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The impressive progress the government and its donors have made in getting girls to attend school was a good beginning, not a completed task.This report examines the major barriers that remain in the quest to get all girls into school, and keep them there through secondary school.The Afghan government has not taken meaningful steps toward implementing national legislation that makes education compulsory.
These include: discriminatory attitudes toward girls by both government officials and community members; child marriage; insecurity and violence stemming from both the escalating conflict and from general lawlessness, including attacks on education, military use of schools, abduction and kidnapping, acid attacks, and sexual harassment; poverty and child labor; a lack of schools in many areas; poor infrastructure and lack of supplies in schools; poor quality of instruction in schools; costs associated with education; lack of teachers, especially female teachers; administrative barriers including requirements for identification and transfer letters, and restrictions on when children can enroll; a failure to institutionalize and make sustainable community-based education; and corruption.
The war for girls' education in Afghanistan - 16 years after the US & allies toppled the Taliban and promised to get Afghan girls back into school, why are more than half of them still out of school?
Girls study in a tent held up by a tree in a government school in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Forty-one percent of all schools in Afghanistan do not have buildings and even when they do, they are often overcrowded, with some children forced to study outside.
The government and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), with donor support, built schools, hired and trained teachers, and reached out to girls and their families to encourage them to attend school.
The actual number of girls who, over time, went to school is disputed, but there is broad agreement that since 2001 millions of girls who would not have received any education under the Taliban now have had some schooling. Even according to the most optimistic figures regarding girls’ participation in education, there are millions of girls who never went to school, and many more who went to school only briefly.
Statistics on the number of children in—and out of—school in Afghanistan vary significantly and are contested.
Statistics of all kinds—even basic population data—are often difficult to obtain in Afghanistan and of questionable accuracy.
Currently, as the overall security situation in the country worsens, schools close, and donors disengage, there are indications that access to education for girls in some parts of Afghanistan is in decline.
Despite the overall progress, Afghanistan’s provision of education still discriminates against women by providing fewer schools accessible to girls, and by failing to take adequate measures to remedy the disparity in educational participation between girls and boys.