With the start of the new school year the bookstores witness more customers of the textbooks published by the Ministry of Education which are banned to be sold in the market, but an investigation by TOLOnews shows that the textbooks are widely sold and purchased in Joi Sheer area in the center of Kabul, where many bookstores are located.
According to the Ministry of Education’s website, at least 49 million textbooks were published last year to be distributed for students in the new school year.
Statistics by the Ministry of Education show that at least 90 million textbooks are required for schools across Afghanistan.
Lack of professional teachers, adequate textbooks and buildings has been one of the main problems for education over the past years.
TOLOnews reporter interviewed some parents who bought textbooks for their children. They said that they purchased the textbooks as their children did not receive the textbooks from their schools.
They said that free purchase of the textbooks should be banned.
“Every kind of textbooks are available in the bookstores,” Said Shafiqullah, a Kabul resident. “I cannot read but when I visit bookstores I see that all textbooks are available.”
Owners of bookstores refrained to talk on camera about the purchase of the textbooks but said off the record that they have promised their suppliers not to talk to media about them.
“Students need textbooks but when there are not enough textbooks at schools, they have to buy them from bookstores. They save money from their foods’ for buying textbooks,” said Alimdad Alim, a civil society activist.
Nooria Nazhat, a spokesperson for Ministry of Education, said the books in the bookstores have been printed by private schools and that the soft of the textbooks have been provided to the schools by the ministry.
“The soft copies of the textbooks are available on our website and Facebook page. Also, we have sent the soft copies to some private schools so that they can print for their students,” Nazhat said.
The Ministry of Education on Saturday announced the start of the new school year and said that more than one million new students will be enrolled in at least 18,000 schools across the country.
The ministry’s statistics show that at least nine million students are attending schools across Afghanistan.