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Girls study in a tent held up by a tree in a government school in Kabul, Afghanistan.Forty-one percent of all schools in Afghanistan do not have buildings and even when they do, they are often overcrowded, with some children forced to study outside.An accurate accounting of the number of girls in school matters, in part because high but inaccurate figures have given the impression that there is a continued positive trajectory when in fact deterioration is happening in at least some parts of the country.
© 2017 Paula Bronstein for Human Rights Watch , an estimated two-thirds of Afghan girls do not go to school.
And as security in the country has worsened, the progress that had been made toward the goal of getting all girls into school may be heading in reverse—a decline in girls’ education in Afghanistan.
The impressive progress the government and its donors have made in getting girls to attend school was a good beginning, not a completed task.
This report examines the major barriers that remain in the quest to get all girls into school, and keep them there through secondary school.
Analysis by the World Bank shows wide variation from province to province in the ratio of girls versus boys attending school, with the proportion of students who are girls falling in some provinces, such as Kandahar and Paktia.
These disparities are mirrored in literacy statistics.
The Afghan government has not taken meaningful steps toward implementing national legislation that makes education compulsory.
Although by law all children are required to complete class nine, the government has neither the capacity to provide this level of education to all children nor a system to ensure that all children attend school.
The World Bank reported that from 2011-12 to 2013-2014, attendance rates in lower primary school fell from 56 to 54 percent, with girls in rural areas most likely to be out of school.
Government statistics indicate that in some provinces, the percentage of students who are girls is as low as 15 percent.