Poverty and cultural attitudes are seen as the two largest barriers to educational opportunities for children in Afghanistan. These attitudes, compounded by the harsh and insecure physical environment of the country have a significant, negative, impact on the development of educational opportunities, particularly for girls. Access has increased significantly over the past 10 years; however, around 4.2 million children are still out of school. Approximately 60% of those 4.2 million children were girls and retention is an ongoing challenge, with 42% of girls who enroll in grade 1 dropping out before completing their primary education. Almost half of formal government schools lack buildings and it is often difficult for children in rural areas to access, some walking for long distances in order to attend school. Less than one third of teachers are officially qualified, with many not even having completed their own secondary education. This situation is worse in rural areas and among female teachers.
What we do
Save the Children works with the Ministry of Education to establish Community Based Education Classes and support for formal schools for children in Grades 1-3. These classes are held close to the centre of the community and enables girls who have not been able to attend school to do so. Accelerated Learning Classes provide an opportunity for older children to attend classes, aimed at facilitating their return to the formal education system. The programme helps them to complete the first 6 years of primary school in 3 years, enabling them to join a secondary school in Grade 7.
Save the Children is also working with the Ministry of Education to develop an Early Childhood Education policy. Our Early Childhood Care and Development centres are community based for children aged 3-6 years complete with a library box at each centre. In addition to activities for children, parenting classes are also made available for parents to discuss topics such as child labour, child nutrition, and language development.
Save the Children has set up 350 Community Based Education/Accelerated Learning Classes and 547 Early Childhood Care and Development centers in 7 provinces, each supported by the community. Through these programmes we have supported and provided education opportunities for 101,394 beneficiaries (children and adults).