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.
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The Education Quality Reform in Afghanistan program (EQRA) aims to increase equitable access to primary and secondary education, particularly girls, with a focus on selected lagging provinces, anto improve learning conditions in Afghanistan through four program components:
- Increasing equitable access to basic education, especially for girls in selected lagging provinces
- Improving learning conditions
- Strengthening education sector planning capacity and transparency
- Technical assistance and capacity building.
EQRA combines two modalities: a project financing modality, called 'investment project financing' (IPF) and a results-based financing (RBF) modality. The former is focused on inputs and outputs; the latter is focused on results. 75% of the program budget comes under the IPF modality and 25% under the RBF modality.
The IPF modality covers component 1 (school construction, a pilot for school grants and expansion of community-based education, CBE) – to be focused on 17 targeted provinces – and component 4 (technical assistance/training, ECE pilot, third party monitoring of the IPF activities). The RBF modality covers components 2 and 3 and includes 7 disbursement-linked results with corresponding indicators; these indicators are mostly sector-wide and system-wide in scope, with a focus on reform and NESP III implementation.
The results-based financing indicators that address the areas of equity, efficiency and learning are:
- Development and implementation of a teacher policy for prioritization in the hiring and allocation of teachers
- Improved EMIS data collection and quality assurance procedures implemented
- Existing textbooks distributed and teaching and learning materials for the new curriculum developed for all grades
All amounts are in US dollars.
|Grant type||Years||Allocations||Disbursements||Grant agent|
|Program implementation||2019-2024||100,000,000||0||World Bank||Progress report|
|Sector plan development||2016-2017||154,250||154,250||World Bank|
|Program development||2017-2018||200,000||0||World Bank|
|2017-2018||200,000||400,000||Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, World Bank|
GPE has also provided the Afghanistan National Education Coalition (ANEC) with a grant from the Civil Society Education Fund to support its engagement in education sector policy dialogue and citizens’ voice in education quality, equity, and financing and sector reform.
Education sector progress
The graphs below show overall progress in the education sector in Afghanistan, and GPE data shows the country progress on 16 indicators monitored in the GPE Results Framework.
Primary Completion Rate (%)
Lower secondary completion rate
Out-of-school rate for children of primary school age
Out-of-school rate for adolescents of lower secondary school age
Pre-primary gross enrollment rate
Gender parity index for out-of-school rate – Primary and lower secondary
Public Expenditure on Education as Share of GDP (%)
Students/trained teacher ratio
Teachers Trained (%)
Source: World Bank - Education Data
Data on education are compiled by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics from official responses to surveys and from reports provided by education authorities in each country.