Nov 5, 2007

International Education Week IEW

Celebrating Education week: Improving lives through Education

The United nation’s Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for education set the objective to be achieved in education internationally by 2015- education for all. Under Articles 43 through 47 of its Constitution, Afghanistan is committed to provide quality education for all regardless of gender, ethnicity, language, religion, age, physical ability and geographical location.

And, as a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Afghan government is committed to the promotion and protection of it’s children’ right to education. The assurance of this right will be guaranteed only if education is available, accessible and adaptable.

Since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, great strides have been made toward reconstructing education infrastructure in Afghanistan and insuring that all children have excess to education.
More then six million children have enrolled in primary school in the last five years-a remarkable achievement, particularly for a country devastated by almost three decades years of conflict.

While much has been accomplished in this short period, a great deal of work remains. Government statistics show that Afghan children are enrolling in the first grade in great numbers, however, these statistics show that students are dropping out of school as well. Thus the challenge is not only get children into school, but to keep them enrolled. In 1384 (2005), the Ministry of Education estimates that almost 4,895,000 school-age children and adolescents were enrolled in school; in 1386 (2007), this figure reached 6 million. Consistently girls made up an average of one-third of students in grades 1-12. However, figures also reveal that those who enroll do not necessarily remain to continue their education. Nationally, the number of fourth grades enrolled in school in 2005 was 988,928; of these, 323,212 were girls.
However, just two years later this same group of students numbered only 648,359- a 28% decline.
These figures are of serious concern.
Why are children dropping out of school?
Are they forced to abandon their studies due to security issues?
Are they unsatisfied with the quality of education they are receiving?
Are an adequate number of teachers, school facilities and supplies available to all, including disabled students?

At this forum we would like to hear your concerns (children, parents, and teachers) and to help you to share your ideas and your information with those shaping the education system in Afghanistan: the Afghan government, international donors, local and international NGO’s and all interested parties.

You can find more info related to this subject in different researches, articles, briefing papers and interviews, some of them below: “Parents and Children Speak out. Is government provided basic education fulfilling children’s rights?”, HRRAC, October 2007; “looking Beyond the School Walls: Household Decision-Making and School Enrolment in Afghanistan”. AREU briefing paper, March 2006; and etc.

Below are some comments of girls and boys, their parents from different parts of Afghanistan:

“As we all know that security plays a basic role in education- if there is no security it means there is no education.” Male student in the 12 grade
“The discrimination between girls and boys should be banned. Most families give less importance to girls in favor of boys- this culture should be eradicated.” A girl from Heart city
“ My suggestion is that the teacher shuld come on time and teach the lessons.’ Girl from Kadahar Province
“What does it say that at the center of Kabul city, most students in tents and sit on the soil?” A man from Kabul city
“I started weaving rugs when I was ten. When we first came to Kabul from Iran we had terrible life. Farther said to weave rugs and I did, but now I’m so tired of this work. I weave from 6am until 5pm…I’m not going to school because I’, busy every day in weaving rugs. I’d really like to go, but my farther doesn’t let me…” 14-years-old girl, Kabul City

“…I wish my children to have a comfortable life in the future. And when people mention my name and say that my children are literate, it will make me very happy.” Mother, rural Belcharagh