Since the Taliban entered Kabul several weeks ago, effectively re-taking Afghanistan, there’s been growing concern about the effect this will have on education, especially for women and girls.
But education has been an ongoing struggle for Afghanistan over the past four decades. In the regional areas of the country, schools lack basic resources from blackboards to books to trained teachers. There are also social and cultural barriers to learning, particularly for girls.
And yet, Afghan children understand the opportunities that education opens up – and they’re fighting to change their own futures, as well as the futures of their families and their country.
The new government announced last week that secondary education classes will resume for boys, omitting any mention for girls in grades seven to 12.
We spoke to Farkhondeh Akbari, originally from Daikundi province in central Afghanistan, and Pashtana Durrani, from Kandahar province in the country’s south, about the past, present and future of education in Afghanistan.
Farkhondeh Akbari was born in Daikundi, Afghanistan, and migrated with her family to Australia when she was 12 years old. She has visited friends and relatives in Afghanistan throughout her life, most recently in 2019. Today she lives in Canberra, where she’s completing a PhD in diplomacy and peace settlements at the ANU.
Pashtana Durrani is a teacher and the founder and executive director of LEARN, an Afghan not-for-profit whose main focus is providing quality education to all children, especially girls. Pashtana has remained in Afghanistan since the Taliban’s return to power.
Ian Connellan is editor-in-chief of the Royal Institution of Australia.
- If you’d like to know more about the challenges to education in Afghanistan please go to the LEARN website: https://www.learnafghan.org/
- You can also go to www.odsaf.org to learn about Organization for Development Solutions the education-focussed peacebuilding and development NGO that Farkhondeh co-founded.
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