Cautious hope for girls’ education in Afghanistan as secondary schools reopen – Afghanistan

KABUL, 23 March – Girls’ secondary schools are reopening across Afghanistan today as Taliban authorities follow through on plans to ensure boys and girls have access to quality education, Save the Children said. .

The reopening of girls’ schools comes after authorities only allowed boys back into their classrooms last September, sparking global outrage and concern for the future of girls’ and women’s rights. in Afghanistan.

Save the Children Afghanistan Country Director Christopher Nyamandi said:

“Today’s decision by the Ministry of Education is a welcome – and necessary – first step in restoring girls’ rights. However, the reopening of schools for girls is only the beginning, there is now more work to be done to ensure that the authorities fulfill their obligation to children across Afghanistan.

“Resources and commitment will be needed to turn this promise into practice. For girls to go to school, we need more female teachers, facilities and classrooms. It’s a long way to go.

“Currently, more than $160 million in funding is needed to meet basic minimum education needs. With the upcoming donor conference on March 31 – which is being co-hosted by the UK, Germany and Qatar – we urge the international community to commit to this funding to keep children in school. . Afghan children need action and funds, not words, to survive.

According to an assessment conducted by Save the Children in November and December 2021, almost 40% of girls aged 10-18 were out of school, compared to 25% of boys.* Girls in Afghanistan have missed millions of school days. learning as a consequence of the closure of secondary schools.

Hasina*, 14, from Kabul province, is in sixth grade and is due to start her first year of secondary school today. Hasina and her sister were unable to attend formal school for fear of violence, but instead attended community education classes run by Save the Children. Hasina said:

*“When my brothers went to school, we were sad because they could go, and we couldn’t. ** I felt hopeless when I saw my brother getting up early to go to school… But now I can be a person equal to my brother. While he gets ready and leaves for school, so do I.*

“It is essential that women and men are educated. As much as boys want a chance to improve their lives, we girls want that chance too. Girls have the right to be educated. Education and studies completely change people’s life and future. If you have a dream, [with education] you can achieve it.

“For the girls who can’t go to school, I think they must be sad, like we were when we couldn’t go to school. If you can go to school, you will be happy. Otherwise, you will be sad and you will feel like you have lost something in your life.

Shukuria*, 28, is from a southern province in Afghanistan and was married at the age of 17 – to a man 35 years her senior – and is now the mother of five children. She had never been to school until she was 25. Shukuria is now supported by Save the Children’s Girls’ Education Classes.

Shukuria’s husband can no longer work and her eldest son, who is 12, now works in an auto repair shop to help the family make ends meet. Without any education, Shukuria struggled to find a job to support her children and her husband. On her decision to start her studies at 25, Shukuria said:

“People were scared when the power transition happened because they weren’t allowing a lot of girls to go to educational institutions. Even though they were allowed, the girls were too scared to go to class.

“These courses (from Save the Children) can help girls left behind in their studies. Education is the most important thing in life. For my children, I hope they will study, improve and be able to live their dreams. For my part, I hope to become a good teacher and serve the students of this society..*”*

Nearly 8 million school-aged children are estimated to need help to access education right now in Afghanistan – an increase from 2.6 million[i] compared to last year.[ii] Insecurity, poverty, cultural traditions, poor infrastructure, inadequate teaching materials and lack of qualified teachers continue to hamper children’s access to education.

To ensure that children still have access to education over the past six months, Save the Children has organized community education classes and provided children and teachers with learning and classroom kits. The organization also works with female high school graduates to help them become teachers and pass the university entrance exam.

Content available on:

  • Hasina*, 14, attends Save the Children community classes in Kabul:

https://www.contenthubsavethechildren.org/Package/2O4C2SSKQ4R5

  • Shakuria*, 28, is trained as a teacher by Save the Children:

https://www.contenthubsavethechildren.org/Package/2O4C2SSKQIUD

  • Contents of general schools – broll and photos of community classes:

https://www.contenthubsavethechildren.org/Package/2O4C2SSKQQPP

Notes to editors:

* The multi-sectoral needs assessment collected data from 1,409 caregivers and children in Balkh, Faryab, Sar-e-Pul, Jawzjan, Kabul, Nangarhar and Kandahar provinces. These provinces reflect those where Save the Children Afghanistan operates and where safe access is possible. The minimum sample in each province was 189 households and an equal gender distribution was ensured. The survey was conducted from November 17, 2021 to December 2, 2021 and administered in Pashto or Dari.

Save the Children has been supporting communities and protecting the rights of children across Afghanistan since 1976, including during times of conflict, regime change and natural disasters. The organization has programs in 10 provinces and works with partners in three other provinces. Since the crisis escalated in August 2021, Save the Children has scaled up its response to support the growing number of children in need, providing health, nutrition, education, child protection services , shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene, as well as support for food security and livelihoods. .

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