Lack of education continues to obstruct Afghanistan’s development. Even today, 70% of women and 50% of men in Afghanistan are illiterate. Three decades of armed conflict and the Taliban regime have taken their toll: under the Taliban government, only around half a million children attended school and girls were banned from education, forcing them to learn in secret.
Around nine million children are now in school. Net primary school enrolment stands at 74% for girls and 98% for boys, and 31.7% of teachers are women. Afghanistan has made substantial progress but still faces a number of challenges: out of around 180,000 serving teachers (male and female), 58% have no university degree, and in 80 out of more than 300 districts, there are no female teachers at all.
Economic development and education are inextricably linked. Better education is vital to enable the next generation to take the country’s destiny into its own hands and change it for the better.
Since 2001, the international community has been assisting Afghanistan to develop its education system. From 2002 to 2014, Germany alone invested around EUR 130 million in this sector. Building and equipping almost 600 new schools, training more than 99,300 teachers and developing new curricula with a practical focus – all these are goals which Germany and Afghanistan are pursuing together.
In the vocational training sector, Germany is cooperating with 50 schools. Here, the focus is in-service training for lecturers, with a shift away from an overly theoretical approach towards practical training based on labour market needs.
Afghanistan’s educational establishments are increasingly working with companies which offer work placements for trainees, enabling them to gain insights into the workplace. The companies are also opening their doors to apprentices from the informal sector. This means that the employees of tomorrow will be better equipped for working life and better able to contribute to their country’s economic development.
For more information about our work in the priority area of education, please see the project descriptions and the ‘Stories’ section.