The Korean Vocational Training Center, opened earlier this year on Bagram Air Field, is wrapping up training for its first class of Afghan students.
The KVTC is a school built by the Korean government to educate Afghan citizens on skills needed for pursuing a trade. The center enrolled 86 Afghans in five different departments: welding, automotive, electricity, construction and computer networking and programs. Each department consists of 700 class hours and teaches the very basics of the subject all the way to an advanced stage of knowledge and understanding.
“[The Korean staff] arrived here in February of this year and opened the school in April,” said Soo-Kwang Lee, chief of the KVTC administration office. “We didn’t have a lot of time to prepare and look for applicants but we wanted to give the chance to learn to someone who deserves it, so we decided to send letters to the local high schools looking for recommendations.”
The students are given the five choices and pick the subject of most interest to them.
Each subject is taught by a Korean supervisor and two Afghan instructors. The Afghan instructors had to complete a three-month internship in Korea, honing their skills before they started teaching.
“I went to Korea to learn more about automotives and how to work on them,” said Abdul Whied Parwani, one of the two Afghan automotives instructors. “I have been working on automotives for 30 years and I still learned a lot from going to Korea. I’m confident in my teaching now.”
Out of the 86 students, 85 are set to graduate at the beginning of December and all are scheduled to start working after graduation. That comes out to a 98 percent graduation rate and 100 percent employment among graduates.
“I’m really proud of my students,” Parwani said. “I am confident in their abilities. My students have been taught what each part of the car is and how to identify and repair common problems. But even if they find a problem they haven’t been trained to fix, I’m sure they will be able to troubleshoot and repair it on their own.”
School officials are planning to change the way students are enrolled next year. Applicants will have to take a basic English exam and participate in competitions for their desired subject.
Students are paid for transportation and given free meals throughout the school day courtesy of the Korean government.
“I think this center [KVTC] is the best thing for the Afghan people in the area,” said Parwani. “We don’t have anything else like this center. It’s a good center to learn skills and will help the Afghan people get good jobs.”