December 3, 2003
School of Education collecting books for Afghan universities
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. The Purdue University School of Education is collecting textbooks and other educational materials to bolster the resources of two universities in Afghanistan.
Faculty members and students can donate textbooks and other academic books and resources. The materials will be sent to Kabul University and Education University in Afghanistan as part of an effort to help restock the embattled institutions' libraries and provide professors with classroom resources.
"Both schools have been essentially left with nothing," said Charles E. Kline, an associate professor of educational administration who organized the book drive. "Many professors and students at Purdue have books they don't use sitting on their shelves. Those books aren't doing us any good, but the difference that they could make in Afghanistan is unbelievable."
Kline said mainstream, general interest books are not needed, but that academic books focusing on education and education-related fields can be used by the Afghan scholars and students. Anyone with books to donate should contact Leslie Sigg in the School of Education at (765) 494-7299, firstname.lastname@example.org. Arrangements will be made to pick up books on campus. The book drive continues through Dec. 19.
The School of Education at Kabul University focuses on secondary education, while Education University trains elementary teachers, special education teachers and other school personnel.
The two universities were devastated by years of civil war during the 1980s and the Taliban rule that followed. Buildings have been badly damaged and gutted by scavengers, who have removed electrical wiring and other valuable equipment and materials.
Most of the two universities' faculty members do not have advanced degrees, textbooks and other educational materials are in scarce supply, and the curricula require serious attention.
"The Taliban employed religious-based censorship and removed instructional materials at the two universities," Kline said. "Today, the universities are operating with very limited resources and libraries are virtually nonexistent. Faculty members are returning and have only the notes they took as students as educational resources."
Purdue has an ongoing relationship with Kabul University and the Afghan Ministry of Higher Education that dates back to the 1960s. In 2002, the schools of Agriculture, Engineering, Education and Technology cooperatively began helping once more. Faculty members from each of the schools have visited the university and are advising Afghan officials trying to redevelop higher education in the country. Kline traveled to both universities this summer.
"The School of Education at Kabul University and the Education University are almost starting from scratch," he said. "They need so much, and these textbooks can be an important part of their improvement."
Writer: Matt Holsapple, (765) 494-2073, email@example.com
Source: Charles E. Kline, (765) 494-7299, firstname.lastname@example.org
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; email@example.com