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Schools for Conflict or for Peace in Afghanistan

Schools for Conflict or for Peace in Afghanistan

Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    Schools for Conflict or for Peace in Afghanistan
    Book Description:

    Foreign-backed funding for education does not always stabilize a country and enhance its statebuilding efforts. Dana Burde shows how aid to education in Afghanistan bolstered conflict both deliberately in the 1980s through violence-infused, anti-Soviet curricula and inadvertently in the 2000s through misguided stabilization programs. She also reveals how dominant humanitarian models that determine what counts as appropriate aid have limited attention and resources toward education, in some cases fueling programs that undermine their goals.

    For education to promote peace in Afghanistan, Burde argues we must expand equal access to quality community-based education and support programs that increase girls' and boys' attendance at school. Referring to a recent U.S. effort that has produced strong results in these areas, Burde commends the program's efficient administration and good quality, and its neutral curriculum, which can reduce conflict and build peace in lasting ways. Drawing on up-to-date research on humanitarian education work amid conflict zones around the world and incorporating insights gleaned from eight years of fieldwork in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Burde thoroughly recalculates and fundamentally improves a popular formula for peace.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-53751-3
    Subjects: History, Education, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Time Line: Education in Modern Afghan History
    (pp. xiii-xvii)
  5. [Map]
    (pp. xviii-xviii)
  6. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-24)

    On my first trip to Pakistan, in spring 2005, I visited several Afghan refugee camps in Balochistan, close to the Afghan border. I was working as a consultant for Save the Children, a US-based international nongovernmental organization that for a decade had been supporting schools for Afghan refugees living in these camps. Save the Children had hired me to assess their education programs, as their work was coming to a close. The camps had been there for many years—most of them since the early 1980s, when the Soviet invasion prompted a mass exodus of refugees from Afghanistan. “Camp” was...

  7. 2 Humanitarian Action and the Neglect of Education
    (pp. 25-54)

    A few years ago I was asked to give a talk on aid to education in countries affected by conflict, focusing specifically on the relationship between education aid and conflict mitigation. The talk was held at the headquarters of a major international donor, and the audience consisted of representatives from international organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and bilateral donors, all of whom worked on “education in emergencies” programs in one form or another.¹ When I began discussing the role of education programs in conflict mitigation, one of the attendees asked how education programs administered in a country affected by conflict were any...

  8. 3 Jihad Literacy
    (pp. 55-88)

    In 2010, I gave a talk at a prestigious English university on protecting education from attack in Afghanistan. There was a young woman in the audience who appeared to be listening particularly intently. After the talk she approached me to ask if I knew anything about “the mujahideen textbooks.” When I replied that I did, she said, “I’m from Afghanistan, and you know, the Americans created these jihadi textbooks, and we all used them?”

    I nodded. I knew these books had been used to educate Afghan refugees, and at first I assumed she had grown up in a refugee camp...

  9. 4 Education for Stability
    (pp. 89-124)

    In the lead-up to the military sweep through Marja¹ in spring 2010, General Stanley McChrystal declared that the US had a “government in a box” ready to assume its role once the area was cleared of the Taliban. Although the US cleared many Taliban from Marja, this achievement came at a significant cost and had mixed long-term results. Allied forces suffered high casualties, and flaws in the planned civilian surge emerged immediately. The UN refused to participate in reconstruction efforts, trained staff were scarce, and the public learned quickly that the US-selected Afghan governor-in-waiting had spent four years in a...

  10. 5 Education for the World
    (pp. 125-153)

    I left Herat on a hot early morning in June 2007 and drove east with my research manager and a team of enumerators toward Ghor Province, one of the most remote regions in Afghanistan. The land was pancake flat and dusty, and heat mirages rose from the road. I had been sick the previous two days and was just beginning to recover, so although it probably was only a few hours before we began climbing onto the plateau that constitutes most of Ghor, it seemed much longer. When we finally made it out of the valley, the temperature dropped and...

  11. 6 Conclusion: Education as Hope
    (pp. 154-170)

    I returned to Kabul in September 2012 for the first time in nearly four years. I was nervous before boarding the plane. From all reports, conditions had deteriorated since my last trip, in January 2009, and it was difficult not to think about bombs exploding when stories about them were appearing so frequently in the international press. Like many people who work in countries affected by conflict, I had had my share of close calls. I had successfully stowed them away for a number of years, but the impending visit sparked memories. Luckily, a friend who works for an international...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 171-182)
  13. References
    (pp. 183-200)
  14. Index
    (pp. 201-212)