“The recent fighting shows yet again the high risks and dangers for students in Afghanistan wanting to receive an education,” said Astrid Sletten, Afghanistan Country Director for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). “All parties to the conflict must protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, including schools.”
Jan Bibi Uoz Bashi Girls’ High School in Qaisar district of Faryab province in Northern Afghanistan was at the centre of an airstrike and intense fighting between Afghan security forces and armed opposition groups on Sunday 7 February. The fighting shattered the boundary wall, meant to protect it from the conflict, damaged the school’s walls and windows and destroyed almost all school equipment, according to local sources. Thankfully, as the school was not open on the day of the attack, no students or teachers were harmed in the fighting as far as the NRC is aware.
Jan Bibi Uoz Bashi Girls’ High School was recently rehabilitated by NRC with funding from Norway.
“This fighting has cruelly disrupted the education of more than 3,000 girls who attend the school daily. Ongoing attacks on schools across the country threaten to reverse the tremendous gains made on girls’ education in recent decades,” said Sletten.
Despite efforts to rebuild the public education system since 2001, nearly half of all school-aged children in Afghanistan are out-of-school, 60 per cent of them girls. Insecurity negatively affects school attendance, with higher rates of out-of-school children in the most affected provinces. Girls, who are already less likely to go to school in Afghanistan, have been particularly impacted by the violence.
Norwegian Refugee Council carries out informal education programmes for children and youth from displaced families as well as the host communities. Afghanistan remains one of the deadliest countries in which to receive an education. The UN verified 155 attacks against schools between July 2019 and July 2020, while unofficial reports are significantly higher.
- The Government of Afghanistan endorsed the Oslo Safe Schools Declaration in a meeting hosted by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 29 May 2015. Since its endorsement, implementation has been slow, leaving children and teachers at high risk.
- NRC in Afghanistan specialises in education in emergencies for displacement-affected children, and the most vulnerable children from host communities. We work to improve access to protective and safe learning environments by supporting formal and non-formal education. In 2019, 25,006 people benefitted from our education program.
Christian Jepsen, Media adviser in Afghanistan:
- Email at Christian.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mobile: +254 706248 391
NRC Media hotline in Oslo:
- Email at email@example.com
- +47 905 62 329