Afghanistan university receives textbooks from Corps

NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan Nangarhar University received more than 4,500 textbooks, delivered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Afghanistan Engineering District-North Jalalabad Area Office June 22.

Vermillion native, U.S. Army Maj. Erica Iverson has been instrumental in delivering textbooks to universities in Afghanistan. Recently, with her assistance, new textbooks were delivered to three Afghanistan universities. She is pictured helping unload new books at Kabul University where she serves as the Chief of Synchronization and Initiatives Group and the Capacity Building Team for the Afghanistan Engineer District-North headquartered in Kabul.

The U.S. Agency for International Development and the Government of Afghanistan Ministry of Higher Education coordinated the project to bring the books to the university. The Capacity Development branch of USACE, Afghanistan Engineering Program-North funded the books through the Commanders Emergency Response Program.

We noticed late in 2010 that many universities were using paper copies of textbooks, said U.S. Army Maj. Erica Iverson, of Vermillion, S.D. and chief of the Synchronization and Initiatives Group, Capacity Building Team, USACE, Afghanistan Engineering Program-North, Overall, 30 years of conflict have severely compromised Afghanistans University System. The current situation includes the use of photocopies of outdated engineering books, many of which are in Russian.

Established in 1963, Nangarhar University managed to prosper and expanded its education program, but it has not been immune to the countrys strife. Prior to the engineers hefty book delivery, the library was completely bare. Now, 357 boxes of various engineering text and reference books are stacked inside the spacious, sunny room.

It is very difficult to get textbooks, said Professor Arifullah Mandozai, dean of the university. If we had to buy these books on our own, we would not be able to buy this many good, quality books in 10 years time.

The project supports the prioritization of the Afghanistan National Developmental Strategy, presented at the Kabul Conference on July 20, 2010, which is to improve higher education. The curricula of Afghanistans universities are being revised to meet the developmental needs of the country, private sector growth and accreditation, said Iverson.

No proper education is why our country is in its current state, said Dr. Mohammed Sabar, chancellor of the university, It is important to get an education, all people are improved with education. If we can improve education, we can improve Afghanistan. We need more, good, educated people to help the community.

The engineering department of Nangarhar University said they are especially thankful for the books.

Now when I speak with the students, and make a speech, I can explain the U.S. Army gave us this very good opportunity, and they will see you are here to do good things to help us become better, said Mandozai.

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