Universities lack lecturers after mounting brain drain

Students at Kabul University. Sept. 2022.

Afghanistan’s main public universities are faced with lack of lecturers as brain drain has been extremely high since August 2021 after the fall of the previous government, affecting the morale of students at academic centers countrywide.

Most of lecturers who have left the country over the past year have migrated to the countries where they had completed their post-higher education degrees.

Students who spoke to Amu provided many instances that show almost all faculties are faced with a significant reduction in the number of lecturers.

Only one lecturer has remained at the department of photography of the Faculty of Journalism while others have either left their jobs or have left the country, said Zahra Manigar, a third-year student at Faculty of Journalism, Kabul University.

“The classes have reduced to two hours from five hours a day,” said Mandigar. “Sometimes, there is no class at all.”

She also mentioned that female students are not allowed to enter the university unless they have black dress, covering all their body.

Enayatullah, a fourth-year student from the Polytechnic University in Kabul which is one of the biggest universities in the country, said lack of lecturers was severe in the first months after major political changes in Afghanistan, but the situation has changed a bit recently.

He said many students have lost their morale, something that has affected the lessons overall.

A lecturer from the Faculty of Economy at Kabul University who wished not to be named over concerns for his safety, said one lecturer has remained in many departments that had at least four to eight lecturers previously.

One reason, as lecturers explained, is a 50% reduction in their payments. Moreover, two lecturers said, female professors are not allowed to give lecture to male students’ classes.

“The teachers will return to the country if they are provided a suitable environment, safety and financial support,” said Sayed Massoud, a former lecturer at Economy Faculty of Kabul University who also left the country after the fall of Kabul last August.

Taliban rejected the lack of lecturers at public universities, saying the issue has been removed.

The lecturers who are abroad have been contacted and many of them have returned to the country, said Ahmad Taqi, a Taliban spokesman for the Ministry of Higher Education.

Unconfirmed figures from sources show that at least 200 lecturers from Kabul, Herat and Balkh universities have left the country over the past year.