Efforts on to encourage female education: Wardak
KABUL CITY (PAN): Education Minister Ghulam Farooq Wardak, citing various factors behind low literacy rate among females in the country, on Tuesday said his ministry planned to encourage families into sending their daughters to schools.
Addressing a two-day conference "Annual Review of Education Sector" in Kabul, Wardak cited insecurity the main challenge hindering efforts at promoting women’s education, besides cultural restrictions, economic hardships and lack of schools.
However, he recalled less than a million students, most of them males, were enrolled to schools a decade ago and their current number stood at six million, including three million girls, across the country.
He continued the education ministry was trying to increase the number of girls in schools despite the fact that about three million children lacked access to education institutes.
The minister described a shortage of teaching staff, insecurity, poor financial resources and increasing number of new comers to schools and higher education institutions as key challenges the education ministry had to deal with over next nine years.
Wardak asked the international community to continue supporting Afghanistan in its efforts to strengthen the country's education sector.
Officials from ministries of women affairs, labour, social affairs, martyrs and disabled, higher education minister, representatives from local and international organisations attended the conference.
A decade ago, Wardak said about 900,000 children had access to education and the number would be increased to 1.4 million in next nine years. He added the number of high school graduates appearing in university entrance test was 65,000 a decade ago, but the number would be increased to 350,000 during upcoming nine years.
He said currently15, 000 schools were operational across the country, compared to 4,000 nine years ago. Of 200,000 schoolteachers, including 30 percent females, only 50 percent were professional, he added.
According to the Ministry of Education, more than 77,000 students are getting education in higher education universities and the figures are expected to be increased to 617,000 until 2020.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) deputy head in Afghanistan, Kyan Tang, said there had been many achievements in various Afghan sectors, especially education, over the past decade.
He said the conference discussed challenges, achievements and requirements of Afghanistan in areas of education and higher education.
Tang said UNESCO was ready to continue supporting the Afghan education sector, with more focus on capacity building of teachers and increasing literary rate.