Girls sitting in class in Afghanistan

Afghanistan: Save the Children Welcomes Announcement That Girls Will be Returning to Secondary School

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (March 8, 2022) — Officials from Afghanistan's Ministry of Education said on Sunday that girls will be returning to secondary schools later this month. Since September, secondary schools for girls in Afghanistan have been closed, forcing millions of girls out of school.

A three-part proposal submitted to the Prime Minister's office for approval will see girls return to school in gender-segregated facilities. Where these segregated facilities are not available, they will be supported to return to a mixed schooling environment.It is estimated that 8 million school-aged children need support to access education right now in Afghanistan - an increase from 2.6 million[i] compared to last year. [ii]

Save the Children's Director of Advocacy and Campaigns, Athena Rayburn, said:

"We welcome the news from Afghanistan's Ministry of Education that girls will be returning to secondary school when the new school year starts later this month. Every day that girls are not in school, they face an increased risk of violence, exploitation, and abuse.

"It is essential for the future of Afghanistan that girls are given the tools and knowledge to help their country thrive. Therefore, we particularly welcome the news from the Ministry of Education that if gender-segregated schooling facilities are not available, girls will be supported to return to a mixed schooling environment in the interim.

"The announcement from the Ministry yesterday is an important first step – now it needs to be put into practice. For that to happen, the international community must also step up now and ensure funding for girls' education is provided at the upcoming pledging conference on March 31.

"As the economic crisis has deepened, the education system in Afghanistan has all but collapsed. Without international support and solidarity that translates into funds, girls will not be able to return to school, even if they are open."

Save the Children has been supporting communities and protecting children's rights across Afghanistan since 1976, including during periods of conflict, regime change, and natural disasters. The organization has programs in 10 provinces and works with partners in an additional three provinces. Since the crisis escalated in August 2021, Save the Children has been scaling up its response to support the increasing number of children in need, delivering health, nutrition, education, child protection, shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene, and food security and livelihoods support. 

To ensure children can still access education during the last six months, Save the Children has been running Community Based Education classes and providing children and teachers with learning and classroom kits. The organization has also been working with female secondary school graduates to support them to become teachers and pass the university entrance exam. 

[i] 2.6 million children needed education in emergencies assistance in 2021 – HNO 2021 

[ii] 7.9 million children will need education in emergencies assistance in 2022 – HRP

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