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Japan will be ready to provide educational training to female Afghan teachers at women’s universities in Japan starting this summer, education ministry officials said Wednesday.

Education minister Atsuko Toyama met with her visiting counterpart of the Afghan interim administration, Abdul Raoul Amin, at the ministry and conveyed Japan’s willingness to help his country improve its education system, Japanese officials said.

Toyama told Amin that Japan can provide Afghanistan with programs to support education and accept 20 female Afghan teachers for educational training at women’s universities in Japan, beginning this summer, and dispatch two Japanese education specialists to the country for education planning.

“The Afghans want to have long-standing relations with the Japanese, especially in the field of education,” Amin said at a news conference after his meeting with Toyama, expressing gratitude for Japan’s contribution to restoring the educational system in Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in February started to make plans for educational support for Afghan women, and five women’s universities in Japan, including Ochanomizu University and Tsuda College, created a panel for the training of female Afghan educators.

Panel members have been discussing details of the curriculum to be offered, according to the ministry.

Amin visited Ochanomizu University, in Tokyo, on Wednesday to discuss the training program with the panel.

Amin, who taught at Kabul University from 1966 to 1980, said the university had qualified females to be teachers in those days.

But during the days of the Taliban, women’s education was ignored. In the International Conference on Reconstruction Assistance to Afghanistan, held in Tokyo in January, the Afghan interim administration brought up education — especially for girls — as one of six key priorities in reconstructing the country.

“The (education) ministry is now giving first priority for girls’ education,” Amin said.

Amin said that 1,000 of the country’s 4,000 schools were destroyed in wars, making it urgent to find ways to meet the educational needs of children.

Referring to the insufficient number of teachers in Afghanistan, Amin said he hopes Japan can support his country’s efforts to establish training centers for teachers.

The education support programs also include a campaign in which the ministry will collect donations from schools across Japan for education in Afghanistan and provide information about Afghan schools via the Internet, with the cooperation of Japanese nongovernmental organizations.

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