Challenges to Education Development

Afghanistan is one of the worst affected countries by violence against schools, with 670 incidents of attacks on education in 2008. Violence on students prevented nearly 5 million Afghan children from attending school in 2010. In death rates, Afghanistan had 439 teachers, education employees and students killed in 2006-9, one of the highest in the world.

Teacher credentials
Since the Taliban regime was toppled in 2001, up to 6 million girls and boys started attending school. In 2012, the supply of students far exceeded the pool of qualified teachers. According to statistics provided by the Ministry of Education, 80 percent of the country's 165,000 teachers had achieved the equivalent of a high school education or did not complete their post-secondary studies.

Extremist curriculum
Since the toppling of the Taliban regime, under the combined efforts of Afghan and international experts, the curriculum has been changed from Islamic teachings to one relatively better with new books and better training. Yet, there remains no standard curriculum for secondary school textbooks, and high school textbooks remain woefully inadequate in number and content.

In 2012, there were insufficient schools. Around 4,500 schools are being built according to a recent government report. 40 percent of schools were conducted in permanent buildings. The rest held classes in UNICEF shelters or were "desert schools" with students and teachers gathering in the desert near a village.

Child labor
In 2007, more than half of the population of Afghanistan was under the age of 18. UNICEF estimates that close to a quarter of Afghan children between the ages of seven and fourteen were working. In rural areas, the problem is worse, and there are more girls working than boys. This disrupts children's education and possibly prevents them from schooling completely.