Education International launches Afghan Teachers’ Rights Observatory to elevate the voice of teachers and defend the right to education

published 16 February 2023 updated 10 May 2023

The Observatory will gather data and testimonies on rights’ violations, amplify the voice of Afghan teachers, and work to restore girls’ right to education.

The Taliban regime’s rise to power in August 2021 marked a major setback for Afghan society, particularly for the rights of Afghan women and girls.

Education International member organisations on the ground warned that many of their members feared for their lives. In many regions controlled by the Taliban, girls’ schools shut their doors and women were no longer allowed to teach. Women teachers and their families were also threatened. In some provinces, education unionists who had been actively supporting girls’ education and women teachers were directly targeted by the Taliban. Human rights, including the right to education for girls, labour and freedom of association rights, and women’s rights were severely curtailed.

"We salute those teachers, both men and women, who continue to advocate for girls’ and women’s rights, despite the risks to their own lives."

Susan Hopgood | Education International President

Global education community stands with Afghan teachers and students

To respond to this situation, Education International has created its Afghan Teachers’ Rights Observatory. The platform will collect and feature data and testimonies on rights’ violations, highlighting the voice of Afghan teachers and informing advocacy at all levels to restore Afghan girls’ right to education.

“We salute teachers and their unions in these harsh circumstances, for their resilience, bravery and determination to continue to fight for the right to education in Afghanistan, especially for girls. We salute those teachers, both men and women, who continue to advocate for girls’ and women’s rights, despite the risks to their own lives,” stated Susan Hopgood, Education International President.

David Edwards, Education International General Secretary, added: “As Education International we are standing with our members in Afghanistan. The global community must come together to make sure Afghan voices are heard and the full right of girls to learn and teachers to teach is respected.”

Pakistani education activist Ziauddin Yousafzai of the Malala Fund welcomed the initiative, recognising that "the Education International Afghan Teachers' Rights Observatory is a vital tool to shed light on the Taliban's repressive actions. It provides critical, real-time insights into abuses of teachers' rights and the wider climate of fear surrounding girls' education."

Visit the Observatory and join us as we mobilise to defend the fundamental right to education, students’ and teachers’ rights in Afghanistan.