Yesterday Pamir Air took me back to Kabul. For today I booked an UNHAS flight (UN Humanitarien Aviation Service) from Kabul to Jalalabad. For security and/or insurance reasons I am not allowed to travel by car (two hours drive from Kabul to Jalalabad). Booking UNHAS flights can be a very tricky process and takes some time in Kabul. The UNHAS plane lands in a huge military camp (sorry: no pictures) near Jalalabad from where it is demanding to find the exit to the civilian world. When I arrived at the office of Chancellor Dr. Mohammad Saber Mohmand (chancellor is the name of university presidents in Afghanistan at Nangarhar University, Chancellor Dr. Saber had invited a group of about twelve people for lunch. Most of them where alumni of Ruhr-University Bochum and a number of them spoke excellent German like Chancellor Dr. Saber himself, who did his Ph.D. studies in Germany.
After lunch we had a discussion about curriculum issues and the planned further development of Nangarhar University. The number of students will increase by about 10% annualy. Because 60% of the Afghan population has an age of less than 21 years and there are little alternatives for further education after finishing high-school, there is a huge demand for university education.
Later Chancellor Dr. Saber (with white cap) invited me to stay at the university guesthouse. The guesthouse was mainly donated by the US Government and is brand-new and well equipped.
On the left you see a lady (persian/american) from the Rotary Club San Diego/CA, who comes to Jalalabad twice a year to review the contruction projects which are financed/donated by her chapter of the Rotary Club.
Today (Dec. 18, 2009) Chancellor Dr. Saber arranged a meeting with colleagues from the computer science department (about 360 students enrolled at present). The computer science building is not located on the main campus of Nangarhar University but at a distance of about five kilomenters. At the moment the department is part of the Faculty of Engineering but there are planns to establish a separate Faculty of Computer Science in the future.
During our discussion colleagues claimed that their department might be the only computer science department worldwide which has no computers to train its students: The equipment was bought in the year 2000 and is not usable any longer. Internet connectivity is already good and will improve further because the fiber optics back-bone cable from Pakistan to Kabul runs close to the campus area. The university will be connected to the fiber optics cable as soon as March 2010.
The computer science library is not in good shape at the moment: Books are too old and there is no professional librarian to sort the books in accordance with an excepted library structure. In the library on the main campus, there is the identical problem: No librarians, who could organize the appropriate access to library resources and many books are outdated.