As our programs expanded, teachers and students urged us to provide computers. Everyone recognizes how powerful computers can be as an educational tool. In Afghanistan, they are even more critical. There is a “severe shortage” of qualified teachers and books. (In fact, even the term “severe shortage” is an understatement. In 2005, Budd spoke with one University student who told him they didn’t have any books in several of the classes he was taking. At one point in 2007, TIE hired a teacher who had only a third grade education, until we could find a replacement.) Computers with educational software allow teachers and students to learn at their own pace. What they will be able to learn will be measured in gigabytes. Computers also add an element of fun to the learning process, often absent in classes taught by rote memorization.
There are many issues to solve to bring computers to the classroom: electricity, finding a teacher, locating educational software programs, etc. Nevertheless, TIE now has two computer programs collectively teaching over 180 students. It is working on a third. Computer classes are taught four times a day, six days a week, each lasting an hour and a half. These classes are deemed so important that some boys and girls are permitted to learn together.
These computers don’t have access to the Internet yet. Along with the technical difficulties in gaining access to the internet, there are filtering challenges that will need to be addressed. We look forward to the day Afghan students will be able to communicate directly with the thousands of American children who have been supporting them over the past several years.
If you are interested in donating a computer or a monitor to the program, contact us. Flat screen monitors only, though. The schools rely on generators for electricity and the “old clunkers” are gas guzzlers. In fact, they can shut the electrical system down.