By: Shukria Kohistani
Afghan refugees are one of the largest and longest displaced populations in the world. Three decades of recurrent conflict has led to the education of successive generations of Afghan refugee children being disrupted, discontinued or forgotten, due to a range of barriers that are largely outside their control.
But the Ministry of Education says that the private sector has established 315 schools in Pakistan, Iran, India and Tajikistan in recent years, aiming to provide education for the Afghan refugee children.
According to the ministry, the schools were stablished in line with their rules and providing education opportunities to 119, 943 refugee children where 35,692 thousand of which are girl and the remaining are boys.
They will be enrolled in higher education institutions after graduation, the ministry spokeswoman Nooria Nuzhat said, adding most of the schools were operating in Pakistan.
“We have 267 schools in Pakistan where 113,021 children studying there and another 44 schools in Iran that also provide education for 50,937 children,” she added, saying another 674 students were studying in a school in India and 311 others in Tajikistan.
The ministry spokesperson went on saying that the elementary and secondary schools were established by Afghans and that were teaching based on Afghansitan education curriculum.
“School are not free since they were established by the private sector and their rates differ in different countries,” Nuzhat added.
Hinting to instructors in these schools, the spokeswoman said that their number reach to 3267 that 422 of which are women. She also said that ministry of education was distributing the certificates to them after receiving their final marks from the related schools.
In Afghanistan, the education landscape has improved significantly since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. Enrolment rates in Afghan schools have risen, with girls’ enrolment in primary rising from less than 40 per cent to over 80 per cent and secondary rising from 5 per cent to over 34 per cent.
When Afghan refugee children are given the opportunity to access primary and secondary education, whether through public schools in their host countries or through community-based mechanisms, the positive results are self-perpetuating – not only improving the lives of individual Afghan students but those of their families, wider community and future generations.
Children and youth who access education and training are better equipped to contribute to their host communities during displacement and play their part in the development of their country of origin – as teachers, doctors, engineers or other members of the Afghan workforce. Educated girls go on to become educated mothers, who are able to support their children’s schooling, contribute financially, and address their own and their families’ health and wellbeing.
The key challenge is to ensure that all Afghan refugee girls and boys are able to consistently access primary and secondary education and training. Whilst there is still room for progress, there have been a range of innovative solutions.