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Research Human Rights Issues And Concepts

Essay: Women and Education in Afghanistan - Cause and Effect

The essay must examine:

1. A breach of contemporary human rights at an international/global level.
2. MUST outline the impact on groups or individuals involved.
3. MUST outline the responses to the breach. 

Sample Answer

Afghanistan has ratified various international treaties that include education as a basic right. The country has ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights. Afghanistan is also a ratified member of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). All these conventions in some way or the other strive to deliver equal rights to women in the field of education. International Human Rights Law ensures that everyone has a right to free, compulsory and primary education, which would be devoid of any kind of gender bias or otherwise ("Human Rights Watch", 2018). Under International Law secondary education is also made available and accessible to all without any form of discrimination. The Government of Afghanistan strives to incorporate a positive obligation to provide remedy for the abuses that challenges the right of education for girls that suffers due to backward social and cultural practices. The aim of the paper is to study the breach of human rights pertaining to female education in Afghanistan, its impact and response of credible sources.

Human Right Breaches
Afghanistan faces a serious breach of human rights that strive to provide education to women. Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states that every person has the right to receive free and compulsory elementary education. Technical, professional and higher education shall be made available and accessible based on merit ("Universal Declaration of Human Rights", 2018). This provision of the UDHR is severely breached by Afghanistan by its approach towards education system, especially for female education .  Therefore, the Human Rights Law approaches the government to deal with the social and cultural subordination of women in terms of education and other relevant social issues. Human Rights Law calls for the country's tolerance towards the disproportionate ratio of girls being away from the education system which severely violates human rights. Functioning of educational institution involves a decent infrastructure for the school building, proper sanitation facilities for boys and girls, safe drinking water, stationary materials, availability of teachers who are well trained to impart the basic primary education to the children, and other facilities like a library and computer facilities (Jayachandran, 2015). Although in the last 16 years, the Afghan Government with the help of its International supporters has evolved over the matter of providing elementary education to girls and sending them to schools for higher studies ("Human Rights Watch", 2018). However, severe obstacles are still restricting a large ratio of girls to receive the basic education in elementary school level and therefore, diminishing the little gains that the government has achieved in recent times. This makes the way for the government of Afghanistan and its international donors to increase their effort to reduce the obstacles that comes on the ways of female education in order to guarantee the girls their basic human rights to primary and secondary education.

Impact On The Victims And Society
The impact of the violation of the Human Rights that claims to provide basic and primary education to girls in Afghanistan has been severe on the social, cultural and political scenario of the country. Such breach of Human Rights leads to discriminatory attitude of the society, community members and government officials towards girls which makes them bound to portray girls as commodities that are reared for domestic assistance and religious rites. It is evident that the status of women can only be improved by incorporating modern education and knowledge into the society through the new generation especially girls who are seemed to be the first source of education for the future generation as mothers are the first teacher of their children. An illiterate woman would naturally impart poor knowledge and culture to her children which is only fatal to the future society (Shayan, 2015). Over half of the Afghan provinces have less than 20% female teachers which makes it unacceptable for families to send their girls to be taught under a male teacher. Instead of sending their girls to school, poor families makes their girls earn money by tailoring, weaving or some other jobs like selling things on the street (Samady, 2013).

As per the data of the Human Rights Watch, at least 25% of girl child between 5 to 14 years of age work for a living, which becomes a barrier for them to pursue education ("Human Rights Watch", 2018).  Previously under the Taliban control, girls were completely prohibited from receiving any form of education whatsoever as it was held to be an act of Satan to educate girls who are meant to be domestic support and are not meant to come out of their 'purdah' or veil. Such dictatorship of the Taliban previously displaced several hundred thousands of families away from their homes. With the poor participation of the government into the matter, it is difficult for the teachers provide education to children due to lack of infrastructure, resources and supplies and also sometimes due to meagre salaries. Many teachers being inadequately qualified themselves are unable to impart quality education to the children (Borgen, 2018).

Responses To The Breach
Various organisations have responded to the breach of the human rights and its impacts on the victims. The UNICEF along with its International supporters of female education have laid down the Community Based Education Programs (CBE) which acts as a good and sound educational opportunities for a girl child who tends to miss school due to her responsibility at work for her family. According to several researches conducted by the Human Rights Watch, Community Based Education Programs (CBEs) have shown promising results and recorded evidence of increase in enrolment of girls in school ("Women and girls", 2018). The program has proved to be a solution to several issues such as lack of female teachers to provide education to the girls, travelling for a long distance to reach school, poor infrastructure and sanitation issues. The Ministry Of Education of Afghanistan reported to the Human Rights Watch in April 2017 that out of 9.3 million children who go to school, 39% are girls. As per the statistical data of the United Nations children's Fund (UNICEF) in January 2016, 40% of the children in Afghanistan do not go to school ("Human Rights Watch", 2018). As per the data of the Government of Afghanistan UNICEF reported that 66% of girls between the age group of 12 to 15, who are of the age to receive lower secondary education are out of school, which is 40% when compared to the statistical data of boys of the same age group. As per the analysis of the World Bank, there is a wide disparity between the ratio of the girls to that of the boys attending school especially in provinces such as Kandahar and Paktia ("Human Rights Watch", 2018).

Presently in Afghanistan 33% of adolescence girls are illiterate compared to the 66% of the total number of boys while only 90% of adult women are literate compared to that of 49% of adult men. In spite of the menace of illiteracy among women, the Afghan Government has been meagre when it comes to expenditure on education, especially towards female education ("Human Rights Watch", 2018). As per the International Standards, the Afghan government should spend around 15 to 20% of its annual budget and 4 to 6% of its GDP on education ("Human Rights Watch", 2018). One of the recent developments of Afghanistan in the field of female education has paved the way for the advent of Community Based Education Program, which is mainly funded by NGOs ("Human Rights Organizations - The Role of Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs) in Human Rights Advocacy", 2018). The CBE programs have prioritized education for girls especially for the ones who are unable to go to schools due to their unfortunate circumstances.

The Afghan Government not only lags behind to provide education to the girl child but also deficits to ensure proper functioning of the educational institutions and programs. Burning issues like domestic violence, child marriage, lawlessness, sexual harassment, child labour, military use of schools, attacks on educational institutions and lastly poverty are all reasons of poor education system of a country, especially when it does not impart education to its girl child. In addition to all social and cultural issues, the issue of lack of female teachers especially in rural areas is also a major reason behind lesser enrolment of girls in school. The country along with the assistance of several NGOs and international supporters are trying its best to improve the situation; it is encouraging families to send their daughters to school and CBEs. However, it still has a long way to go.

Borgen, C. (2018). Top 10 Facts About Girls' Education in Afghanistan. Retrieved from https://borgenproject.org/facts-about-girls-education-in-afghanistan/

Human Rights Organizations - The Role of Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs) in Human Rights Advocacy. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.humanrights.com/voices-for-human-rights/human-rights-organizations/non-governmental.html

Human Rights Watch. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.hrw.org/

Jayachandran, S. (2015). The roots of gender inequality in developing countries. economics, 7(1), 63-88.


Samady, S. (2013). Changing profile of education in Afghanistan. Modern education in Afghanistan, 31(4), 588-602.


Shayan, Z. (2015). Gender inequality in education in Afghanistan: Access and barriers. Open Journal of Philosophy, 5(05), 277.


Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/Women and girls. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.right-to-education.org/girlswomen


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