SCA condemns the continued closure of girls’ schools in Afghanistan
For a second school year, secondary schools in Afghanistan have opened without the presence of girls.
The de facto authorities in Afghanistan have announced that schools for girls above grade 6 will remain closed until further notice.
The closure of schools is unjustifiable and an attack on the basic rights of girls and women. The Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA) calls on the de facto authorities to immediately reopen education facilities at all levels, to girls and boys, women and men, and prioritise investing in education as a critical component of Afghanistan’s development.
Preventing girls from getting an education has no justification, on any grounds, including religion or tradition.
Education is an essential tool for empowering individuals and communities. Without education, a girl is more likely to marry at a young age and suffer from domestic violence, poverty, and health issues.
SCA has provided education to girls and boys in rural Afghanistan since the 1980s. We have seen first-hand the positive effects that education has in communities.
Education is a fundamental component of development and for breaking the cycle of poverty. Denying access to education for half the population will severely impede the country’s progress.
The school closures will have serious implications for the healthcare sector and women’s health. Afghanistan is already facing a shortage of qualified female health staff, and closing schools to girls will exacerbate the problem, leaving millions of women’s lives at risk. Maternal and infant mortality will increase.
Significant gains have been made in the education sector in Afghanistan over the past two decades. The fact that millions of girls have been enrolled in schools and universities was a sign of progress towards gender equality and development. These gains are now at risk of being lost. Girls in grade 7-12 have been kept out of school for 18 months and universities and other higher education have been closed for women since December. Hundreds of thousands of young women in the final stages of their education, who were getting ready to join the workforce and contribute to the development of their country, have been sent home with their dreams quashed.
Every day that girls are out of school is a wasted day. We urge the de facto authorities to consider the serious consequences this will have and take urgent action to ensure that girls can go back to school without delay.