Tackling barriers before girls’ education a must

Education is one of the most influential tools overcoming poverty and raising standard of living; it produces human capital, one of the scarcest resources, for a nation. Although, Afghanistan has a good progress in the education sector, there is a marked difference between the enrolment rates between males and females in the country.
A recent finding of the Women and Children Legal Research Foundation (WCLRF), which conducted research in Kabul, Parwan, Balkh, Badakhshan, Nangarhar and Kandahar reveal that 62 percent of Afghan girls leave school between 13 and 15 years of age for various reasons.
The WCLRF said that of the 12,000 female students who were studying in the seventh-grade class, only 6,000 of them later graduated from their schools, which is a much higher dropout rate than for boys. Out of all the children deprived of education, 60 percent of them are girls, and literacy among girls is much lower than that of boys.
Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah told the gathering on this occasion that war, poverty, forced marriage, “undesirable culture” and domestic violence are the main causes that girls do not attend school. “In provinces and districts— in cooperation with the Ministry of Education—the necessary activity should take place,” he said.
Indeed, there are many barriers to female education in Afghanistan. Educating girls is critical for any country, especially for Afghanistan as a developing country, because it can improve its living standard. Also, educating girls, reduce their fertility rates and they can better manage childbearing.
In addition, more educated females seek earlier parental care when they are pregnant, an approach that can reduces maternal mortality. In terms of economic benefits, it helps the country to benefit from the labor and intellect of half of its population and can make GDP from another half of its population.
But the women right activists have called early marriage and teenage pregnancy as the most negative impact on female education, particularly for higher education of them. Often families may arrange a marriage for their daughter while she is still in her teenage years, and it interrupt their education path in most cases. The daughter may also become pregnant early.
Afghansitan has made eye-catching progress in different areas, in particular in education sector, but much efforts still required to tackle cultural barriers in remote areas and pave the way for education of the girls.
Girls’ education faces numerous barriers in Afghanistan, including economic, negative social attitude, early marriage, child marriage and lack of health of sexual health information. To enable half of the society, to realize its potentials, the Afghan government shall develop and implement a comprehensive strategy based on the lessons learned from the other countries having the same challenges as Afghanistan.
If we do not change our views towards education, especially for girls’ education, then international efforts and millions of dollars in aid would not change our country. A committed and expert human resource needed to control and manage the opportunities created and help develop the war-torn country. If we fail to change the mentality of coming generations through convergent educational system, we should not expect to have a free and strong Afghanistan.

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