Read caption With funding from the ECHO, the Norwegian Refugee Council is implementing an accelerated learning programme to help Afghan returnees, internally displaced children and children from the host communities in Nangarhar back to school.

Back to school in Afghanistan

TEXT: Enayatullah Azad PHOTO: Sandra Calligaro/NRC|Published 25. Nov 2016
A large number of Afghan children have lost years of education because of conflict and displacement.

Last year, more than 369 schools in Afghanistan had to close completely or partially due to insecurity, denying 139,048 students access to education. Other children have had to flee multiple times and many have never had a chance to be enrolled in school. With the support from ECHO, the Norwegian Refugee Council offers accelerated learning programmes to help displaced Afghan children, Afghan returnees and other children back into the school system. 


Education for all

Students are playing during break time in Rassouli Mina school in Behsud district in Nangarhar province, Eastern Afghanistan.

The Afghan constitution guarantees the provision of education for all children from grade one through to bachelor degree level. To achieve this, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Education has asked for support from donors and non-governmental organisations to help children who have been deprived of a formal education, back to school. 


Two years in one

The accelerated learning programme is designed so that the students can complete two academic years within one year. 


"We need the book"

Saba Gul (10) has been displaced from Wata Pur district of Kunar province to Behsud in Nangarhar. Describing a picture in a book, the young student wrote: «We see a book in this picture. The book is something valued and important. We need the book, because the book shows us the way of life.»

Until the accelerated learning programme was established in August 2015, Saba was not going to school. It has given her a new opportunity.


With help from the community

With the help of locals, NRC’s education team conducted community outreach in different parts of Behsud district for about three months, and established the accelerated learning centers with the support of community members.

The communities have themselves provided the place for the education centers.


The first girl

Saba Gul is the first girl in her family to have the opportunity to go to school even though she has been displaced. She is very happy. 



The Norwegian Refugee Council's education assistant, Gulalai Masoomi, is visiting a class to monitor the programme and work with students in Rassouli Mina school. 


Catching up

By spending three years going through six years of primary education, NRC’s accelerated educational programmes ensure that children who have missed parts of their education can catch up. 


Six centres

Currently, 1,260 students (621 girls and 639 boys) are enrolled in six different centres, and 40 specially trained teachers (20 men and 20 women) instruct the students. 



As over half a million Afghans will return from Pakistan to Afghanistan by the end of 2016 and 400,000 Afghans have been displaced only during the first 10 months of the year, there is a huge need for catch up programmes in many provinces of Afghanistan.