CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan -- ommunication is a vital part of success for any military. Knowing this, Afghan National Security Forces troops partake in literacy courses at the Joint Security Academy Southwest, here.
JSAS began requiring recruits at the training center to participate in daily literacy classes nearly a year ago. These students learn the basic skills of writing, reading, math and even about their country’s constitution.
“The class is good for [the recruits] because it will help them perform their jobs,” said Afghan Uniformed Police 2nd Lt. Zmary Sarshar, an AUP instructor at JSAS. “They need to read and write on their reports. It’s useful for when they work on checkpoints, so they can read people’s passports and documentation.”
Aside from protecting and defending their country, uniformed ANSF also carry the eager responsibility to share their new education.
According to Afghan Uniformed Police Rct. Islam Uddin, “The people of Afghanistan are mostly illiterate. But, if the Afghan forces know how to read and write we can help control a lot of bad things and become a stronger force. We can help teach other Afghans literacy and then they can do things on their own and read the news. Then they can see the Taliban are bad and will join the right side to be part of Afghanistan.”
While students at JSAS are excited to become literate, they are even more excited to take their new skills home to their families.
“I will be proud to show my family how to read, write and do math,” Uddin added. “Now we will be able to do things for ourselves, like write letters to people, and we can teach more Afghans.”
Mohammad Taher, a literacy instructor at JSAS, has been passionately teaching Afghans literacy for more than four years now. He says when students come in for their first literacy class there are typically two literate students out of 100, and nothing beats seeing the other 98 students leave at the end of their course being able to read and write.
“I will not allow for anybody to be illiterate in Afghanistan,” Taher said. “I will teach everybody and anybody.
“Every day at the end of my class I tell them that what they learned, they need to pass on to their families because illiteracy is like being blind.”
Every student and recruit attends JSAS for different lengths of time. Yet, they all appear to leave the most excited about one aspect - their new found literacy.
“To [the students] the literacy class is the best thing they learn here,” said Capt. Joseph Dalton, the operations officer at JSAS. “They leave here more proud that they can read and write than anything else. They give these classes the most value and the final product at the end of the course, compared to where they were when they first got here, there is no comparison.”