Afghanistan hands over management of Afghan-Turk schools to Turkey

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KABUL: Ministry of Education (MoE) on Monday handed over the management of Afghan-Turk schools to the Turkish government, defying calls by parents and students to keep the schools under Afghan control.  

Afghan Minister of Education (L) handing over management of Afghan-Turk schools to his Turkish counterpart (R) in Kabul.

“Based on the MoU signed between the Ministry of Education and Turkey, the management of Afghan-Turk Schools has been handed over from Cag Educational Foundation to the Turkish Ministry of Education, the MoE said in a statement yesterday, adding the transition of leadership of the schools was aimed to further promote the quality and quantity of the schools which will be regulated by the education ministries of the two countries. 

According to the MoE, the Turkish government has committed to outline a ten-year plan based on which Turkey will increase the number of schools and will focus on the quality of education and equip them with more facilities. 

In the first phase, Turkey will spend $5 million USD to bring about systematic changes in these schools and this amount will be increased to $20 million USD in the coming years, said the MoE. 

“With the transition, there will be no change in the curricula of the school and more learning programs will be undertaken for students. Entry exams will be conducted across Afghanistan and there will be a 20 percent reduction in fees. Free education will be considered to children of martyrs of the security institutions,” said minister of education Mohammad Ibrahim Shinwari. 

“Based on the agreement, the number of schools will be increased to 28 and ten new technical and vocational schools will be built. The number of students at these schools will be increased to 18,000 in ten years,” added Shinwari. 

Meanwhile, Turkish Education Minister İsmet Yılmaz has said that his country will continue its cooperation with the Afghan education sector and that Turkey will strongly abide by the provision of the agreement signed between the countries on the transition of the Afghan-Turk schools.

Turkey claims that these schools are run by Turkish cleric Muhammed Fethullah Gülen who is currently in exile in the United States. 

Turkey blamed Gülen for orchestrating the failed military takeover in 2016. However, former officials from the Afghan-Turk schools have said the schools had nothing to do with politics and they only provide education to Afghan children. 

On Monday, parents of the Afghan-Turk school association called on the Afghan government to keep the schools and students out of politics.  

“We maintain the right to raise our voice against the illegal decision made by the government, I again call on the president and the government leadership not to oppress our children,” said Mohammad Yusuf Pashtun, head of Afghan-Turk parents’ association. 

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