School Education in Afghanistan

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Handbook of Education Systems in South Asia, 2021, pp. 411-441
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This chapter provides a descriptive account of the current landscape of the schooling systems in Afghanistan. It documents a brief historical overview of the evolution of the education systems and the turbulent phases in this process as political, social, and cultural conflicts pose inescapable challenges to an effective system of schooling, particularly for girls. It outlines the formal levels of schooling from pre-primary to upper secondary levels and the preparation for entrance into higher and technical and further education. Informal and community-based schooling, including religious schools, are particularly important in provincial settings. Among the challenges for educators are the ongoing conflict and power struggles between stakeholders including the government, religious bodies, and community-based organizations, to shape the curriculum and schooling system in one of the world’s poorest nations. Access to education for families and communities especially in regional and remote provinces remains a major issue exacerbated by poverty, insecurity and corruption, attacks on schools, distance, dangers of travel, economic factors, concerns over the quality of education and teacher training, as well as cultural traditions that particularly inhibit the education of girls. Since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, even with the problems of statistical verification, the number of students attending schools has risen dramatically. However, Afghanistan remains a fragile state with rising conflict between key power brokers impacting the provision of education as a basic human right for all.
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