Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Over 6 million children to start a new school year in Afghanistan with the help of the UN

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is implementing a program to ensure that both boys and girls in Afghanistan will be given access to quality education in a safe environment. UNICEF is partnering with local organizations in Afghanistan to build more schools, provide materials for both students and teachers, and providing quality training for teachers.
A major obstacle that remains is gender disparity among boys and girls in schools, child safety, and a limited number of quality teachers. Currently, 32 percent of boys complete primary school while only 13 percent of girls complete primary school. Both UNICEF and the Girls’ Education Initiative are working diligently to enroll an additional 330,000 girls in school this year. “This is a big challenge for all of us, the Afghan nation and the Afghan children, to bring about parity, or equality, for children and ensure that all children, whether they are girls or boys, continue to go to school, and complete their schooling, so that they can contribute not only to their own development, but also contribute to the building of the country,” UNICEF’s Deputy Representative in Afghanistan, Sikander Khan, said at a press briefing in Kabul today.
Recent concerns have arisen in Afghanistan as attacks on schools and community intimidation create serious obstacles that prevent children from attending school The government, local organizations, and UNICEF are partnering to implement ways to protect families and schools from extremist attacks and small progress has been made. This year the number of children enrolled in school is 6.2 million, up from 5.7 million last year. UNICEF and the Afghan government hope to continue making progress by working together to ensure access to education and a safe future for their country and its children.