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Reverse falling number of girls in school, WB asked

Reverse falling number of girls in school, WB asked

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Jun 14, 2018 - 08:28

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): A global human rights organisation has urged the Worldinfo-icon Bank, the Afghan government and donors to use a new educationinfo-icon plan to reverse the falling number of girls in school.

The new initiative -- Education Quality Reform in Afghanistaninfo-icon (EQRA) -- will be placed soon for approval before the World Bank’s executive board in the coming weeks.

In a letter to bank management, Human Rights Watch suggested the $300 million donor-funded World Bank project should be designed to ensure girl students stay in school.

UNICEF said in a June 2018 report that up to 3.7 million (nearly half the Afghan children) were out of school. About 60 percent of them are girls.

In Helmand, Kandahar, Paktika, Uruzgan, Maidan Wardak and Zabul, 15 percent or less of girls are in school. For the first time since 2002, a fall in the number of Afghan schoolchildren was reported by the UN agency.

Heather Barr, senior womeninfo-icon’s rights researcher at HRW, said: “There’s an education crisis in Afghanistan right now – with girls most affected – and the world is looking away.”

It was intolerable that nearly 17 years after the Talibaninfo-icon government’s ouster, the number of girls going to school in Afghanistan was declining Barr remarked

In addition to funding cuts, donors in many cases are said to be shifting their bilateral aid from supporting NGO-run schools focused on serving girls to pooled funding through the World Bank programme.

The initiative directly funds the Afghan government’s education system. The shift may harm girls’ ability to attend school because the government has made education inaccessible to many girls, HRW said.

To move forward, the EQRA project will require approval by the World Bank’s board, which consists of donor countries to the bank’s work, according to a statement from HRW.

That affords board members the opportunity to ensure the education project and donor countries accord priority to addressing the disproportionate barriers to girls’ education.

“Girls’ education in Afghanistan is at urgent risk unless donors use their funds to ensure that the Afghan government takes this problem seriously,” Barr said. “The World Bank’s US$300 million education project is their best chance to turn this crisis around.”

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