Increasing the number of female teachers in Afghanistan is critical to growing the number of female students, since many families are most comfortable with their daughters attending class with a female teacher. Sahar’s teacher training center strives to provide female teachers for both urban and rural schools to lower the barriers to girls’ education.
The teacher training center program is a two-year course of study including basic teaching principles, plus refreshers in elementary and high school courses. Subjects include: English, history and literature, developmental psychology, discipline psychology, Dari grammar, teaching methodologies, chemistry, zoology, plant science, mathematics, Islamic history, European history, environmental awareness, and geography. Enrollees attend three hours of instruction six days each week. Upon completion of the program, the teachers receive certification, a prerequisite to teaching in Afghan schools.
This center has seen amazing success and become an integral part of advancing education in the region. Sahar funds components of the TTC for a 2 year (4 semesters) training cycle ensuring 100 women will have access to the full certification program. Returning to rural villages with a solid foundation in all major subjects, these female teachers will dramatically improve girls’ chances of attending basic and higher education classes.
Afghanistan’s former Education Minister Farooq Wardak insisted educating girls and women is the path to the future of Afghanistan. At an opening ceremony for a new school he said, “Only when women feel they are the owner of this nation can we build Afghanistan.” In a recent interview with the BBC, educator Dr. Sarah Fayne says the key is winning acceptance, “making sure schools are close to where people live, so girls don’t have to walk far and that they have female teachers”.
An important component of the Teacher Training Center is also the transportation to and from villages for the student. This project also enables 60 girls to travel to the Teacher Training Center for two semesters, six days a week from their rural villages. Upon graduation, the girls return to their rural village home and teach in the village’s school, educating girls and meeting the cultural standards that require girls to be taught by females. This will dramatically improve girls’ opportunities economically, socially and provides an avenue to continue on to higher education. Without female teachers, the doors close to education for girls.