News: Continued education downrange
Story by Sgt. Mark A Moore II
FORWARD OPERATING BASE SHARANA, Afghanistan - Approximately 30 U.S. Army soldiers currently enrolled in classes at Forward Operating Base Sharana's education center gathered outside of the education center April 12, for what maybe the last class photograph taken while the center is open.
With the drawdown of coalition forces and base closures in Afghanistan, facilities will systematically close in order to expedite U.S. soldiers return home.
Sharana's education center is scheduled to close May 15, marking the end of some services and educational conveniences once offered to soldiers stationed here.
"We offer three main services here at the education center, face-to-face counseling, testing and classes taught by U.S. Army volunteer instructors," said Mark N. Mozarella, the education services officer for the center. "With the closure of the center, soldiers will have to endure small inconveniences to continue their education."
Soldiers will lose the ability to meet with counselors and discuss tuition assistance or receive educational counseling here on Sharana, but will maintain the ability to speak with counselors located at Bagram Air Field's Education Center and continue their education through online learning.
"Fortunately about 80 percent of Soldiers are taking college classes online, as long as they have internet access they can continue their education," said Mozarella. "Soldiers will now have to communicate with BAF's Education Center to enroll in classes."
Soldiers will also be afforded the opportunity to study for the Functional Academic Skills Test and General Technical improvement test through continued support from U.S. Army volunteer instructors stationed on Sharana.
"I have worked up my own class and will continue to facilitate classes for soldier students stationed here even though the education center is closing," said 2nd Lt. Ashley Murray, a volunteer instructor assigned to 210 Brigade Support Battalion, 2/10 Security Forces Assistance Brigade. "I have also coordinated for an education counselor from BAF to facilitate FAST and GT testing once a month here."
One soldier who is attending the FAST class accredits his instructor for what he has learned.
"My math and writing have gotten a lot better," said Spc. Richard Morris, assigned to Company A, 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment. "I really don't think I could have done this without the help of 2nd Lt. Murray."
With the recent re-institution of tuition assistance, counselors willing to travel from BAF and U.S. Army volunteer instructors dedicated to helping soldiers achieve their individual academic goals, deployments may not impede a soldiers path to academic excellence.
For more information on educational opportunities, visit the following links: www.goarmyed.com, www.dantes.doded.mil, http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator, http://www.petersons.com/army