Education in Afghanistan: Collapse since Taliban

Education in Afghanistan: Collapse since Taliban

Author: Rokhsar Sadat
Global Campus of Human Rights (CES), American University of Central Asia, Bishkek


“This is a fellow student, who due to Taliban restrictions, is unable to attend school. The right to freedom is universal, and only a student can truly empathize with the emotions this peer is going through.” These poignant words, accompanied by intricate artwork, come from Elhamah, a seventh-grade student in Herat, Afghanistan.  While her message is filled with empathy and frustration, the reality Elhamah presents is widely known by many children living in Afghanistan and other countries with armed conflicts and discriminatory policies. However, education is a human right and a tool for personal development and societal evolution. It should be available to children worldwide.

In Afghanistan, the situation could indeed be described as disastrous. More than 3.7 million children are out of school, according to UNICEF. Conflict and insecurity did much damage to the educational sector. With schools ruined, families displaced, and children traumatized, it is difficult to discuss anything other than major setbacks. The situation is especially worse for girls who make up 60% of the out-of-school population.

This article depicts the challenges the Afghan educational system faces because of recurring conflict. It discusses the effect on learners’ psycho-social requirements as well as the psycho-society. Moreover, it explores the difficulties and obstacles faced by communities, educators, and students. It also offers potential solutions and emphasizes the critical role that international assistance and advocacy play.

Current Situation of Education in Afghanistan:

The situation of education in the Afghan government is very shaky accompanied by uncertainty and a lot of challenges. Significant advancement had been achieved during the 17 years of the democratic regime of Afghanistan. However, the recent political development cast a shadow of uncertainties over the future of education, particularly for girls.

Since the conflict, there have been several obstacles and challenges to education in Afghanistan. These include decreasing enrollment rates, resource and infrastructure limits, economic hardship, the use of inadequate e-learning techniques, and displacement. The most important issue of these is the rise in the number of out-of-school children.

According to a 2022 report by UNICEF, an estimated 3.7 million children in Afghanistan remain out of school. Girls constitute 60% of this population.[1] While primary school enrollment rates had seen significant improvement in previous years, the current situation has led to a decline in attendance, particularly among girls.  Deeply rooted cultural norms, security concerns, and economic hardship continue to impede girls’ access to education. This is perpetuating gender disparities and hindering the nation’s overall development. The dilemma in front of Afghanistan’s education system calls for an integrated and multidimensional strategy.

The Scars of Conflict: Impact on Education in Afghanistan

Education in Afghanistan is struggling under the shadowy unsteadiness of conflict and insecurity. Due to this, the land has been encumbered with debris and the country is lagging behind in striving towards a better future. Conflict’s effect on education is intertwined.  In this regard, students, teachers, buildings and the entire learning environment are all affected.

Physical Destruction and Disruption

Schools have become a painful target of violence in Afghanistan and the institutions that are supposed to symbolize hope and progress have turned into the platform for violence. Schools are among the most frequent targets of militant attacks through bombing, arson and damage.  This has led to the vast destruction of educational resources. Not only do these physical damages delay the learning process, but they also prevent students from receiving classrooms, educational materials, and a secure space to study.[2]

Displacement and Trauma

Millions of Afghans are internally displaced as a result of the violence and conflict that have forced them from their homes. Children who are displaced often face significant challenges in their educational journey. For example, limited school access, language barriers, and trauma-related psychological harm. Children who experience violence and displacement may have long-term consequences for their mental and emotional well-being, which may hinder their ability to learn and grow to their full potential.[3] 

Loss of Educators and Educational Personnel

The number of experienced instructors and skilled educational workers affected by the ongoing violence has increased. Security issues have resulted in the deaths of teachers, physical harm to them, or their removal from the classroom, leaving empty classrooms devoid of qualified staff and an appropriate learning environment. The severe teacher shortage exacerbates the issues that the educational system, particularly in rural areas, typically faces.[4]

Psychological Impact and Learning Environment

The constant threat of violence and instability is a breeding ground for fear and discomfort in children, making it difficult for them to focus on their academics. Exposure to traumatic situations frequently causes psychological distress in children, affecting their cognitive development, emotional well-being, and academic achievement.[5]

Potential Solutions:

Given the current rule of a terrorist group (Taliban)  in Afghanistan, it is important to acknowledge that the effectiveness of recommendations may be limited. However, there are still opportunities to provide recommendations that can offer some level of improvement in the education situation for children.

 Promoting Gender Equality and Girls’ Education

The improvement of girls’ education requires an integrated intervention that includes raising community awareness through outreach and media campaigns, involving local and religious leaders in opposing discriminatory attitudes, providing financial support in the form of budgets and scholarships to make education more affordable, increasing the number of women teachers, particularly in rural areas, and funding gender-responsive teacher training to foster a supportive and culturally acceptable learning environment for girls.

Building a Sustainable Education System

In order to improve education in Afghanistan for children, we should prioritize infrastructure development, such as building new schools and providing sanitary facilities. After that, we should fund teacher training programs that focus on inclusive education practices and pedagogical skills. In order to reach children who live in remote locations, curricula reform should also take into account alternative education models like community schools and mobile learning in addition to including teachings that are interesting and relevant for the twenty-first century.

Embracing Technology and Innovation

To effectively use online learning, we will need to invest in digital infrastructure, such as reliable internet connection and technology, while also developing high-quality online educational resources, such as digital textbooks and virtual classrooms. Educators must be well-trained in educational technology in order to effectively integrate these technologies into their teaching approaches.

 Strengthening Partnerships and Collaboration

In Afghanistan, a multi-sectoral approach is essential to education. A few of the interventions include fostering international community involvement to guarantee that educational programs are pertinent, successful, and long-lasting; working with the private sector for resources and innovation through public-private partnerships; and advancing international cooperation for funding and technical assistance.


The path of rebuilding and strengthening the Afghanistan educational system, is a long and winding road but it can be achieved. The revelation of an all-time high number of children out of school is a strong reminder of the need to tackle the problems in the education system. Through ensuring safety, campaigning for gender equality, channeling resources to infrastructure and teachers’ training, using technology, and collaboration, Afghanistan can develop an education system that transforms children’s lives.

[1]  UNICEF, “Afghanistan: Education Cannot Wait Launches Multi-Year Resilience Programme as 3.7 Million Children Remain Out of School,” June 21, 2022,

[2] Brookings, “The relationship between schooling and conflict in Afghanistan,” 21 June 2022,

[3] ChildFund Australia, “How does war and conflict impact children?” 21 July 2023,

[4] Ibid.

[5]Bhutta ZA, “Children of war: the real casualties of the Afghan conflict,” BMJ, 2002 Feb 9,

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