Majority of Afghan girls are out of schools

A new survey suggests that majority of Afghan girls are dropping out of schools long before they complete 12 grade. Many Afghan parents force their girls to leave schools before they graduate high school.  

Findings by the Women and Children Rights Research Institute show 60% of Afghan girls do not go to school.  

Zarqa Yaftali, head the Women and Children Rights Research Institute, speaking at the launching ceremony of the report, on December 24, said around 1,500 participants including students, parents, teachers, officials in education sectors, Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs, civil society activists and members of the Independent Human Rights Commission in Kabul, Balkh, Parwan, Kandahar, Nangarhar, and Badakhshan were interviewed in the report.   

Zarqa Yaftali, head the Women and Children Rights Research Institute

According to the findings, girls aged between 13-18 years leave schools. The highest number of girls leaving school are aged between 13 and 15. A large number of them drop out of school at age 15.

18 years of conflict have led to closing of schools in many rural areas of the country. An estimated two-thirds of Afghan girls do not go to school as security in the country has been worsening—a decline in girls’ education in Afghanistan.

A large number of all schools in Afghanistan do not have buildings. Many Afghan children are living too far from the nearest school to be able to attend, which particularly affects girls who are often kept at home due to harmful gender norms.

The report notes that despite significant achievements made in the Afghan education sector, a large number of Afghan girls are facing many challenges when it comes to girls’ education.

Why do girls leave school?

Insecurity, poverty, war, lack of female teachers and girls’ schools are believed to be main factors behind girls’ drop out from schools.

The report shows that 64 percent of girls are forced by circumstances to leave school, and 36 percent of them decide to leave school for various reasons.

Security, however, remains the biggest challenge against girls’ education throughout the country. 48.6 percent of Afghan girls, who have left school, said they were afraid of conflicts and war.  49 percent of Afghan girls, who are in school, express deep concern over security, calling it the main challenge.

21 percent of respondents say improper social practices, lack of female teachers, domestic violence, street harassment, and long-distance between their homes and schools are the challenges that force Afghan girls to give up school.   

Mohammad Mirwais Balkhi, the acting minister at the Ministry of Education, says that 65-70 percent of Afghan girls do not go to school. He promised that the Ministry of Education will do its best to remove all barriers ahead of girls’ education.

War, insecurity, lack of proper facilities, harmful gender norms are the main reasons behind girls’ drop out from school. Many Afghan families prioritize boys’ education over girls’.

Afghanistan is a country where a large number of girls marry before age 18, and child marriage forces many girls out of education. Child marriage, a deeply harmful practice, force many Afghan girls to leave school.

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