We have previously discussed the obscene amount of money — in the hundreds of billions — spent in Afghanistan and Iraq as we cancel or curtail educational, scientific, and environmental programs at home. The sheer waste and corruption in those countries is breathtaking. We can now add a five-year program where we have spent $200 million dollars to teach Afghan soldiers to read but is now considered a total failure — after almost a quarter of a billion dollars. As we discussed earlier, there is again no word of any actual discipline for the people that approved and managed this colossal failure.
The literacy program for the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) was a valid objective but, like so many in these wars, it appears to have been managed with almost willful blindness. There was not even a basic record of actual soldiers who achieved literacy. While the goal of the program was to make 100 percent of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) able to read at a first grade level and 50 percent literate at a third grade level, those goals are not viewed after five years and $200 million as “unrealistic” and unattainable.”
This was not a particularly high standard. For the primary goal, the administrators only need to teach soldiers to read, write, pronounce, and identify letters, read and write short words, read and write one’s own name, and count up to 1,000. To achieve the highest goal, a soldier must only be able to read, write, and comprehend short paragraphs, use correct punctuation to aid meaning and understanding. He must also be able to add and subtract using six-digits numbers and multiply and divide with three-digit numbers.
Here is what we have to show for almost a quarter of a billion dollars and five years of contracting: only 73,700 ANSF soldiers reached a third grade level and only 224,000 had passed the first grade level literacy test. The government now admits that the program appears to have had limited impact on actual literacy levels within the ANSF. Many who could read have left the army.
As of Feb. 2013, roughly half of the ANSF was still illiterate. Moreover, the report concluded that “45 percent of police personnel recruited between July 2012 and February 2013 were sent directly to field checkpoints without receiving any literacy training.”
In the meantime, the entire funded program will now handed over the Afghans who have shown more interest in the funding than the objectives of these programs. The Afghans have already stated that they will not extend the training time for recruits who need the literacy training. Of course, if they change their minds, they will have to look for a place to teach the classes since many of those new schools were built at huge expense are still deemed unfit for occupation.
The International Security Assistance Force – Afghanistan (ISAF), which is led by U.S. Gen. Joseph Dunford, has still not agreed to all of the recommendations of the SIGAR report and issued a press notice stating they had implemented new contracts for literacy training.
Source: Daily Beast