MAZAR-E-SHARIF CITY, Balkh Province – All eyes in the class are focused intently on the model of the human skeleton hanging loosely in the science laboratory. There is pin-drop silence challenged only by the biology presentation being given by Sona, 13, a Grade 8 student explaining the structure of the human body to her classmates. It is a typical day for students in Ommolbilad Girls High School.
After the presentation, Sona says, “We read about the structure of the human body in the book but in the lab, we can see the body parts. This helps us a lot and we learn the subject much better.” She is grateful for this opportunity to learn in an interactive way. “I want to be a doctor in the future, and the laboratory is the beginning of my journey,” she says.
Sona and her classmates have the Education Quality Improvement Program (EQUIP) to thank for supporting their school. With EQUIP support, the Ommolbilad Girls High school is now in high demand in Balkh Province. “We have standard classrooms and enough facilities for the students,” says Aminullah, 52, the school’s educational deputy. “The EQUIP Quality Enhancement Grant has brought about many positive additions and the quality of education is getting better day by day in the school.”
In 2013, EQUIP awarded the school a Quality Enhancement Grant (QEG) of $15,000. With the grant, the school was able to set up and equip laboratories for general science and computers, as well as a library. “I love to sit in the computer lab and work because I learn a lot when I put our theory lessons into practice,” says Fariba, 15, a Grade 10 student. The grant also has enabled the school to paint the walls with informational diagrams and to establish a park and green space for students.
The school is located in the Karti Noshad area in the 9th district of Mazar-e-Sharif city in Balkh Province. The school was established in 1990 as a co-educational school, but became a girls’ school in 2010. There are nearly 3,000 students attending daily classes in three sessions (shifts) and 80 teachers at the school.