Availability, access, and use of education as a fundamental right enshrined in Afghanistan’s Constitution varies significantly across the country. The low and uneven quality of education is a major concern in this sector. Overcrowding in classes, make-shift facilities instead of permanent structures, long distances from home to school, and unavailability of basic teaching material such as books continue to undermine education service delivery, particularly in more remote areas. Armed conflict has resulted in the closing of schools in Kunduz and elsewhere, effecting a decline in access to education, especially for girls. Displacements and the inflow of the internally displaced persons and returnees from neighboring countries have added additional pressures on the already under-resourced and over-stretched school system. These problems are compounded by increasing poverty, which forces many of the poorest families into withdrawing their children from school as a means to economize by eliminating the costs of schooling. As with all other sectors, a systemic challenge of the education sector is corruption at the sectoral level in the form of misappropriation of funds earmarked for education and at the lower levels in the form of nepotism and corruption in teacher appointments, resulting in the hiring of unqualified teachers. Lower level corruption also includes instances of families paying bribes to teachers so that their children are given higher grades.
Striving for quality service delivery in education in Afghanistan requires close monitoring as the basis on which to design and re-orient programming to take account of changes in the operating environment, particularly in terms of armed conflict and displacement. The mandate of the Education Sub-committee is to facilitate evidence-based constructive advocacy by civil society organizations to inform government policymaking on education, and ensure that government policies and programs are responsive to changes in the operating environment and input from civil society on citizens’ needs.