Twenty female teachers from Afghanistan began a one-month training course Tuesday at five women’s universities as part of Japan’s contribution to rebuilding the war-ravaged country.

The course, which runs through March 5, is being taught at Ochanomizu University, Tsuda College, Tokyo Woman’s Christian University and Japan Women’s University, all in Tokyo, and at Nara Women’s University in western Japan.

Under the program, sponsored by the Foreign Ministry-affiliated Japan International Cooperation Agency, the trainees will be divided into two groups, one for the humanities and the other for math and science-related subjects, the organizers said.

The lectures will be based on themes such as the reconstruction of Japan’s education system following World War II, officials at the five schools said.

The trainees will be involved in activities including computer training, conducting scientific experiments and observing classes at elementary schools, the officials said.

They said the initiative, part of Japan’s target to accommodate more than 60 teacher trainees from Afghanistan over a three-year period, aims to provide ideas on reconstructing the nation’s education system for girls and women, and to help develop an appropriate curriculum for a new Afghanistan.

During the rule of the fundamentalist Islamic Taliban regime, women’s education was banned in Afghanistan. Since the downfall of the Taliban in December 2001, the Afghan administration has faced an urgent need to train and foster women teachers, but has few resources.

Of the 20 women taking the course, 10 are principals of junior high or high schools in Kabul, and the other 10 are from educational colleges. All were recommended by the Afghan government based on such criteria as having more than a year of teaching experience, the officials said.

The officials said they hope to enhance the participants’ leadership skills.

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