Afghan children must have access to education, says UN agency
Despite assurances that they are ‘committed to the right to education of all citizens’, the Taliban-led government in Afghanistan announced earlier this week that it would not allow girls to attend school secondary until further notice.
In response to this development, Director of Education Cannot Wait (ECW), Yasmine Sherif, said that to support a peaceful and prosperous future for all Afghans, the de facto authorities must guarantee the right to education for all children and adolescents across the country.
Ensuring that girls and boys can return to school, including resuming access for adolescent girls to secondary education, is essential for the country’s development, she said.
ECW is the United Nations Global Fund for Education in Emergencies and Protracted Crises.
While boys have been able to access primary and secondary school since the Taliban takeover in August 2021, girls’ access to education has been limited to primary school in most Afghan provinces, said she declared.
With this announcement, a whole generation of Afghan children and adolescents could be left behind.
Afghanistan is facing a catastrophic humanitarian crisis, with more than half of the population – 24.4 million people – in need of humanitarian assistance and protection. Today, an estimated eight million school-age children need urgent support to access education.
This is a crucial moment for the de facto authorities to keep their commitments. The time has come to realize the right to education for all girls and boys in the country. Knowledge is the backbone of any thriving nation, Yasmine added.
ECW has supported community education in Afghanistan since 2018, working with strategic partners from the UN system, donors and civil society, to reach children in the most challenging contexts.
The ECW-supported multi-year resilience program focused on the most marginalized children, including female teachers and girls’ education, with 60% of all children reached being girls.
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