Educational Challenges Faced By Afghanistan Education Essay

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Afghanistan is one of the worst educational records in entire world, due to the low school attendance rate and huge amount of illiterate Afghanistan people. According to universal declaration of human right, everyone has right to education freely and elementary education is compulsory for everyone [1] . Furthermore, it is a high relate problem in the continuity development of Afghanistan, since human's personality can been effectively developed and to strengthening the sense of human rights and respect. In this project, I will analysis the historically accomplishments and the facing challenges of Afghanistan's education system. Passing through the Taleban government's harsh govern, the Soviet war and the civil war, the education scheme had been totally destroyed and a completely disaster of all Afghanistan people. Not only the Afghanistan education, there has a huge gap between female and male - gender discrimination, although there has not visible rules or regulations to forbid young girls study, lower than 40% of girls enrolled in primary school currently [2] . Last not least, I will explore the fundamental education mishap via the gaps and challenges mention above, follow by the synthesize opinions.


Ministry of education of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan deems that education is a basement for stability, reconstruction and evolution with the war-ravaged country [3] . In fact, Afghanistan education was very highly regarded before the Former Soviet Union forces entered Afghanistan in 1979, afterwards its states starting decline. Moreover, Taleban inflict restrictions the Afghan education and emphasised the religion education, to let the Afghanistan back to older mullahs' education system, teaching the religious precepts of Koran, reading and writing and so on. In spite of the turbulence of Afghanistan has been stable gradually, the fundamental issues of education do exist unchangeably. Regarding on different aspects within Afghanistan, gaps identified and analysed concluded four topical areas: Judicature and politics; the quality of education; Education opportunities; Sustainability of development and amendment.

John Rawls [4] claims that each person has equivalent claim to a fully adequate scheme of basic rights and liberties. Everyone has freedom to get information, and no one can forbid the opportunities of study. In addition, the improvement of education systems actually can drive the sense of human right development and national prosperities' empowerment.


In my observation, the human rights development record is dark with the gender discrimination field and historical culture background both lead the Afghanistan to low education expansion currently. After the war baptism, people in Afghanistan are fear to let children study in school since threats and attacks by suspected Taleban supporters. Via the internet research and books of John Rawls, it clearly for us to categories the human rights problem in Afghanistan. According to the database of Ministry of Education in Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and some organization, such as United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), it supports our study case and assists our analysis in civil equality. On the other hand, I will relate other trustable research in order to clarify and provide insight into specific conversations. The research paper is for academic purpose only, and it is not to provide any substantial stance to eliminate the historical, complicate challenges, but to discuss about the sensitive topic.

Theoretical framework:

The project provides a snap shot to learning the accomplishments in wide variety areas of education in Afghanistan, and has a dig at emphasize some challenges of serious consequences and hence coming out recommendations for improve the overall national power and human sense in equal opportunities. In my consideration, challenges or gaps caused by the uncertain environment and the crucial reasons are mainly focus on the four fields, such as historical culture background, the current social environment, the communication gap, the legal structure and policy etc. For guiding we to the centre circumstances and bring ourselves into the problem of human rights. Justice is fairness since it shows how a society organizing in fair and equitably and "meets the principles of free and equal, person assent to under circumstances what are fair situation". [5] Until recently, female in Afghanistan were denied the right to study in school, and lower than half girls are in educated. The situational approach helps me to explore in depth with the Afghanistan education development.


Since the research project is an excited task for me, and I have decided carefully with my research topic. Also, I am an outsider might limited me in the revealed period. To process and handle the information learning in course, and develop to the related case, surprisingly it's a great chance to finish an individual task and getting experience in near future's carrier. But, the limitation face is it can't only rely on resource in library's database, the internet search can provide a variety selection and official search which can help for our own project.

The major purpose this paper concerned is not shows the concrete prescriptions to solve the complex issues, but invite discussion about this neglected topic.

Critical educational challenges in Afghanistan:

In facts, there are still a numerous challenges ruin millions of Afghanistan adults and children the opportunity had quality, systematic education. Obvious constraints like insurgency attacks, Taliban threats, and refugee or returnee states factors, have continually cause the low level of education in Afghanistan. Moreover, it highly related to the legal framework of Afghanistan, educational quality, opportunity to admission and the sustainability of development and amendment. In other words, it has many different aspects to cause these four large issues in Afghanistan's education system. Below I will separately discuss the current states of them and the major gaps in education system.

