KABUL (SW) – Although the education system in Afghanistan has improved significantly in recent years, girls still face many challenges in accessing education, a recent study revealed.
The Women's and Children's Rights Research Institute released a new research report titled "Assessing Girls' Access to Education, Challenges and Opportunities" conducted in six provinces today. Research findings showed that 63 percent of girls in the seventh grade drop out of school at the age of 13 to 15, 26 percent drop out after age of 15, and 10 per cent girls drop out of elementary school.
The study interviewed 1650 students, their families, education managers, school principals, teachers, and heads of district development councils, officials in the ministries of Hajj and Religious Affairs, and Women's Affairs, national and international civil activists and the Independent Human Rights Commission officials.
In this study, war and insecurity accounted for 48 percent of girls leaving school, followed by 21 percent due to outdated norms, and 31 percent due to families’ displacement and poverty.
Lack of female teachers in schools, domestic violence, poor educational quality, and street harassment are other known causes for girls leaving school.
The findings of the study showed that 64 percent of families had to stop their daughters from going to school, and another 36 percent of the students opted out of school by themselves.
The study calls on the government, the parliament and national and international institutions to increase the recruitment of female teachers in remote and rural areas, allocate funds to provincial education departments, and work with boys and men to reform abusive social and cultural beliefs.
Speaking on the occasion, Mirwais Balkhi, minister at the Ministry of Education, said approximately four million children are deprived from going to school, with 65 to 70 percent of them being girls. He cited the insecurity, poverty and outdated cultural norms as the major causes of girls leaving school. He added work has been done to address these challenges.
Minister Balkhi pointed out that out of the 6,000 proposed new schools in the country, at least 2700 schools have been completed so far, 1100 of which are dedicated to girls, and 7,500 women teachers have been recruited in schools this year.