Two-thirds of Afghan girls not attend school says Human Rights Watch

Vastavam web: Two-thirds of Afghan girls do not attend school due to growing insecurity and poverty, Human Rights Watch said today, underlining the challenges of educating women in the patriarchal country 16 years after the Taliban were ousted.While millions more girls are receiving an education than during the Taliban’s repressive 1996-2001 regime, progress has stalled in recent years, the rights group warned, with the proportion of female students falling in parts of the country.

But the rights group warned the real situation was likely much worse because Afghanistan does not record children as being out of school until they have failed for three years to attend class.”Overstated high numbers (for female attendance) have helped give the impression that there is a continued positive trajectory, when in fact numbers are actually decreasing in some parts of the country,” the report said.An education ministry official told Human Rights Watch in April that 39 per cent of the 9.3 million students in school were girls but the group noted that Afghan government data was notoriously unreliable.

Describing the gains as “partial and fragile”, it said millions of girls had never been to school and many more had only attended briefly.Government statistics indicate that in some provinces, the percentage of students who are girls is as low as 15 percent, the report said.Among the many barriers to female education are a lack of schools, female teachers and basic facilities such as toilets.On top of that conflict has driven thousands of families from their homes and many school-age girls are forced to work to support loved ones.