Miss(ed) Education

by Kamran Iftikhar

Afghanistan has a disturbed history since decades. Survival in a war-ridden area is something that changes the priorities of the people and the ruling class. Afghanistan has faced over three decades of conflicts and every system including education has been devastated. According to an estimate provided by USAID, over 900,000 boys attended school during the last decade but the girls and women are not allowed to avail the education opportunities.

Keeping in view this dilapidated situation USAID stepped forward and with the help of international donors worked closely with Afghan government to rebuild the education sector. With the help of donors Afghan Education Ministry has managed to build over 16,000 schools, recruited and trained more than 160,000 teachers. The ministry has also managed to increase the net enrollment rate of school-aged children nearly to 60%.

Pakistan is hosting around 3 million of Afghan refugees after Soviet invasion in 1979. Now these people are coming back to their homeland after over 30 years. The broods are grown up and the number of school-aged children has increased.

Though Afghan government has more than 9 million students enrolled in its schools, out of which 40 percent are girls but with the return of refugees, it is expected that more than one million learners will look for enrollments and over 5 million of primary grade students will also look for to avail the benefit of education from USAID assistance.

With one of the youngest populations in the world, Afghanistan must have a strong education system that should not only be comprised of high-quality learning materials but also the professional and well-trained teachers.

A need of novice methodologies to attract the growing school-aged boys and girls cannot be ruled out to have an economic growth and democratic stability and development. It will also benefit the peace of the whole region. Afghan government should consider it as top national priority by resolving its own disputes.

Unfortunately educating girls and women in Afghanistan is still not a priority as only 26 percent of the population is literate, nearly 4.2 million people do not have access to schools, most of which are girls. The ratio of literate women is only 12 percent.

Established in 2011 UN-Women-sponsored Women’s ICT Centre is offering courses and certifications in the field of English language and computer skills. Its aim is to enable the young Afghan women to participate in economic activity through training. ICT Centre also supports graduates who seek a placement in the private schools or other non-governmental or governmental departments of Women’s Affairs.

Top Image Shah Marai/AFP