Education International, which represents over 29 million teachers and education workers in the world, a thousand of whom are in Afghanistan, has asked the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, and the international community to redouble their efforts to guarantee girls’ education in Afghanistan and the safety of teachers who educate girls.
In the last few weeks, reprisals have been taken against girls who attended classes, or teachers who teach girls in their classrooms, leading to terror in Afghanistan’s schools. On 15 December, a teacher was beheaded at the school gate after he ignored Taliban guerrillas’ orders to stop teaching girls. On 4 January, Malim Abdul Habib, headmaster of a school in Qalat, suffered the same fate. Malim had also received threatening letters, but had continued teaching, without any special protection. According to the authorities of the province of Zabul, in Southern Afghanistan, 100 of 170 registered schools have been closed down in the past two years because of poor security. EI therefore urges the Afghan Government, as well as the international community, to ensure the safety of teachers and education workers who firmly commit themselves to providing schooling and, especially to teaching girls. At a time when the representatives of 60 countries are meeting, under the aegis of the United Nations, in London, on 31 January and 1 February, in order to develop an assistance plan for Afghanistan (Afghanistan Compact), EI recalls that girls’ education is a sine qua non for development. The promotion of gender equality is one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and is part of the Education For All action plan, which was adopted by 185 States in 2000. EI asks the international community’s leaders to consider girls’ education as a priority of the Afghanistan Compact, which will serve as the cooperation framework with Afghanistan in the next five years. For further information on EI’s commitment to education, please consult the EI website: http://www.ei-ie.org