Afghanistan: Investment for peace and prosperity | Asia | DW | 05.02.2016
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Afghanistan: Investment for peace and prosperity

A new university network in Afghanistan is connecting public and private journalism faculties. The Deputy Minister of Youth Affairs, Taimoor Shah Es Haqzai, explains how this can boost the process of reconstruction.

Afghanistan, DW Akademie

13 representatives came together for a workshop in December to plan the network's activities for 2016

The new university network will be facilitating knowledge transfer within journalism education. Why is this so important in Afghanistan?

Taimoor Shah Es Haqzai: Freedom of speech is vital to democratic societies and this is why public and private universities in Afghanistan, together with other educational institutions, are encouraging young people to study journalism. You see, journalists can encourage people to explore the truth, and can point out what is right and wrong. Journalists around the world play a positive role in society, democracy and culture, and we need them as a driving force in Afghanistan.

How would you describe the situation for journalists and the media in Afghanistan?

Over the last 14 years, the government of Afghanistan has made great strides in the area of freedom of speech. And even before the country's first parliamentary elections, the government approved a Mass Media Lawthat helped pave the way for new television and radio stations, newspapers and online platforms, as well as social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. These social networks have the potential to bring peace and prosperity to the country and to help young people focus on issues such as reconstruction, the fight against corruption and extremism, good governance and women's rights - especially in terms of their education and their work.

Afghanistan, Taimoor Shah Es Haqza

Taimoor Shah Es Haqzai is Deputy Minister of Youth Affairs at the Afghan Ministry of Information & Culture

If young people become more aware of issues like these, they can help Afghanistan become a peaceful and well developed country. You see, investing in young people is the only way to make this possible, and we will see the benefits in the future.

According to the United Nations, 60 percent of the Afghan population is under 25 years of age. DW Akademie has given many workshops in Afghanistan on how courses and curricula can become more interactive, participatory and dynamic to help educate this large young population. How can students benefit from this?

There needs to be an equal balance between theory and practice, so that students can better apply what they have learned during the lectures. It's also important that teachers use simple language instead of complex terminology. This would make it easier for students to understand the lectures.

Well-educated young people are increasingly leaving Afghanistan. How can this "brain drain" be prevented?

Mass media and social media can help create awareness about individual and social responsibility, as well as build a sense of pride in our country. The government also needs to be aware of its responsibilities, provide job opportunities for young people and reaffirm to them thattheyhave a major role to play in the development and progress of their country. We have seen that whenever there is peace in a country, the economic situation improves. It is the same as taking care of a tree. If you take care of a tree properly, it grows steadily. When you are not taking proper care of a tree, it cannot grow and thrive.

Taimoor Shah Es Haqzai is Deputy Minister of Youth Affairs at the Afghan Ministry of Information & Culture

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