Paving the way for success in the Afghan New Year, the people of Paktika Province, heard the voice of their local government on radio, thanks to our troops. The province has 333 schools,br /with 10 under construction. Of these schools, 37 are closed because of threats from the Taliban, said the province head of education. Despite the school closures, the total student enrollment is a little more than 121,000, with almost 20,000 female students. The school system as been successful so far in maintaining a 37:1 student-teacher ratio, comparable to many school districts in the US.br /br /According to Army CPT Matt Sraj, who oversees radio ops in Paktika, this interview is the firstbr /in a series of programs aimed at connecting the people with their government in a widely-accessible format. Radio is the most-effective way to reach the people, because of the low literacy rate. “In Western Paktika, the literacy rate is currently well under 5%. Therefore, most of the population receives their info from one of two ways: word of mouth or radio broadcasts. By bringing the Afghan govt leaders onto the radio the people not only receive info on what theirbr /govt is doing, but it also gives local govt the opportunity to get their message directly to the people, ensuring that the info is not altered,” Sraj said.br /br /This is the kind of progress that never makes the news, but is absolutely necessary for thebr /Afghan people to take control of their country. Besides, I’m slightly prejudiced towards radio.