugurated new school buildings in Takhar Province. More than 11,000 students will benefit from the new school buildings and renovated facilities. Around 200 people including students, parents, teachers, elders and civil society activists attended the celebration in Takhar. The Provincial Education Department (PED) implemented the projects with the technical support of the Afghan-German Cooperation’s Regional Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF). The projects are funded at a total of about AFN 167 million.

The provincial governor of Takhar, Mr Abdullah Qarluq, stated ‘The inauguration and opening of these two schools are exemplary for Takhar Province. I ask the Department of Education to take good care of the operation & maintenance. These newly constructed schools have the highest standards in the province of Takhar. The quality of education will improve a lot.”

Number Awal and Bibi Maryam Girls’ High Schools are the two largest girls’ high schools in Taloqan City. They are also among the oldest schools in the city, established between 30 and 40 years ago. The existing buildings of both schools were in poor condition and not resistant against earthquakes. Nearly 90 per cent of classes took place under tents or in open air. Classes often remained closed during rainy seasons and the sanitary facilities were inadequate.                              

The director of Takhar’s Department of Education emphasised, ‘The students at these two schools will study with increased motivation and their level of knowledge will improve a lot – because of the better conditions that lead to better education’

The newly constructed facilities of both high schools include five two-storey buildings with 65 fully equipped and furnished classrooms and 15 administrative rooms. The new buildings are built to withstand all weather conditions and are earthquake resistant. Further, two old buildings were renovated, providing 16 additional quality classrooms.

Construction works also included new pavements, connections to the city power network and water supply network, water reservoirs with washing facilities, rainwater drainage channels, and improved washroom facilities. A guard house, two kindergarten buildings with a playground for staff children, new boundary wall sections, and sports fields were also included in the construction work. The entire complex can serve as a temporary safe shelter for displaced people in natural disasters.

During the 34 months of implementation, an average of six local unskilled labourers benefited from daily employment. At the same time, RIDF offered on-the-job training, coaching and workshops for engineers and managers working at Takhar’s PED. The aim is to strengthen the department’s abilities to plan and implement similar projects independently in future. The PED will ensure the operations and maintenance of the newly built schools.

KfW Development Bank implements the programme Regional Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). RIDF aims to improve the living conditions in northern Afghanistan. It provides basic infrastructure and empowers administration and citizen groups to plan, implement and operate infrastructure projects. Infrastructure measures include constructing roads, irrigation canals, flood protection walls, and schools as well as developing the power grid. Since 2010 the programme has funded, constructed and rehabilitated more than 116 km of roads, 98 km of irrigation canals and 15 flood protection dams. Furthermore, the programme has constructed 16 school buildings and connected 5,750 households to the power grid. So far, RIDF has trained more than 6,800 government employees and contractors in an aim to train provincial governmental personnel. This will enable Afghan institutions to implement projects like these independently in the future.