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19 Jun 2024

Education in Afghanistan: A rallying cry for change.

Education in Afghanistan: A rallying cry for change.
The ongoing crisis in Afghanistan's education system resonates deeply on an international scale, reminding us of the fundamental role education plays in stability and progress. Each year, millions of educators around the world attend conferences and events, hoping to glean insights that will not only advance their careers but also bring transformative change back to their countries. This universal pursuit of knowledge becomes particularly poignant when considering the case of Afghanistan, where education is a beacon of hope amidst the shadows of restriction.

One deeply moving story is that of Matiullah Hanifi, a dedicated former teacher turned passionate advocate from Afghanistan. In a country where approximately ‘3.7 million children are out-of-school’ (UNESCO), Matiullah stands as a beacon of hope among educators striving to secure the fundamental right of education for young girls. His journey to an international education conference was not just about personal or professional advancement but a desperate quest to champion his students' basic rights. Facing unexpected governmental obstacles, Matiullah's quest led to a heart-wrenching separation from his family as he was forced to seek asylum in another country, highlighting the immense sacrifices made in the fight for education.

The current state of education in Afghanistan is a grim testament to the immense power and importance of learning. Due to the country's ongoing political instability, the restrictions have tightened, effectively erasing decades of progress, particularly for women and girls. The denial of education to half the population not only stunts individual lives but also cripples the nation economically and socially, propagating a cycle of poverty and dependence that is difficult to break. To put this into perspective, UNESCO reported that ‘80% of school-aged Afghan girls and young women are out of school, a staggering 2.5 million. In addition, nearly 30% of girls in Afghanistan have never entered primary education.’ Let that sink in.

For the global education community, the ripple effect of empowering just one educator like Matiullah can be monumental. Equipped with the right tools and knowledge, advocates can ignite a passion for learning in their home countries, offering hope and opening doors that seemed forever closed. As a community, we hold a responsibility not just to listen but to act—ensuring that education transcends borders and becomes a universal right that no government can deny.

As we look beyond the horizons of our comfortable conference rooms, let us remember that the power of education lies not just in the knowledge imparted but in the freedoms it can reclaim. Afghanistan's equity gap is not just a national issue; it is a global challenge that calls for a unified response aimed at restoring and protecting the right to learn for every child and adult in every corner of the world.

For those of us privileged enough to access education freely, let this be a call to action. Support educational initiatives, advocate for policy reforms, and contribute to technological solutions that can bridge the gaps created by political and social upheaval. The future of learning in Afghanistan - and indeed, the world - depends on our collective commitment to uphold education as a basic human right, transcending all barriers and reaching those who need it most. 


To hear from Matiullah directly, listen to the Game4 podcast special with UNESCO below. 

Apple Podcasts



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