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30.07.2007 - Source: ReliefWeb
According to the UN attacks against Afghan schools continue to disrupt education ("Attacks against Afghan schools continue to disrupt education - UN"), Author: United Nations News Service [ID 20693]
26.11.2004 - Source: UN General Assembly
Report focused on political developments, security situation (disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, police and justice reform) human rights situation, health and nutrition, voluntary repatriation and reintegration ("Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security - Emergency international assistance for peace, normalcy and reconstruction of war-stricken Afghanistan A/59/581 S/2004/925") [#27496], [ID 233]
"55. The reactivation of the national primary-education system has been an important success of the immediate post-conflict period. Building on this, the Government’s strategic focus in 2004 has been on improving the quality and content of the education package. This involved significant support from UNICEF in teacher training and upgrading, the provision of school materials and the application of curriculum reform policies. UNICEF, with the Ministry of Education, distributed teaching and learning materials to 4.2 million schoolchildren and 74,466 teachers. Efforts are being made to ensure smoother and more consistent salary payments to teaching staff, and particular attention is being given to securing girls’ access to education outside of the main urban centres. The focus on developing the capacity of educational authorities in the provinces has intensified, which is similar to what has occurred in respect of other social services."
2004 - Source: UN Development Programme
Literacy rate in Afghanistan among the lowest; attendance of primary schoolds has increased; however, girls' enrolment remains very low ("Human Development Report 2004 - Security with a Human Face: Challenges and Responsibilities") [#29245], [ID 232]
"The literacy rate in Afghanistan today is one of the lowest among developing countries, above only Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali (See Table 2.3). Compared to neighbouring countries, Afghanistan has the lowest literacy rate. However, in terms of gross enrolment, its rate is higher than that of Pakistan by almost 8 per cent (44.93 per cent as apposed to 37 per cent for Pakistan).
According to the UNICEF/CSO MICS, only 28.7 per cent of Afghans over age 15 can read and write. The current primary enrolment ratio is estimated to be about 54.4 per cent, girls’ primary school enrolment is still only 40.5 per cent of the total. So not only are the rates of literacy and primary enrolment extremely low, they are also skewed towards male literacy (See Chart 2.6 p.21 and Chart 2.7 p.22).
Three years ago, the enrolment figures for Afghanistan stood below 30 per cent. Enrolment declined throughout the 1990s, largely as a result of war, the destruction of schools, exile and the restrictive policies of the Taliban. However, this trend has been reversed recently. In 2002, more than 3 million students were enroled in grades 1–12, which was beyond the Government’s expectations of 1.5 million. Last year’s “Back to School” campaign entailed urgent provision of student and teacher kits, including 10 million textbooks. The total school enrolment is now 3.7 million children, 30 per cent of whom are girls. Still, a third of the children are not in school, while the other two-thirds study under mainly primitive conditions. (See Table 2.4 for some other important education-related statistics).
Despite the major achievement in increasing enrolment, over 61 per cent of children are not enroled in school in provinces such as Farah, Nimruz, Helmand, Kandahar, Zabul, Paktika, Uruzgan, Badghis and Nuristan, while in Kabul, Balkh, Herat and Badakhshan less than 30 per cent of children are not enroled. On girls’ enrolment, the situation is even more alarming. In provinces such as Farah, Helmand, Kandahar, Zabul, Paktika, Khost, Paktia, Uruzgan, Ghor and Badghis, over 80 per cent of girls are not in school (See Map 2.1 and Map 2.2). (Chapter 2, p. 28)"
05.11.2003 - Source: Institute for War and Peace Reporting
Due to a law from the mid-70s banning married women from the classroom, thousands of young Afghan women have been expelled from school ("Wives Face School Ban") [#17459], [ID 234]
15.10.2003 - Source: Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit
Massive efforts made to restore and expand education services, through facility improvements and hiring new teachers, but little attention paid to improving the quality of education through real reform ("How Government Works in Afghanistan: A Study of Sub-National Administration") [#17759], [ID 235]
"In education, massive efforts have been made to restore and expand education services, through facility improvements and hiring new teachers, but little attention has yet been paid to improving the quality of education through real reform. Immediate ‘phase 1’ efforts are needed to establish a planning capacity,particularly at the provincial and district levels, including the development of data on school age population, catchment areas, as well as data on informal schooling. Actions are also needed at the national level to initiate a dialogue on identifying the problems and priorities for change. Beyond this, it is at the community level that driving reform can be most effective. As part of phase 2, consideration should be given to providing school improvement grants to local communities, and encouraging them to create school improvement plans. In the medium-term, capitation grants for non-salary expenditures such as textbooks could be given directly to schools."
02.10.2003 - Source: UN Children's Fund
Entrance of more than 1 million girls into the Afghan school system since the fall of the Taliban reported ("UNICEF celebrates Afghanistan's "million girl mark"") [#16541], [ID 236]
12.09.2003 - Source: EurasiaNet
Report on the situation of education in Afghanistan ("Eurasia Insight: Afghanistan Battles to Restore Educational Opportunities") [#16122], [ID 237]
"Some statistics indicate that Afghanistan is facing an educational bottleneck. A particular cause for concern is the fact that up to 50 percent of all students enrolled this year are in the first grade.
