Teacher Stories: Bas - Panjab, Afghanistan
This story was collected as part of Teachers in Crisis Contexts (TiCC) Roundtable to ensure that the voices and experiences of teachers working in crisis and displacement permeate all aspects of the event. For more stories, click here.
Bringing Changes to Girls’ Education in Afghanistan
Name: Bas Gul
Program: Accelerated Learning Programme (ALP)
Location: Panjab, Afghanistan
Bas Gul lives in Pushte Derazqul, in the East of Panjab in Afghanistan. She teaches in an Accelerated Learning Programme (ALP) in the same village. She began her education in Community Based Education classes, implemented by Aga Khan Foundation (Afg) until grade 4 and then continued until grade 9 in a formal secondary school. When there was no high school available in her village, her parents made the decision not to allow her to go to another community to continue her education, much to her disappointment.
The STAGES II programme (Steps Towards Afghan Girls’ Educational Success) conducted surveys for the establishment of ALP classes in Pushte Derazqul. The community, noting her previous successful work in promoting and teaching literacy in the village, nominated Bas Gul and hired her as a teacher for the programme. She has proven to be bright, enthusiastic, a quick learner and has great rapport with her students.
- What do you enjoy most about being a teacher? Being with children and teaching them is very enjoyable for me, especially when students actively participate and raise their ideas through peer groups. The joy and learning that the children experience during science experiments and getting to experience the fun of sports with them are special moments for me.
- What are the biggest challenges you face as a teacher? Due to tradition and custom in the community, most families don’t allow their girls to schools in communities. My biggest concern is that, after finishing ALP classes, my girl students will not have the opportunity to continue their education. Another major challenge I am facing is that sometimes I am not able to respond to questions from the students’ books, because I, myself, have only studied up to grade 9 and my knowledge does not go beyond that level.
- What would you like the rest of the world to know about your life and/or work as a teacher? I am so happy that I am working as a teacher in this, my own community. I have a real opportunity to work hard to bring changes in community beliefs in relation to girls’ education. I hope one day all of the girls of my community have access to high level education.
- What type of support would you need to work better every day as a teacher? I need trainings on subject knowledge and on different kinds of teaching methodologies. Regular mentoring in the class would be very useful. Also, our people would benefit greatly from awareness campaigning on the importance of girls’ education. This would motivate them to send their girls for further education to government schools next year.
- What changes to programs/policies would you like to see? Although I am happy as a teacher in an ALP class I want to see a new programme or policy that would help train me to be a permanent teacher in a government school. For around 4 years now, I have been teaching and have received many trainings and learn many methods. I would also be happy to share my knowledge with other students to learn more from those more experienced.
- What are some of the topics/skills that you wish to learn in a professional development program? I would be very interested to learn about more about different kind of methodologies in reading, mathematics, science, Dari and others subjects.
Written by Basma Mohammadi
The views expressed in this blog are the author's own.