Afghanistan’s education revolution

The education of women in Afghanistan has seen a radical change in only the last four years. Even before Taliban rule, most girls in the country would not have finished school.

However, in Pashtun Zarghun, a district in Herat province to the west of Afghanistan and near Iran, there has been improvements in the number of girls completing their education.

Three girls studying at a school in the district told Al Jazeera reporters that they believed the current education revolution that has struck Pashtun Zarghun was a great step forwards for the entire community.

The three girls stated that they each wanted to become a teacher so that they could continue the hard work their current teachers are doing and to improve the standards of education for women.

The rural district has seen a dramatic change in the levels of female education, with over 16,000 girls now enrolled fulltime in schools.

Although with more girls being educated in the area than ever before, resources for classes have started running low. Often the girls must be taught in overcrowded tents and there is currently a shortage of qualified teachers.

In the district there are currently 57 girls in school for every one teacher available to educate them.

Heret province did ask the Ministry of Education in Kabul for an additional 2,000 teachers, but they received just 700.

Only 100 teachers in the district are women, showing a need for more females to enter into the teaching profession in the area. Perhaps this is why so many of the girls attending school in Pashtun Zarghun want to break into the education industry themselves.

The majority of girls are taken out of education once they reach the age of 14.

Currently there are 30 girls in their final year of school education this year, which is more than double the number that were in 12th grade 11 years ago.

These girls will be preparing to take their university entrance examinations soon, but they should be joined by another 1,200 girls who have been pulled out of education for a number of different reasons.

Despite this, the rural district of Pashtun Zarghun has taken great strides towards getting girls to remain in education and go onto university.

The district has seen little of the billions of dollars of foreign aid that has been donated to Afghanistan over the past 11 years.

However, head of education in the district, Mohammed Daoud, has stated that Pashtun Zarghun has, and will continue to, take great steps forward in its “revolution of education”.


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