Information by Country
Girls’ attendance doubles in Afghan schools
Using baseline numbers from 2004 when World Vision began its school enhancement programming, 8,522 girls were attending schools under the USDA-supported Food-for-Education programme. Two years later, in March 2006, records show attendance at 16,909.
Tim Pylate, World Vision’s USDA Food-for-Education programme manager, was ecstatic when he saw the figures, “A 98 per cent increase: it’s incredible. Attendance has doubled!”
Boys’ attendance during the same time period increased 31 per cent.
Pylate attributes the high numbers to the remarkable success of the USDA-funded programme. “The comprehensive package of services that World Vision is providing in Ghor and Badghis provinces includes teacher training and school supplies that are helping create the positive learning environment that kids need for success,” he says.
While the programme has no monitoring mechanism for child health, the family response to school feedings has been significant.
During the former Taliban regime (1996-2001) the education of girls was strictly forbidden, while boys received religious training. Now, families have a renewed interest in sending their children back to school.
Sultan Ahmad, education field officer in Jawand reports, “At first there were 37 students. Two months later, 55. Two months after that, 100. Today, there are 200 girls.”
However, in Jawand and elsewhere, the limited number of female teachers remains a problem. Culturally, girls can only be taught by other females and there are more girls demanding education than there are women with the skills to teach them.
Through women’s literacy programmes, also funded by USDA, World Vision is hoping to help change that. It will take time, but Afghan school girls and the women enrolling in literacy programmes are showing in numbers that they are interested and will not be left behind.