Renowned boys school rebuilt in Afghanistan

KABUL – More than 5,400 Afghan students, forced to take lessons in tents after their school was destroyed, now have access to a world-class educational facility in Kabul.

The renowned Ghazi Boys High School in Afghanistan has been rebuilt by UNOPS with funds from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and in partnership with the Government of Afghanistan.

Established in 1926, the school was one of the most respected schools in Kabul, with prominent government officials among its alumni. The building was completely destroyed as a result of the fighting in Afghanistan in the 1990s.

The school, which was once attended by prominent government officials, was officially opened at a ceremony towards the end of 2011.

The ceremony was attended by hundreds of students, teachers, the Minister of Education His Excellency Gholam Farooq Wardak, the US Deputy Ambassador James B. Cunningham, and Zalmay Khalilzad, the former US Ambassador to Afghanistan, as well as members of the Afghan parliament. The guests of honour lauded the international community’s efforts in the reconstruction of schools.

Mr Khalilzad, who graduated from the original school, said that he still remembers his days spent as a student. He advised today’s students to work hard and make good use of the new school facilities.

Delivering his keynote remarks, His Excellency Gholam Farooq Wardak said: "Today I am very happy to see development in the education of Afghanistan. I congratulate the people of Afghanistan, especially the students of Ghazi High School for this achievement."

He added: "We want all the students in the country to have the same facilities, and we need the support of the international community to help our children to study without a need to remain in tents."

The building incorporates a robust structural design that meets international standards for safety during an earthquake. The school also meets international standards for fire safety and provides for disabled access.

His Excellency thanked USAID for the financial support and UNOPS for successfully completing the construction, which provides 100 classrooms and a range of other high-quality learning services. The reconstruction of the school is part of the USAID-funded Kabul Schools Programme, which is also refurbishing and providing new facilities for the Sardar Kabuli Girls High School.

Safiullah Mehrabi, a student at Ghazi High School, said: "I am thankful to the international community for their continued support. As a student, I want the international community to invest more in education and development of the country as it is the basis of the success for any country. I thank the international community for constructing my school and providing us with such a nice facility. We used to study under tents. Now we don’t worry about the weather if it is hot or raining."

UNOPS in Afghanistan supports the Government’s objectives to construct schools, hospitals, roads and other infrastructure, through continued delivery of development and infrastructure projects across the country.