Judicature and politics:

Past-to-current judicature and politics environment

Education in Afghanistan was not significantly low from past time; King Zahir Shah (from 1933 to 1973) had paid a large effort in education improvement, building the primary schools available for 12 years below children, further developing the secondary school and continue expanding the national university system. Afterwards, since the Soviet invasion war begins at 1979, this war was virtually damaged the whole Afghanistan education system. [6] Teachers in this country gradually fled Afghanistan during the Soviet's occupation and the subsequent civil war. In addition, Taliban regime controls the Afghanistan political systems after the war, and starting forbidden the females' education in 1996 and set rule to restrict the education systems and information. Assist by American army, Taliban regime system collapsed in 2001, the New interim government tried to reconstruct the education system and restore the school. But the Taliban threat remain unchanged for female education, they attack the female teachers and students in school and control some schools to forbidden female study right. And the threat was continue now since the vicious power cannot stop and many leaders of Taliban still controlling the Taliban proponents activities.

According to the ministry of education in Afghanistan constitution, the education is important their country and play a role as basic right for all people of study and they has the obligation to provide the free, safety education. Furthermore, the current educational systems' state that the education services for all girls and boys from grade 1 to 9 is compulsory. [7] On the other hand, the education institution expected that, the teachers will plan to be increased by 50%, 70% will been passed national competency test, the new net primary grade enrolment rate for males and females will more than 75% and 60%. [8] The new government and their regulations were trying to increase the equal right for female children to study instead of the Taliban regime's forbidden restrictions. It is a positive and great method to building the equality social environment for Afghanistan.

From the graph provide by the Afghanistan central statistics office in the Afghanistan statistical yearbook 2002, the current participation rate of the girls to enter schools is eventually lower than boys. Since the issue of the after two major wars, damaged the education system of Afghanistan and the challenge for government to reconstructed it, is difficult and challenging to them.

Challenge of Judicature and politics environment

In my analysis, although the government has great confidents to achieve the goal of Afghanistan education development, the invisible or visible insurgent attacks and threats by Taliban insurgents are still existed and continue affect children to access school. In other words, it has not any policy to protect children from the emergency situation in Afghanistan. Around 5 million children have not access school or quit education under the circumstances forced. [9] Another critical point is, no classify Judicature and politics arrangements being there to guarantee the meaningful capacity improvement and the safety of the institution-building development and education activities. Not only the existed and more build schools improve the access rate of education, but they need the safe schools and education environment to study.

Educational quality

In fact, though 2002 thousands of teachers were recruited for providing education to a huge number of children, unfortunately most of them were not qualified for the test of educational services; furthermore, female teachers were distributed to remote, rural area of Afghanistan to served or even unserved to education system. It is not sufficient source of teachers in Afghanistan to provide standardization education, at the same time textbooks and teaching materials in children's hands were not enough and they need to share the materials all the time. In addition, the majority of children in around 11 thousands of schools still have the problem of insufficient teaching materials and textbooks. It intensively impacts the educational quality for both children and teachers.

The current situation of quality of education

Recently, the Afghanistan government's education department has paid efforts in reforming the existing education quality, to enhance teachers' ability and profession, also produce more qualified teachers inject to educational serves. Hence, a district teacher training program (DT3- national program on In-service teacher Training, NPITT) in order to improve the profession and become a training provider to support the administrators and teachers in running education serves.

TTCs teacher training colleges was an underway course for students to become a qualify teachers, which increase the production of teachers and enhance the existing teachers. Two systems provide the incentive program for students finish their study and give an opportunity to teach after the graduation. Since 2003, a new curriculum for education has been implemented for primary level education. This new curriculum developing the systematic and generalization for education, it can help the irregular education quality to improve the overall performance of the teachers.

