KHOST CITY – Teenagers wearing blue jerseys are playing volleyball in a muddy yard. The heat has prevented a large crowd from coming to the playground to watch the match. The few who are there sit under the shadow of trees, mostly laughing and chatting with each other instead of watching the game.
Mir Salah, 65, is the only person who eagerly claps and shouts enthusiastically for his students. The volleyball court is at the center of the Abdul Hai Habibi High School yard. As the match finishes, many other students join Salah in cheering on the players.
Salah has been working for more than a decade at Abdul Hai Habibi High School in Khost city and has seen the vast improvements to it. “We had few facilities and there were challenges for both students and teachers to understand and teach the lessons well,” adds Salah as he walks toward a building with the students for the next lesson in the computer lab.
Students have traded tents for proper classrooms and enjoy the facilities of a science laboratory, library, and computer lab, thanks to support from the Education Quality Improvement Program (EQUIP). The school first received an EQUIP construction grant of $99,000 to construct an eight-classroom building in 2009. Two subsequent Quality Enhancement Grants (QEGs) totaling $6,000 enabled the school to equip its science and computer laboratories and library.
At the same time, nearly 70 out of the 137 teachers at the school received training through EQUIP, learning new teaching methods and ways to plan lessons efficiently. “Our teaching system is more student-centric and teachers encourage their students to take part in class activities,” says Salah.
The support has paid off for the school, which has over 6,600 students. “Through EQUIP support and the hard work of the teachers and community, our school has become one of the most famous and prestigious government schools in Khost Province,” Salah points out.