KANDAHAR CITY, Kandahar Province – Twelfth-grade student Rahimullah, 17, is weighing pebbles on a digital scale and then putting them inside little plastic bags. He is working a little apart from the other students following instructions from their teacher and working with chemical substances and test tubes in one corner of the laboratory.
Rahimullah, a student of Sufi Sahib Boys High School, is in the laboratory to revise his chemistry lessons. “With access to the laboratory facility, we can now practice our chemistry experiments,” he says. The laboratory is filled with students who are enthusiastically working on their laboratory experiments.
Sufi Sahib Boys High School is located in the Chuni neighborhood in Kandahar city, the capital of Kandahar Province. Currently, there are over 4,300 students enrolled at the school with 85 teachers and 25 administrative staff.
The high school, which was established in 1972, received a Quality Enhancement Grant (QEG) of $5,500 from the Education Quality Improvement Program (EQUIP II) in 2013. The QEG was spent on equipping its laboratory and library. “Before receiving the grant, both facilities were in bad condition,” says Mohibullah Qaderi, the school’s principal.
EQUIP II, the second phase of the program, seeks to increase equitable access to quality basic education, especially for girls. It is implemented by the Ministry of Education with funding support from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF). EQUIP was originally supported by the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries.
Mohibullah Qaderi points out that the support to equip the school with modern facilities has helped improve the school’s standing. “A good laboratory and library have enhanced the ranking of the school in the entire province,” he says. “It has attracted more students to join the school. Some of the lessons are taught through presentations using projectors—that is rare in the schools of Afghanistan.”