KabuL: Almost sixty three percent of schoolgirls aged between 13 and 15 drop out of school in Afghanistan, according to a survey published by a rights watchdog on Tuesday, a revelation that buttresses the argument that education still remains an inaccessible right for 3.7 million of children across the country.
Despite all decade-long achievements in education sector in Afghanistan, many challenges still engulf girls’ access to education. Against the backdrop of the problems that stymie education sector, ratio of literate girls is inconsequential compared to that of boys – 44% lower, according to the survey which was compiled after interviews with more than a thousand students, parents, teachers, school heads, and civil society and human rights agencies in five main provinces.
Reasons behind school dropouts
The survey indicates that family members – men mostly – decide for 64% of these schoolgirls to leave school, whereas 36% of them do it for other reasons. It blames 48% of the problem on war and insecurity, 21% on lack of female teachers, family violence, long distances and street harassments, and 31% on displacements and poverty.
The watchdog called on government to implement a national plan to prevent from child marriage and do more to streamline girls’ education. The parliament was also asked to earmark more budget and to prioritize education of girls.
Education minister Mirwais Balkhi, who attended a ceremony on the occasion, confirmed the survey and argued that some work has been and will be done to address the issue. He mentioned a new policy for education of girls and women, erecting more schools for girls, employment of more women teachers, prioritizing women in literacy programs and providing healthcare services as part of his efforts to tackle hurdles ahead of schoolgirls.
This is as a similar survey last month revealed that 2/3rd of Afghan children are too scared to go outside especially schools because of the many risks including possibilities of explosions, kidnappings and armed conflict, a fear that haunts girls more than boys.