UNESCO has handed over 82 pieces of equipment, valued at US$271,000, to create a new TV studio at the Educational Radio and Television (ERTV). The equipment was granted under a US$2.5 million project, funded by Italy, aimed at developing educational broadcasting in Afghanistan.
The project, the first phase of which is being completed, started in 2003 and supported a range of reconstruction and training activities to help the Ministry of Education achieve its goal of providing education to Afghans in all parts of the country. Given the mountainous landscape and the difficulties that many people face in getting education, distance education via radio and TV programmes is seen as a key vehicle to improve literacy and provide access to information. Distance education forms a central part of the Ministry’s Five Year Strategy.
“ERTV has been seeking help for a long time in order to play its essential role in the Afghanistan education system”, said Hanif Atmar, Afghan Minister of Education, at the ceremony of handing over the equipment, which took place at the ERTV office in Kabul. “Lack of experienced teachers and deficiency of schools made the distance learning so important in Afghanistan. The Minister thanked UNESCO for its support which will bring a significant change in the education system of the country.
Shigeru Aoyagi, Director of the UNESCO Office in Kabul, expressed his pleasure on the behalf of Director-General of UNESCO and the Italian government. “Under this project, ERTV staff members were sent to India, Pakistan and Malaysia for training, and many training programmes were conducted in Afghanistan, he added, UNESCO is very happy to see the progress in capacity building of the ERTV staff and the development of ERTV itself.”
The equipment provided by UNESCO will be used to improve the quality of the existing radio and TV programmes and to produce first distance education courses in the country.