Millions Plundered In Name Of Salaries
Residents claim tens of thousands of afghanis, which are released by the education department in the name of teacher salaries, end up in pockets of a few individuals in the Maroof district of southern Kandahar province.
Education department officials say there are a total of 40 schools in Maroof and eight of them have been closed due to insecurity, but residents reject the claim and say not a single school is operational in the town.
Tribal elder in Maroof, Abdullah Afghan, told Pajhwok Afghan News there were no schools in the district, where the education process was fictitious.
He said Maroof district had been divided into two parts — Barakzai Nawa and Alizai Nawa. Barakzai Nawa contains several big villages, but has no school and the Alizai Nawa is home to insurgent groups.
Afghan said in the entire district, schools could be seen open in Wam village only when a delegation from Kabul or the provincial capital paid a visit. “Children are brought together to show a visiting delegation that schools are operational in the town,” the elder claimed.
He alleged some district council members were playing with the future of children by keeping the schools closed and receiving huge funds in their name. “They distribute the money among themselves but no one can speak against the ruling class,” said Afghan, who rejected if residents had no interest in sending their children to school.
“Hundreds of families have sent their children to Kandahar City, Kabul, Jalalabad and even to Pakistan to get education. Residents don’t care about expenses on education of their children.”
Afghan names a few big villages having three to five mosques, but no school.
“Barakhel, Nikola, Garang, Murid, Loghai, Haji Abdul Rahman Ghar Shin village, Taba, Ali Jargha, Sewi, Poti, Ishaqzoy Loye Kali, Loye Chanigar, Kochnai Chanigar, Lora Wolgai, Khakata Wolgai, Haji Abdul Razzaq Shela and several other villages, where hundreds of families live without schools for their children,” the tribal elder said.
Another resident Abdul Wahab Barakzai said funds released in the name of education in Maroof ended up in pockets of a few individuals.
“The ruling group not only steals money meant for education and training to children but they also distribute among themselves funds from the National Solidarity Programme,” he claimed.
The resident accused the district council, some provincial education department officials and the district education officer Haji Mohammad Shafique of corruption in connivance with a number of powerful individuals.
These individuals pocketed huge money each month released in the name of non-existing teachers, the resident said.
Barakzai urged the Education Ministry to prevent these powerful individuals from doing business on the future of children and pay head to the education process in Maroof.
A resource in the Kandahar education department said 2.3 million afghanis were monthly drawn in the name of 636 teachers and 112 other staff in 34 schools in Maroof.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source said funds released for construction of school buildings, a religious seminary and a hostel also ended up in pockets of a handful of individuals.
But district education officer Shafique rejected the claims as false allegations. He said the Education Ministry had set up 40 schools in Maroof, one high, six middle and the rest primary. Only eight of the schools remained closed due to insecurity, he said.
Shafique, who took charge as district education officer two years ago, said there had been corruption before him and he was able to combat the menace and keep nearly 26 schools operational.
He complained teachers were often not paid their salaries for months, resulting in closure of schools.
Deputy provincial education director Ewaz Nazari said he had not visited the district himself but a delegation that recently toured the town to assess the education process in its report had said 32 schools were open there.
Acting spokesman for the provincial governor, Dawa Khan Minapal, told Pajhwok Afghan News they had received reports about lack of schools in Maroof.
“The district administrative and education officials have always told meetings at the governor’s house that schools are operational in Maroof, but residents there say something else.”
Minapal said a delegation headed by the provincial appellate attorney with representatives from the governor’s house and the education department had been tasked with investigating the problem in Maroof