Formerly education was in the hands of the mullahs, who taught village
children the rudiments of reading, writing, and the Qur'an (Koran) in schools called
maktabs, which were usually conducted in mosques.
While hundreds of such schools continue to function,
with the government supplying books and other equipment, the ministry of education has
built modern primary schools throughout the country.
Attendance at these schools, which cover the first six
grades, rose markedly in the late 1950 s and the 1960 s. In the five-year period from 1959
to 1964, for example, enrollment doubled, from approximately 130,000 to 260,000, and by
1966 enrollment had more than doubled again.
Kabul University, which was established by law in 1946
(several of its faculties were already in existence), includes faculties of medicine, law
and political science, science, literature, theology, engineering, pharmacy, and
agriculture, and institutes of economics and education.
About 2,500 students are enrolled at the university.
The University of Nangrahar was founded at Jalalabad in
1963. There are also the Afghan Institute of Technology, the School of Agriculture, and
several teachers colleges and theological institutes. In addition, several hundred Afghans
go abroad each year to pursue college and university studies in Europe, the United States,
India, and the Middle East.
Only about 10 percent of the males in Afghanistan are
literate, and the percentage is much smaller among females.
To remedy this situation the ministry of information and
culture conducts adult education classes, the Women's Society gives instruction, and Radio
Kabul produces programs designed to increase literacy...