Two-thirds of girls in Afghanistan currently do not attend school, according to a new report from Human Rights Watch (HRW).
According to 132-page HRW report released on Wednesday, 41 percent of all schools in Afghanistan do not have buildings.
“Many children live too far from the nearest school to be able to attend, which particularly affects girls. Girls are often kept at home due to harmful gender norms that do not value or permit their education,” the report said.
Since the collapse of the Taliban in 2001 and the beginning of international civilian efforts to rebuild the country, girls’ education has become a focal point for both the Afghan government and its major donors.
The HRW report said that the Afghan government and its donors have made “impressive progress” in getting girls to attend school, but it was “not a completed task.”
The report examines the major barriers that remain in the quest to get all girls into school, and keep them there through secondary school.
“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 report finds.
The ongoing conflict “discourages families from letting their children leave home and families usually have less tolerance for sending girls to school” in an insecure environment, the report said, adding that “a single attack can frighten hundreds of girls’ parents out of sending them for years to come.”
The Afghan Education Ministry, however, said that it has plans for the improvement of girls attending schools.
“Appointing 30 thousand teachers at schools is a part of these plans,” said Education Ministry Spokesman, Mujib Mehrdad. “The other [plan] is to enhance the girls’ presence in education management and schools.”