Issues to develop quality education

Teachers related issues

Over eight thousands teachers teaching in approximately 300 schools were damaged or closed down because of insurgencies and Taliban related threat, teachers cannot reached and be provided the professional or training development support. Teachers and supporters were faced with difficult challenges to bring them to safer places from the centres of the provinces. Furthermore, there were over 4000 teachers in insecure districts have not be registered and facing the dangerous teaching environment. Due to fear of insurgents and threats, teachers not come to centre of province in reduce the risk being killed for participating the education institute's registration and assessment programs.

Disaster or threat management challenges

On the other hand, teachers and school staffs have no special training or solution to dealing with the threat and insurgency attacks. There were thousands of risky invisible mines and bombs lurked to cause an unrecoverable disaster to schools and people. Even the natural disasters or incidents, they need training for handle these kinds of situation to keep their personal safety and security. Crisis education is deficient in both teachers' training programs and the schools' curriculum.

Psychosocial issues

Although there was continuity threat and suffered from extreme violence and aggressions, it have no policy or programs focus about the psychosocial affect and have not specific training systems to handle this problem. Furthermore, many war-traumatized individuals and emotionally affected people were waiting support and orientation within the education system. Only small group of organizations provided the training and courses to cope the psychosocial problem, this non-stop issue still exposed with insurgency attacks or threat. Many teachers and students are afraid to have lectures in schools because of the personal unsafety. Thus, to detect, solve and cure this problem face a tough task for education staffs and education development.

Education opportunities

Accomplishments of education opportunities

Since 2001, the schools' enrolment rate increased from 900 thousand to over 6 million in 2008 about three-five percentage of girls involved the education systems. Furthermore, most of Afghanistan institutions of education were damaged or ruin during the Taliban and the Soviet Union's governance, from year 1978 to year 2001. Lucky, via the support by other countries like German and America, around four thousands of schools were rebuild and wait to reconstructed by the Afghanistan government. It is not enough for Afghanistan to rebuild the tangible education system, but also need to provide the taught opportunities for elder teenagers.

As result, in 2003 an accelerated learning program was established to help children to return schools, this new system is target to the problem of the children to attend class. For example, the village schools and the non-safety schools, to transfer the students into the closer and safety schools to study. The learning environment is improved, and accelerates the schools' reconstruction, and initiates the continually medium participation in the systems of education. Schools management committees (SHURA) is a system which provide a suggestion and as a role of assistants for helping the schools\ facilities development and recondition, to meet the basic requirements to conduct a normal education events. As a facilitate partner between the institutes and the organizations to make children have a better learning environment and improve the school administration's accountability and transparently.

Challenges of education opportunity

Community issue:

As I mentions before, the security issue is a major challenges for both students and teachers to enter schools and conduct the education. Although in 2006 each province has hired at least one religious leader and security advisor to protect and solve the security problem, it is still not safe enough since teachers and pupils to go school attack by Taliban's upholders without stop. And the new government need to maintain the public safety and security in order to eliminate the risky road to schools.

Gender issue:

Currently, the enrolment rate of girls in primary schools is 35% which is not balance and relevant for the whole population. Girls had educated is always lower than the boys, the reason for girls cannot been educated is cause by:

In some far away countries, the schools are distance for students

The traditional custom and cultural conflict for female education

Less female teacher is remote areas, and less female educational schools

Nevertheless, around 29 percentages of female teachers are teaching in major urban cities, and 55 percentages of female teachers are stay in five big urban centres like Baghlan, Kabul and Balkh and so on. And 90% of 364 districts do not have female schools and 13% (48 out of 364) do not have female teacher inside schools. It is a worried number for female education development, and it could be a difficult for Afghanistan faced the long last gender equality problem.

This figure [10] above provides the teachers number in the different provinces and female or male teacher stay in, for the year 2002. It can clearly refer that the female teachers' participation rate is extremely lower than the male teachers. Furthermore the centre cities of the Afghanistan in the security area and the better capacity area, such as Nangahar, the female teacher's participation rate is better than the remote and unsecure provinces like Nuristan.

Sustainability of development and amendment

The current Afghanistan is lack of resource and provisions for improved capacity and makes education system more systematic and complex so that the recovery action can be sustain and conduct continuity.

