Impact on Afghan Teachers of the Restrictions on the Right to Learn and to Teach

Research on Teachers’ Status and Working Conditions in Taliban-Controlled Afghanistan

published 14 June 2024 updated 19 June 2024

From March to May of 2023, Education International and one of its member organisations in Afghanistan, the National Teacher Elected Council (NTEC), conducted a survey among the country’s teachers. The findings paint a bleak picture, revealing the impact of Taliban policy on Afghanistan’s teachers, students, and education system.

Since they seized power, the Taliban’s attack on girls’ and women’s rights has been relentless. In August 2021, Taliban restricted access to secondary and higher education for girls and women and prohibited female teachers from teaching boys. In December 2022, they banned women from attending higher education institutions, affecting over 100,000 female students. Many women teachers have lost their jobs and their livelihoods. An estimated 7.8 million children were out of school in Afghanistan in 2023. The repercussions of these policies will be devastating for generations of girls and women in Afghanistan.

Against this backdrop, Education International and its member organisations have mobilised to champion the rights of Afghanistan’s teachers and children. The survey and accompanying report bring a significant contribution to these efforts. This collection of firsthand accounts reveals the real-life and multifaceted challenges experienced by educators on the ground and will inform the ongoing advocacy for their rights and well-being.

Despite the serious obstacles, threats, and security concerns, the survey collected 2,517 testimonies from female and male teachers (1,318 women and 904 men) in 23 provinces. Almost 60% of the respondents were women.

The report shows how the Taliban’s grip on Afghanistan has precipitated dire consequences for education, particularly for women and girls. Access to educational opportunities and teaching positions has been severely curtailed. Underfunded education institutions and low salaries for teachers have left many educators struggling to make ends meet, exacerbating the fragility of an already beleaguered education system.