The Need for Education in Afghanistan

You may have read on this blog about how we truly believe that even one pencil can change a child’s life. Some people may think that this is a ridiculous claim, perhaps not understanding just how dire the situation has become for education in Afghanistan.

Beginning with the Soviet invasion in 1979, successive wars all but completely destroyed the education system in Afghanistan. Teachers fled the country leaving only about 650 functioning schools, and the Taliban regime which rose to power in the wake of the conflict banned all education for girls. After the overthrow of Taliban leadership new schools were established, but they continued to be a target for conflict and Taliban activity forced the closure of 35 percent of schools in southern provinces.

A class being taught outside (courtesy of e-architect).

A class being taught outside (courtesy of e-architect).

As of 2006, 57 percent of men and 87 of women were illiterate. 8 million students were in school, including 3 million girls, but conditions were still very poor and education was still inconsistent, with no standard curriculum, and heavily dependent on religious schools. Many of the teachers did not meet basic qualifications.

As of today, there has been improvement but the country still very much needs help. Only 40 percent of schools that have been established have buildings, let alone supplies for the students. The teachers often work without salaries. And yet the students are there, achieving record numbers for the country.

We aim to help give these children a chance, providing them with much needed support. With our help we can create a better atmosphere for education, a better life for students, and continue progress in a country crippled from years at war.

In Oqa's mosque, where a blackboard is all the remains after the town was told they would receive teachers and assitance. Image by Anna Badkhen, Oqa, Afghanistan, 2011

In Oqa's mosque, where a blackboard is all the remains after the town was told they would receive teachers and assistance. Image by Anna Badkhen, Oqa, Afghanistan, 2011

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