Issue of capacity:

Although the reform action can been relying on the international or local specialists to consult the development processing, the low capacity and resources to conduct the initiatives are losing the quality and clean direction. The system building process and the institution's education quality and capacity are lagged, due to the insufficient national power and capacity in the continuity development.

Issue of short period reforms:

Actually, large number of reform recommendations had been conduct and collapsed quickly, or even slowed effect or lost the correct direction of education development.

The revolution of curriculum

First example is the revolution of curriculum in 2003, which donated by multiple donators such as UNICEF, UNESCO etc. Aim of this reform is to improve the education framework of curriculum and also the quality of education, the detailed quality material and textbooks was largely supported by those kind donators. Unlucky, since the technical support was discontinued by the teaching training college, this reform finally collapsed in 2005. Furthermore, this reform causes the confusion and problematic quality of teaching material or books. That is a reaction of the counteraction of the sudden improves between the teaching material and the technical support by the teaching centres.

The challenge of education transition

In the sustainable development of Afghanistan education system, one of the key points is the transition of the integration or discontinued of the temporary education system structures and also downsizes the international consultants and technical supporters. Since the continually development of the whole country cannot rely on the international support and need to paid self-effort to upgrade themselves. However, it is easy to speak on the paper, difficult to do it in real process. It is hard in achieving this goal; a NPITT-DT3 program is implemented by NGOs by invited approximately four thousands transition government employees to handle the education systems' development, unfortunately there are lack provisions by government policy and the trainers disappear after the training and no one willing to handle this position of teachers of continuing development.


Analytical summary of education challenges

Afghanistan already walk a tough long road in the past 7 years in reconstructing its education systems and aim at providing a quality education to children. Leaving the repressive regimes in the behinds and tried towards important steps to a democratic society after the destructive and protracted wars. Nonetheless, harsh challenges of the sustainable education development bought out from the on-going emerging emergencies. Afghanistan need to paid more effort to improve the current state immediately, we summarized the several issue and challenges in access of children to their right of study into below groups.

The insurgencies effects and threat of the education

It is an obvious factor cause boys and girls the right go to schools by violent attacks, in some insecure parts of remote place, schools and teachers and pupils will be threated and hurt by the Taliban upholders. It is seriously affect the education processing and the process of Afghanistan's peaceful development.

The issues of refugees, returnees and the internally displaced

There are no specific and well-organized arrangements for the refugees' children and the internally displaced children, moreover their education of course will be ignored and haven't a suitable education services. After they return to mother country also have not the quality education of the government, it is an unfair situation for treating the people of Afghanistan children.

The issue of unavailable schools

Refer to before I mentions, there a large number of refugees internally displaced children out of the country, especially some remote and insecure place; it has not schools nearby and provides quality education. It is because the threat and insurgencies: security problems, or the problem of capacity to build schools and so on. Many children could not have the opportunity to study in schools as result.

The challenge of insufficient female teachers

Majority of twenty-nine percentages of female teachers stay in the major cities. [11] On the other hand, in the remote and insecure places the education staffs are in poor qualification, thus they can't provide a quality education to children and also all families are hesitating the right of female to study. This is a major determination leading the low rate of female educators.

The challenge of quality education

Refer to Mansoori and Karlsson in 2007, Afghanistan tradition families think the quality of education still problematic and it hard for them to send their children to study. Since they prefer children become a workers more than a students. Moreover, it maybe the poor families cannot afford the fee of study. And the quality of education is always questionable and confusion by them.

Concluding analysis

Although both the Islamic country, there are differently treated in gender equality between Iraq and Afghanistan. Taliban and the current theocratic Iranian regime are also caesaropapism countries, but Taliban develop the policy with conservative Pashtun custom.

Since the research in my project is to consider the education systems capacity of Afghanistan, below is some assumption according to my case. First of all, Afghanistan education system lacks a safety location due to the threat of suspense of Taliban and the unsafe environment with the unstable country. Through U.S. government assist the reconstruction of Afghanistan, there has a huge number of active Taliban soldiers ready to attack any time. And the task of U.S. army is to protect the public safety and eliminate remain Taliban supporters. Unfortunately, the soldiers on duty in Afghanistan are not enough to defend the threat of Taliban and also to maintain the peace environment of Afghanistan. Furthermore, power of army cannot protect the remote village and everyone's safety. According to BBC world service, there were still many of instable incidents inside the Afghanistan and the gender inequality was invisibly, tacitly agreed by the public and the society.

