Kabul teachers upset about new order to teach ‘unfamiliar’ subjects

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A group of 20 teachers from Kabul’s District 17 criticized “a new trend” by Taliban authorities in their area who are making them teach subjects they are not familiar with.

Some teachers said however that this is not necessarily a new thing as the former government had also in the past made them give lessons in subjects other than what they were trained to teach.

But they say this trend has increased substantially in recent months, especially in Kabul’s District 17 – where there are many schools.

One teacher, Sami Ahmad, said he is a religious studies teacher but he has been told to teach math and English. The same has been done to many of his colleagues, Ahmad said.

He claimed that he faced “harsh reaction” from Taliban authorities when he raised his voice against the matter.

“We went to the relevant education department, which is the eighth district education department, to say the subjects assigned to us were contrary to our expertise, but they reacted harshly and said ‘what we say is obligatory, and we don’t care about your area of expertise. Go and teach’,” Ahmad explained.

Noor Ahmad, another teacher, said he has been ordered to teach English while he is a Persian literature teacher.

“When I step into the class, I feel ashamed because I cannot teach English,” said Noor Ahmad.

Taliban’s deputy spokesman Bilal Karimi and Taliban’s head of media center Inamullah Samangani did not respond to Amu’s queries about the matter.

A source aware of the matter said the issue was raised after Taliban’s appointment of Mohammad Nabi Taheri, as head of the 17th District Education Department, who conducts “arbitrary reshuffles” of teachers in public schools.

The source said on the first day of his appointment, Taheri transferred seven teachers from Azadi High School to Shahrak-e-Pamir Girls’ Primary School in Kotal-e-Khairkhana area in the north of Kabul.

Then he transferred 14 other teachers from a primary school in Deh Kepak area to Wahdat and Rabbani High Schools in Khairkhana area. Getting to these schools was difficult for teachers as they were much further away, he said.

“Such decisions are made without coordination with or informing any teacher,” the source said. “He does not stop there. He assigns teachers contrary to their expertise.”

“Such attempts are done in Tajik-populated areas. These three schools were an example. It is more prevalent in District 17 in northern Kabul,” the source added.

Mohammad Nabi Taheri did not respond to Amu’s message about the allegations against him.