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.”
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The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) director and representative in Afghanistan, Patricia McPhillips, on Sunday said 90 percent of women and 63 percent of men in the country’s villages are not able to read or compute.
Addressing the Award Ceremony of the 2016 Bibigul UNESCO Literacy Prize, she said the number of those who cannot read, write or compute is more than 11 million.
“According to the National Literacy Action Plan, the estimated national adult literacy rates for those above 15 years old is 34 percent with 18 percent for women and 15 percent for men. In rural areas the situation is even more acute. An estimated 90 percent of Afghan women and 63 percent of men cannot, read, write or compute,” she said.
Meanwhile, Education Minister Assadullah Hanif Balkhi said almost 80 percent of illiterate citizens in Afghanistan are women.
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