In July 2004, three years after the collapse of notorious, harsh Taliban regime in Afghanistan, a Hong Kong correspondent on a bus going to Kandahar, a city in Afghanistan. The bus stopped in a desolate desert every hour, male passengers rush to get off the bus to stretch, smoke, urine and praying, but women wear Burqa and stay at back and can't do anything. Women on the bus wear a traditional loose garment to hiding their whole body in public; they can't take it off whenever one woman caught a fever or need a deep breath or go toilet. The correspondent notices a girl with Burqa seems very exhausted and cough seriously, woman need to tolerate until they arrive the destination. Actually, it is a deep contrast between the self-think devout Islamic men and a losing liberty and unequal-treat women. Furthermore, it is still high gender gap within Afghanistan and many restrictions or customs existed to lower the female's value and state, the unfair situation deeply affects the Afghanistan society equality.

Though Iraq similarly have policy to resist the gender equality, Iraq also focus on the girls' education development, to improve the state of woman and decrease the illiteracy rate of female. That's the major different between the two Islamic countries, women in Iraq gradually become equal state with men and tried to fight for their equal human rights. When male priests quote the classics to support gender discrimination, the most powerful weapon to refute is female Muslim use classic to against the unequal situation. The determination of equality and conservative is based on the educational level and economic development. To regain the dignity of the Muslim women, things they need not the American strong army, is the school and education. People in Afghanistan need to positively face up this long term problem and solve it immediately in order to improve the women social stages and it is a trend for these Islamic countries need to do, gender equality can well balance the conflict between female and male, also can improve the country power by the both powerful female and male.

Less not the least, I suggest several recommendations for the sustainable development of the Afghanistan education system.

Infrastructure of the education system

Via the ministry of education and the partners from international, to establish an fund for re-construction of the damaged schools and also the development of the education.

To ensure the safety of the schools and protect the source of water provide, the development of adequate sanitation institutions and facilities.

To ensure the gender equality of admission and encourage more female students become teachers after schools.

To ensure the reconstruction have provide easy access facilities for disable students.

Security of the school and people

The Afghanistan government need to provide the protection for the society and recognizes the impact of insecurity on the education system, analysis the impact of the threat and then establishing a specific mechanism for handling these kinds of problem. Provide an immediate respond to the security weakness and protect the community.

Provide a support for the teachers in the remote and insecure areas, via the establishment of the professional mobile teams.

Enforce local police or army ability in order protects the safety of Afghanistan.

The hiring of security consultant and the leader for handle the threat issue.

Build the mobile and flexible teaching centre with professional teachers in order to avoid the force attack by Taliban upholders.

Encourage teachers teaching in rural and poor cities and assisting them to teaching.

Improve the sense of security and keep the peaceful of Afghanistan by arrest the opposite power.

School enrolment system

Provide a subsidy for students to study and also encourage them to enter high schools, not just the primary level.

Sustainably assist teachers and students to go schools and technical support them to become a more quality education.

Provide the quality textbooks and teaching materials with donations to eliminate the financial pressure of students' families.

~The end~

Scholarly References:

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, "Education in Afghanistan", 11 November, 2010, Retrieved from:

Abdullah Qazi, "Afghanistan's education", April, 2008 Last updated August 29, 2010, Retrieved from:

BBC world services, "I have a right to…", "right to education", 2006, Retrieved from:

Morten Sigsgaard, education in emergencies and reconstruction, "education and fragility in Afghanistan: a situational analysis", 2009, Retrieved from:$File/full_report.pdf

United Nations website, "The universal Declaration of human rights", from 1948, Retrieved from:

The case of Afghanistan, Islamic republic of Afghanistan ministry of education, April 2009

Susan Wardak, Dr. Michael Hirth, "Bridging the gaps: Risk reduction, relief and recovery", April, 2009, Retrieved from: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, ministry of Education.

Ministry of education, Islamic republic of Afghanistan, 2008

A theory of Justice, John Rawls, 1971