Miranshah Loodin, Resource Center Assistant, Nangarhar
Due to lack of sufficient funds and poor management, many of the public schools in Nangarhar province continue to experience shortage of textbooks. Schools in the province struggle to supply students with school textbooks needed to improve literacy.
Recognizing this issue, Shugufa, an integrity volunteer, decided to help students facing lack of textbooks problem in her community. The book collection campaign she started to help the community was heard out by her friends who donated books to this cause. Also, the initiative was welcomed by the principal of the local school and assured her of any cooperation that would help improve the quality of education. She has collected and distributed more than forty different sets of textbooks in the last three months.
“There are things we can do, that need efforts and proper management but, not money necessarily,” Shigufa said. According to her, integrity volunteers can, through their monitoring, improve implementation of curriculum, minimize teacher and student absenteeism, and provide clean drinking water to student through community support. “There are piles of notebooks, boards, chalks and other necessary materials in stocks but it is not being distributed due to lack of planning,” she added. Important of all “lack of accountability in many schools” has contributed to low performance. These issues can be resolved through volunteer monitoring, she believes.
Shigofa along with fifteen other local monitors received a four-day training from Integrity Watch on monitoring schools to help fix problems and contribute to improving quality education in her community. The problems identified are discussed at School Management Shura meetings to find solutions.
Community-based Monitoring of Schools (CBM-S) is a program by Integrity Watch Afghanistan. It was started in July 2014. Currently, the program is operational in nine provinces across Afghanistan, including Balkh, Kapisa, Parwan, Kabul, Nangarhar, Bamiyan, Kunduz and Paktia.
Integrity Watch trains local residents like Shigofa to encourage local communities to engage in monitoring of the education services through community monitoring, collaborative information sharing and problem-solving.
The program has been designed to bring more coordination between local Education departments and communities, increase transparency and enhance the quality of education.