Afghanistan: Monthly Humanitarian Update (January 2020) - Reaching children with education in emergencies


0.6M Children to be reached
66.3M Funding requested (USD)
26.8M Funding gap for 2020 (USD)


Decades of conflict have severely strained the education system in Afghanistan. Worsened by years of under-development, public schools do not have sufficient capacity to meet education demands and are not able to ensure minimum quality standards. While Afghanistan has made progress towards improving children’s access to education during the past decade with primary school enrolment rate increasing from 1 million to 8.5 million between 2002 and 2019, continued conflict, poverty and targeting of schools has put more stress on an already over-burdened education system. About one third of school-aged children, approximately 3.7 million children, remain out-of-school.

About 60 per cent of out-of-school children are girls and in some provinces as many as 85 per cent of girls are out-of-school. While girls’ access to education may be limited by cultural expectations, in many cases it is also tied to perceived and real security risks, as well as the appropriateness of the school curriculum and physical set-up under local cultural norms.

An estimated 95 per cent of children with disabilities do not attend school. Children with disabilities are less likely to have their voices heard in society and are at higher risk in natural disasters. Their disabilities also place them at a higher risk of physical abuse, and often exclude them from receiving proper nutrition and other forms of humanitarian assistance. Around 11 per cent of people in Afghanistan are estimated to be living with at least one form of physical disability and they are often likely to be among the poorest members of the population.

Compounding the already concerning state of education for children across Afghanistan, reports of attacks on schools have continued throughout 2019, putting children at risk of death, injury and increased risk of them dropping out of school. While verified and aggregated data on such incidents is not widely available, a number of concerning incidents have been reported of child casualties due to explosions and of girls being sexually harassed and abused on their way to and from school.

Attacks on education, affecting the safety, access and mobility of students and teachers, does not only result in casualties and displacement, but also hinders the timely delivery of educational supplies such as textbooks and teaching and learning materials. As of December 2019, 488 schools were reported to have been forcibly closed due to insecurity, affecting around 150,000 (72,000 girls and 78,000 boys) children. Uruzgan (204 schools), Paktika (117 schools) and Logar (64 schools) are the top three provinces with the highest number of closed or damaged schools. There is, on average, nine per cent lower enrolment in education in areas that had a security incident the previous year. Only half of the schools in Afghanistan are housed in buildings.


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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