'Three Cups of Tea' for Kabul University; Controversial Book Reveals Diversion of Funds Needed for Higher Education

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), April 27, 2011 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

'Three Cups of Tea' for Kabul University; Controversial Book Reveals Diversion of Funds Needed for Higher Education


Byline: M. Ashraf Haidari, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

As headlines about the flawed book, Three Cups of Tea, by Mr. Greg Mortenson punctuate major U.S. papers, two important messages - one of which the book makes clear - must be heeded. First, Mr. Mortenson's stories, true or somewhat false, highlight the importance of providing Afghan children with access to primary education. This is a human right, which has been universally accepted. The focus on girls' education in rural Afghanistan has been recognized by the Afghan government as part of our firm commitment to meeting the Millennium Development Goals, understanding that educating girls will empower more than half of the Afghan population. Indeed, a healthy mother makes a healthy family, which in turn constitutes a healthy and productive society.

But the other message that complements Three Cups of Tea has received scant attention and resources from the international community. Improving the quality of education and investing in the higher education sector, which must prepare a new generation of Afghans to begin gradually owning and leading the process of rebuilding and developing our country, continues to be neglected. For the purposes of publicity, fundraising and politics, donors and their related nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), as well as private individuals, have collectively focused on school-building projects without necessarily ensuring that those schools have qualified teachers, a modern curriculum or labs and libraries equipped with information technology systems to develop a productive labor force that can help integrate Afghanistan with the global economy.

Without looking further afield, the crumbling status of Afghanistan's major university, which once educated students from developing countries, is tragically telling. In November 2009, I paid a visit to Kabul University's library, which used to be one of the largest academic depositories in the region. But I found the front section of the library partitioned into smaller divisions, each temporarily staffed and run by a donor country with its national flag sitting on the corner of the receptionist's desk. Going through the larger, orphaned half of the library with broken shelves, outdated science books from 1940s or older, and no central heating or air-conditioning system, I wondered where the hundreds of millions of dollars, which donors have committed and even disbursed for the education sector, had been spent.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

'Three Cups of Tea' for Kabul University; Controversial Book Reveals Diversion of Funds Needed for Higher Education
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?