Education in Afghanistan
The National Education Plan (NESP) III 2017-2021 reports significant achievements since 2001 with regards to access and girls’ education. Since 2001, the number of children enrolled in General Education (grades 1-12) has risen by almost nine times, from 0.9 million (almost none of them girls) to 9.2 million with 39% girls. The number of schools has also increased from 3,400 to 16,400.
Despite these achievements, NESP III recognizes that there is still much to do with regards to equity, girls’ education and improving access and efficiency. Even with the increase in girls’ enrollment, many provinces have very low female students reported, with ranges as low as 14%. The availability of female teachers is also a challenge, with NESP III reporting an average of 33% nationwide, ranging from 74% in some provinces to as low as 1.8%.
With regards to efficiency, a major challenge is to increase the low overall primary attendance and retention (only 55% children aged 7-12 are attending), with wide disparities among provinces. Of the 42% of children aged 5-14 attending school, more than half of them (51%) are also involved in economic or household activities. NESP III highlights the importance of strategies to identify out of school children and those at risk of dropping out.