Optimistic forecasters say that the Afghan lost generation can make a fast educational recovery by utilizing new technologies, especially the Internet. Edward A. Friedman, a Stevens Institute of Technology professor who served as dean of Kabul University’s engineering faculty in the 1970s, believes this. “What was done in the past in 30 years can now be done in five years,” he says.
Fast progress, however, presumes a sound education infrastructure. At present, higher education institutions in Kabul have only modest Internet access. American schools, including Purdue University, are working to expand this access. A joint effort between France and the United Nations Development Program has helped open Internet-enabled Telekiosks in post offices and UNDP is also teamed up with Cisco Systems, a large California networking company, to train network operators. Even if information technology brings some teens up to their proper reading level, the question of equal access to educational opportunities will remain. Outside Kabul, very few Afghans have any access to computers- or electricity. According to the World Bank, 70 percent of schools need repairs. Donors are expanding their use of radio to reach beyond urban areas, especially for teacher training, but analysts say that regional disparities will remain stubborn into the foreseeable future."
09.09.2003 - Source: Integrated Regional Information Network
Multi-million dollar project designed to address some of the needs of Afghan youth; 70% of 2 million unemployed Afghans are the youth who have been deprived of education during the years of war, mainly during the Taliban time ("Multi-million dollar programme to address Afghan youth") [#15947], [ID 238]
23.02.2003 - Source: ReliefWeb
School rehabilitation programme to increase learning spaces across Afghanistan ("School rehabilitation programme to increase learning spaces across Afghanistan") [#28900], [ID 239]
"Efforts to increase the number of learning spaces in Afghanistan are underway in a drive to improve physical facilities for children expected to flood back to the classrooms when the new term begins in March.
At the heart of these efforts is a partnership with the Ministry of Education, UNICEF and the United Nations Office of Project Services (UNOPS) to rehabilitate at least 200 primary schools across Afghanistan in 2003, with a special emphasis on areas of the country where large numbers of people have returned from overseas. The partnership is investing US$8.4 million and initial assessments have been undertaken on schools in the north, south and east of the country with work already underway on three schools in the eastern region. The collaboration with UNOPS will also see water and sanitation facilities provided in 500 schools and the refurbishment of 32 hospital buildings. Funding for the school rehabilitation programme has been provided through the Japanese Government's Ogata Initiative. [...]"
10.12.2002 - Source: ReliefWeb
Access to education ("Afghanistan Transitional Administration and United Nations Humanitarian and Reconstruction Cooperation, 2002") [#12612], [ID 240]
"The Ministry of Education with UN and NGO support launched a back-to-school campaign to help 1.78 million children return to school by 23 March 2002. Basic educational supplies (i.e. student kits, teacher kits, school-in-the-box and blackboards) have been provided to a total of 1,780,000 children and 70,000 teachers at 4,500 schools during the March 2002 distribution. Initial results show that up to nearly twice that number of children may have returned, exceeding all expectations. The Ministry of Education (MoE) with UN support is now working to provide more supplies to schools and to accelerate the distribution of school textbooks and teaching resources to meet the additional needs. For the September school term, stationery materials were provided for 1.2 million primary and 300,000 secondary school children as well as for 300,000 teachers.
Out of the 74,000 teachers almost 27% are women. Over 40,000 teachers have received orientation in the use of new teaching materials.
Support to the University of Kabul provided for university entrance examinations of 20,000 students, and the establishment of campus Internet facilities. Classes have begun.
Ongoing information and advocacy campaigns carried out for returnees and IDPs at encashment centres to raise awareness on issues of reintegration. Rehabilitation of the Ariana Women's Vocational Centre, as well as the provision of materials and equipment to support several hundred new enrolments."
10.12.2002 - Source: ReliefWeb
Supplies and Systems Development ("Afghanistan Transitional Administration and United Nations Humanitarian and Reconstruction Cooperation, 2002") [#12612], [ID 241]
"Establishment of the Education Logistics Centre to operate as the supply and distribution centre for schools across the country catering for 1.2 million children at primary school ages and 300,000 secondary school students. The main workforce consists of MoE employees - a total of 200 people, 30 of which are women.
Over eight million textbooks have been distributed along with 1.8 million supplementary teaching materials.
Provision of 8,500 tents to ensure additional learning spaces across the country.
300 provincial and district level warehouses have been rehabilitated to assist in the ongoing distribution of school materials as more children return.
Home-based and community schools that remained open during winter were supported with 400 schools-in-a-box, sufficient for 32,000 students and 720 recreation kits for 30,000 children for these
A Food for Education programme was launched with 150,000 school children benefiting from on-site feeding and take-home rations, with a special emphasis on closing the gender gap by encouraging
parents to send their girls to school.
Ongoing installation of water and sanitation facilities in 1,000 schools (wells, handpumps and latrines); rehabilitation of 500 damaged schools. A total of 102 schools will have been rehabilitated by the end of 2002, and another 102 are in preparation.
