India’s role lauded in developing Afghan education

WASHINGTON: Observing that India’s role is “extremely important” in development of education sector in Afghanistan, a top Afghan official today said that Kabul is negotiating with New Delhi to establish an information technology college in the war-torn nation.

Highly appreciative of the hundreds of scholars being provided to students of Afghanistan by India, Afghan Education Minister Farooq Wardak said the Karzai Administration is looking at additional resources to send more Afghan students to India as this is the need of the hour for his country.

Currently visiting the US to hold talks with American officials and the World Bank, Wardak said he would urge USAID and the Education Secretary during his meetings to allocate special funds to provide scholarships to Afghan students to study in Indian educational students.

“That is something in my mind, which I would be discussing with the Education Secretary Arne Duncan and USAID,” Wardak told PTI.

He argued that it would be too expensive to have Afghan students in the US for scholarship.

“Also the fear is that these people would not return to Afghanistan, some of them would wish to settle here in the US. So in order to prevent that worry it is always better to train them in India, it is cost effective, it is good quality, it is easier for us because the language and culture is friendly to the people of Afghanistan and they are not stranger in India,” he argued.

India’s role is extremely important in the development of education sector in Afghanistan, he said. . “We are very thankful to the great Indian nation,” Wardak said, referring to the over USD 2 billion Indian aid to Afghanistan in the development of Afghanistan.

“This is the support that the Afghan nation considers as a very high support. There are about 2,000 students from Afghanistan who are studying in Indian universities and colleges. Another 500 Afghan students would be going very soon to India,” he said.

“Recently I received the first batch of 75 teachers who were sent to Mysore and Delhi for training. Last week I recruited all of them as teacher, school administrator and to the most hard reach areas of Afghanistan. So these are the support which everybody knows, everybody speaks very high of the Indian contribution and to the overall development of Afghanistan, particularly the education sector,” he said.

Observing that India is a country with which Afghans have a lot of similarities and cultural ties, Wardak said expectations are too high from India, the world’s largest democracy.

“They support institution building in Afghanistan. Not only there are a number of Indians, very big number of Indians, they are recruited as advisors, as specialists, as assistants in numerous government institutions, there would be hardly any government institution where there are no Indian experts working in Afghanistan,” he said.

He said the President of Afghanistan from his special account allocates USD 5 million every year towards imparting education to Afghan students in India. This is in addition to the scholarships being provided by the Indian Government.

“Our President has requested the Prime Minister of India to, in addition to the scholarship that the Indian government has provided to Afghanistan, this will be on our pay that more Afghan students would go to India for higher studies,” he added. -PTI

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