Enabling young people in rural areas to take Afghanistan’s national university entrance examination
Astonishingly, the village of Zeera Gag did not even have a school building two years ago. Children and teenagers had to study outside in all weathers until Nai Qala built them a school in 2015. Now, not only can they study in decent conditions but they even have the unprecedented opportunity to apply to go to university. As of January 2017, Nai Qala provided a course of supplementary lessons for the older students – both young men and young women – to prepare them for the Kankor (university entrance) examination. When the course was announced, 160 of Zeera Gag’s older students asked to join it.
A ceremony in the village marked the end of the Kankor preparation course. As of early May, 24 students (13 young women and 11 young men) had enrolled to take the Kankor examination. Not all the students on this year’s course will succeed in obtaining a place at a university, but it is hoped that some of them will. Before Nai Qala arrived in Zeera Gag a few years ago, no young people took the examination in any case, so all the students are proud – and their community is proud of them – that they were good enough to complete a course focused on university entrance. This alone gives them an advantage in finding promising occupations in their region.
For those who will attend university, their prospects for employment in their home areas are good. When state agencies or NGOs want to carry out important programs in these areas, it is hard to find a qualified doctor, engineer, agronomist, teacher, vet’ – or other professions – from these regions. Educated young people can strengthen their communities, their provinces, and their country too.