The Programme Secretariat for the MoE also supported the Ministry to develop policies and priorities in the education sector as well as a rehabilitation plan of the sector."
06.09.2002 - Source: Institute for War and Peace Reporting
IWPR: Education Ministry presents new plan to rebuild school system - teachers, struggling with small salaries, are skeptical ("Education Boost") [#28901], [ID 242]
"The Afghan government has unveiled ambitious plans to revolutionise the crumbling schools system, but teachers and pupils have little reason to believe the programme will succeed.
A school rebuilding programme, a review of teachers' pay and more education for girls are part of a massive 350-project plan - which will cost up to a billion US dollars - revealed by Education Minister Mohammad Yonus Qanunee.
[...] "Aid organisations will implement these projects and will also be responsible for their budgets," he said.
Under the plans, teachers would have access to housing, be paid on time, and be given vouchers to help with food and transport costs. As well as an increase in the number of girls' schools, vital equipment such as chairs, books and stationery will be provided for all students.
The announcement comes as problems in the hard-pressed education sector mount, with morale amongst students and teachers at rock-bottom.
[...] Teachers in the provinces have been facing such hardships that many have decided to leave the profession altogether. "We have lost patience with the authorities," said Fazil Rehman, principle of the Narkh High School in Wardak province 25 km west of Kabul.
[...] "A teacher is paid 1,800,000 Afghanis a month - around 45 dollars. The salaries are not paid on time and it is not even worth mentioning the health problems. Our teachers have a very tough life."
Some educationalists question whether the new plans will be properly funded. Nargeesa, a teacher at Fatima-tul-Zehra school in Wardak, is suspicious of what happens to foreign aid money. "I don't believe the officials spend the cash properly. Most of it is going in private pockets for their own purposes," she said.
Qanunee has rejected such claims, and announced that the education ministry's accounts will to be thrown open to public scrutiny so that teachers and officials could see where the money was being spent.
[...] More than 7,500 schools were destroyed during the years of conflict. There are only 65,000 teachers for three million students - another 1.5 million want to go to school but are being denied by a lack of staff and facilities."
25.07.2002 - Source: Institute for War and Peace Reporting
IWPR: Afghans donate millions to try to revive schools ("Digging Deep for Education") [#28902], [ID 243]
"The cash-strapped education ministry, struggling to get the country's schools back on their feet after years of neglect, has appealed to ordinary Afghans to bail it out. In a sign of the high value people here place on education, Afghans from all walks of life have rallied to the cause, raising over five million US dollars - about six per cent of the government's total projected revenues for this year - over the last two weeks.
Deputy Minister of Education Moyeen Marastyal said his department was forced to ask the public for help because money provided by UN agencies and NGOs was not enough to address the debilitating problems faced by the country's schools. The initiative has been so successful that other ministries are looking into whether they could do the same. Abdul Qayoom, president of the National Afghan Bank, said its offices in New York, Hamburg, Islamabad, Quetta and Peshawar have been accepting donations, mainly from Afghan expatriates. There have been a number of high profile donations. Rajab Ali, the ambassador in Japan, gave 25,000 US dollars. [...]
Marastyal admits the appeal funds are little more than a drop in the ocean of Afghanistan's educational needs. The ministry has to repair or completely rebuild some 3,000 of the 4,300 schools in the country - accommodating around two and a half million primary and secondary students - and somehow provide for the extra one million children who've been registered for school since the fall of the Taleban.
A needs assessment carried out by the United Nations Development Programme in December last year estimated that 650 million dollars assistance would be needed over the next five years to help get the education system back on its feet.
The dire state of the education sector becomes clear as soon as you get outside the capital. At Narkh High School, 40 km west of Kabul, makeshift classrooms have been built out of woven straw. But they cannot house all the pupils and some sit outside on rocks in summer temperatures of 37 degrees centigrade, without shade or any readily available drinking water available.
Mohammad Ayan Mamozi, a teacher at the school, says there are 34 teachers for 2,000 pupils, a ratio of about 60 to 1. A Swedish NGO pays 18 dollars a month to 10 of the teachers but the others are currently working for free, in the hope that eventually the government will find the money to pay them. "We hope our school can get some of the assistance given by the public in this appeal," said Mamozi."
Library of Congress: The educational system ("Library of Congress: Afghanistan - A Country Study (Data as of 1997)") [ID 245]
Short chapters on the following issues: Literacy, Administrative Structure, Enrollment, Curriculum, Teacher Training, Higher Education, Adult Literacy, Current Activities; Status: 1997
"Two parallel educational systems function in Afghanistan. Traditional Islamic madrassa found in towns and villages teach children basic moral values and ritual knowledge through the study of the Holy Koran, the Hadith (Sayings of the Prophet Mohammad), and popular edited religious texts. Higher level madrassa located in Herat, Kunduz, Ghazni, Kandahar and Kabul were known as important learning centers. Leading religious leaders also attended famous madrassa in India such as the renowned establishment located at Deoband."