'Generational catastrophe' on education
GS Paper - 2 (International Relations)
Afghanistan risks backsliding on nearly two decades of schooling gains for children, especially girls, as the prospect of violence looms with the return of Taliban rule, the UN's education agency said on 10 September 2021. The number of internally displaced persons is projected to increase, heightening the risk of learning losses among children and generational catastrophe, the Paris-based UNESCO said.
- Since 2001, when US forces ousted the first Taliban regime after the September 11 terror attacks, the number of girls in primary school jumped from "almost zero" to 2.5 million in 2018, according to the agency's latest report.
- Female literacy nearly doubled to 30 percent, and currently four of 10 students in primary classes are girls.
- Overall, some 10 million children and young people are enrolled, up from just one million in 2001.
- But the new Taliban administration has already decreed that women attending private universities, which have flourished in recent years, must be separated from men.
- A withdrawal of international aid poses another threat, since it makes up half of Afghanistan's education expenditures.
- And even with those funds, teacher salaries are routinely paid late, discouraging more people from taking up the profession.
- The report added that before the Taliban's return to power, Afghanistan's education challenges were already "colossal".