In response to a question from a donor about any religious teachings in the Fast Track classes, we wanted to share the following details about the program in Afghanistan:
All of AIL's Fast Track classes include information on health, peace, gender and human rights issues. The subject matter of the Fast Track classes varies depending on what is requested by the students. The most common Fast Track classes are literacy, sewing or other crafts such as carpet weaving, embroidery, etc., Arabic, beauty parlor management. In some centers, there are classes in English, computer, calligraphy, math, science, drawing, art and other subjects--it depends on what the students need. In addition, if students progress beyond the first literacy class, they then begin studying the same books as they would study in the school system. We still call it literacy because our centers are not schools. However, the subjects are equivalent to those in the schools which is why students can either mainstream into the regular schools after attending our classes or receive grade certificates by taking an exam in the schools for particular grade levels. If a student is studying in the fourth grade level or beyond, then there may be religion in some of the history classes --it is like history of the religion--not theology. This would be the same as in social studies classes here in the U.S.
If the question pertains to indoctrination, then the answer is "no" there is no religious or political indoctrination in AIL classes.
Just to make sure that it is clear, AIL calls its classes Fast Track classes because in general the length of time of the classes is shorter than it would be in the regular school system. Also, AIL students can study at their own pace so if a student covers the material quicker in a literacy class, then the student can go on to the next level. Likewise, if a student is slower, they can study for a longer period of time. AIL's emphasis is on the students learning. When they have learned and passed the tests, they get a certificate. It is based on what is learned, not on the amount of time spent sitting in a class. For this reason, AIL's certificates are valued.Because of the lack of education under the Taliban for both girls and boys, after the fall of the Taliban, everybody wanted to catch up and study as fast as they could. That is why AIL instituted the "Fast Track" system. What it has evolved into is really a flexible way of studying which allows students to study at their own pace. Most students do finish faster than they would in a regular school but a few do not. Again the emphasis is on learning.
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