20 Dec 2007

PR# 2007-738

Center for Excellence under
construction in rural Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan - A $1.2 million Center for Excellence is currently under construction on the southwest edge of the village of Nan Gab in Farah Province.

The complex will include 10 buildings, including two dorm rooms, one hallway meeting room, a dining room, 10 classrooms, a vocational building with a sewing training area, a carpentry area and a metal training area. There will also be a communications/library room, a laboratory, a principal’s office, a parking area, a large separate latrine, and a security wall.

The dormitories will house 250 students on site but the Center will have the capacity to teach three times that many students. The mosque will be as big as the grand mosque in Farah City.

The project is being funded by the U.S. Commander’s Emergency Relief Funds.

“This is a well thought out, well executed contract that should yield something that will be very productive for the community,” said Lt. John Genta, an engineer for ISAF’s Farah PRT. The contract includes not only the Center of Excellence buildings, but all furnishings. Each dorm room will be outfitted with two beds, a set of dresser drawers, a cabinet space, a desk, lights, and a small balcony area. The classrooms will have desks, chairs and blackboards. There will be books and computers, sewing machines, carpentry tools, electricity and running water.

Until now, Farah Province has had no institutions of higher learning. The three operational Centers of Excellence in Kabul cannot accommodate additional students, forcing many to seek a higher education in Pakistan. Students often fail to return to Afghanistan after graduation, sparking a brain drain that benefits foreign countries instead of their homeland. The curriculum taught in the Pakistan Center of Excellence is also not supportive of Afghan development, said Mr. Atiqullah, Director of Education for Farah Province.

“The director of education has a good plan for the future of education in the area, so we’re trying to reward that forward planning by giving attention to some of his projects,” Genta said.

The new Center for Excellence will provide for a two-year multi-disciplinary program. It will not only encourage intellectual development that will remain in Farah Province, but will stimulate the economy through tuition requirements. Farah Province will become a center of gravity drawing students to it from surrounding provinces.

Nawi Arghawan Construction Company is the contractor for the Center of Excellence and Farah City native engineer Zulmi will oversee the year-long project. He expects to employ about 50 people on this project.

Farah province is fast becoming an educational center with a number of schools and educational institutes under construction. Besides the current construction of the Center for Excellence and the funding of five high schools during the past year, Farah boasts an Agricultural High School, which draws students throughout the province. There is also a women’s dormitory under construction at the Farah Hospital, which will house 128 women for midwife and nursing training programs and a teacher’s training facility that brings in teachers from all over the province for educational training.

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
Tel: +93 (0)799 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/