Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, November 19th, 2018

“Government Must Renew Focus to Ensure Girls Education”

Though there have been many claims of improvement, the education of the girls still faces serious problems in Afghanistan. In a report released on Tuesday, October 17, Human Rights Watch (HRW) revealed that even sixteen years after the US-led military intervention in Afghanistan ousted the Taliban, an estimated two-thirds of Afghan girls do not attend school.
The women rights director at HRW, Liesl Gerntholtz, said in a statement, “The Afghan government and donors made bold promises in 2001 to get all girls into education, but insecurity, poverty, and displacement are now driving many girls out of school… The government needs a renewed focus to ensure all girls have a school to attend or risk these gains being lost.” In short, the attitude of the society and the policies of the government have remained discriminatory as far as the education of girls are concerned, which will have long-lasting influence on the development of the society as a whole.
The report also highlighted the bitter facts that in half of the country’s provinces, fewer than 20 percent of teachers are female – a major barrier for the many girls whose families will not accept their being taught by a man, especially as they become adolescents. Moreover, based on the report, many children live too far from a school to attend, which particularly affects girls. About 41 percent of schools have no buildings, and many lack boundary walls, water, and toilets – disproportionately affecting girls. On the other hand, girls are often kept home due to discriminatory attitudes that do not value or permit their education. A third of girls marry before 18, and once engaged or married, many girls are compelled to drop out of school.
It is a fact that the incidents violating women rights in Afghanistan have not been stopped though there have been comparative developments made in the last decade or so and billions of dollars spent. In fact, the changes are prevalent only on the exterior while from within the Afghan society still lacks the modernity and development it needs in order to reach to a respectable position. The support and assistance of the international community has only been able to provide clean and beautiful attire not a praiseworthy soul to Afghan society and this attire is going to get dirty very soon.
The Afghan social structure has been vehemently dominated by religious extremism and tribal nepotism. Though these factors have affected almost everyone, women have been intensely influenced as they belong to the weaker strata of the society. Most of the self-designed religious doctrines and tribal norms are against the women and discriminate their basic rights. Unfortunately, these norms and doctrines have even gone to the extent of violence and have tortured women physically – mostly in the public.
They, in the name of dignity of women, have in fact degraded them. Every now and then there are some incidents that show the sick attitude of the society towards them. The girls who intend to get education are discouraged in every possible way. They have been attacked with acid, have been poisoned in mysterious ways, and even their entire schools have been bombed. In such circumstances, it is very difficult to expect that the girls’ education can be promoted easily.
In accordance to parochial tribal norms and extremist religious beliefs, women are not meant to get education. Their duties are bound to be inside the boundaries of their houses, which they do not have the right to leave in any condition except after the permission of an authoritative male member. Though there have been some improvements made to counter the traditional beliefs regarding the female education, they are mostly limited to only a couple of large cities, while most of the small cities and villages do not have proper or any arrangement for the education of women.
Moreover, the efforts that are carried out in some way or the other are not without opposition - most of the times the opposition comes in the form of ruthless violence even by the authorities that should guard and protect them. Therefore, the parents, who are interested to let their girls get education, have to think thousand times because for them the lives of their children are dearer than their education. There have been incidents that attempt to teach the people not to promote the education of the girls. However, it should be mentioned here that this sort of incidents is really very cowardly and it depicts that the culprits are not capable of attracting others towards their bogus ideas so they take the support of violence on weaker strata of society.
In fact, it is not just the education of the girls that has been influenced much by the extremist and backward thinking in Afghan society; rather the whole education system has been going through difficulties. Continuous wars for decades have left Afghan society suffer in so many fields and areas and education is also one of them.