Category Archives: Education

Our Moral Corruption

Some Internet cafes have been shut down in Kabul by Govt.

I am always amused and impressed by the cartoons of famous Afghan caricaturist Alizada, who is affiliated with the Afghanistan Group of Newspapers–which publishes the English-language daily Outlook Afghanistan and Dari, Daily Afghanistan. He has experience of over 20 years in this field. I am also impressed by his working style. Most of the times I see him working in office for hours, on one caricature. The other day I saw a cartoon of him about the recent crackdown on internet cafes in Kabul. In the above cartoon, the hand with a lock reflects Government and the comment on left side reads ‘Government crackdown for Internet-censorship’.

Sometimes I think our society is a complex amalgam of double-standards, corrupt and highly sensitive culture with the so-called sense of honor. The Government sometimes take steps that apparently seem funny to make us laugh, but actually we should cry on the state of our collective conscience. While talking about the honor (ghairat) and morality, we burst out of pride, but actually we are very corrupt morally. I have seen people doing all corrupt things, but when it comes to honor, and the false pride rather extremism towards faith, they are ready to die. While thinking of the strictly religious society of ours, one should assume our strong faith must make us morally good. But the facts are opposite.

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority has shut down 17 internet cafes in the heart of capital Kabul. These cybercafes are alleged to have allowed access to ‘immoral websites’, or in clear words pornographic and ‘un-Islamic’ web-pages. Pornography has a clear definition–though yet controversial in Afghanistan when I see the blur on a sleeveless lady’s  arm, or shoulders in TV serials–but one does not understand the limit of what can be Islamic and un-Islamic when it comes to reading material and surfing on the internet. According to the law and constitution, ‘un-Islamic’ websites are not allowed. But the Government can shut down anything with an excuse of Islamic/Unislamic.

As a society, it shows the mental problems of people when Mullahs preach about it days and nights, reminding them the horrifying punishments for such sins, but still people defy the laws, their moral conscience and call of faith by surfing hours on pornographic websites. It shows the collective moral corruption of a so-called faithful society. If statistics come out about what percentage of internet users excessively visit the porn websites, it would be an explosion of the honor-balloon of this society.

The Government cannot control it. There are thousands of such pornographic websites and pages. The Telecommunications Authority can only ban some prominent websites known by everyone, but there are thousands of such pages out there. Even the internet cafe owners cannot control the customers through their blocking-softwares. By shutting down the internet cafes, it’s no solution. Internet users in Afghanistan are very few, mostly in capital Kabul. People don’t have access to internet connectivity at homes through broadband or other services widely, thus most go to the net cafes. A crackdown on cafes will cause problems for the little number of people who need surfing for study and other needs, but the graph of pornographic surfing won’t decrease.

With a large number of people, the apparent religious extremism and fundamentalism is just fake. I have seen such people doing all-out sins, but still getting fiery when there is a discussion about infidels and such. It is a collective psychological problem that we related our fake-extremism towards faith with morality. Being one of the most conservative Muslim societies, there should be none of the sins forbidden by our religion. But actually the more we are religiously conservative and extreme, the more there are social crimes and corruption. And our sick mentality is that we are in a continued state of self-denial about it, in our own minds. We don’t admit the facts. We know the moral corruption in our society, but deny them as strongly as it does not exist at all. For instance, homosexuality is considered religiously and morally a sin in our culture. But studies show the facts about homosexuality in the heart of militant extremism Kandahar, and boy-keeping culture in North. Everyone knows about it, but still the practices are common, with a continued self-denial. The problems lie deep into the foundations of our social system, lifestyle, society and cultural sensitivity.

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Teachers’ Day in Afghanistan

Teachers in Afghanistan are paid lowest salary in the world.

Teachers in Afghanistan are paid lowest salary in the world.

Today is Teachers’ Day—3 Saur–in Afghanistan. On this day, schools remain open, and students celebrate with gifts, presentations and programs arranged for their teachers. The plight of Afghanistan’s teacher is untold. It has the lowest salary for its teachers in the world. Only around 6 percent of the budget is being used on education sector. Teachers are financially one of the worst hit people of the society. A teacher’s salary in Afghanistan is about 5000 Afghanis (100 USD). Above this fixed salary, teachers are faced up with another serious problem nowadays. The Government has been failed to give salary to majority teachers across the country for the last couple of months. According to the new system of paying salaries, teachers have to go to national banks for their monthly salary. Most teachers have been unpaid since last five to two months.

The other day i was traveling in public taxi to Bazaar. Two teachers talking in the taxi about the conditions, were saying they are unpaid since last five months. “Now we have to go to banks for our salary, make lines.  First of all many of us did not have a bank account for this. When compelled to open one, now we have to make lines an entire day to wait our turn for the salary. And at the end of the day, we are said, the Government has not transferred your salaries in your accounts,” the teachers were talking with each other.

On the other hand, such a serious issue has never been highlighted in media, neither the concerned quarters and Education Minister has bothered to notice the issue.

Other than the financial troubles, most of the teachers across the far-flung rural parts of the country are untrained and non-professional. Most of them have not completed their school graduation. Its all due to lack of professional teachers. The Government pays little attention in this regard. Professional teachers that complete their graduation from Kabul University in Teaching Profession are reluctant to join the unattractive profession in the country, where they are not paid salaries for months.

Officials of Education Ministry are attending symbolic celebrations today in Kabul. They make some speeches, praising teachers and their role in society. But nobody speaks of the troubles teachers are facing in Afghanistan.

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