Functional literacy courses which had existed since the 1950s
were considerably developed during the 1970s, along with appropriate
teaching and reading materials for new literate. The politicized
promotion of adult literacy by the PDPA after 1978, however, was
greatly resented. In the 1990s, aid providers enthusiastically
sponsor adult courses, but it is difficult for new literate to
maintain their acquired skills because insufficient attention
is given to producing suitable reading materials.
Teacher training, textbook development, supplementary readings,
curricula, school supplies and construction are all emphasized
by agencies assisting Afghanistan's education sector. In many
instances, literacy and numeracy are combined with, health, dental
care, demining, agriculture and other skills training. Goals emphasize
literacy for productivity so as to build human capacities, but,
as in the past, social needs are secondary. According to the 1995
work plan prepared by twenty-six Afghan and international NGOs
and three UN agencies, their programs serve 20 provinces. Again,
provinces such as Ghor, Bamiyan, Nimroz and Badakhshan continue
to be neglected.
Despite these efforts, education receives only about 10 percent
of the funding provided for other sectors. Schools are still without
buildings in many areas and sustainability is questionable because
of insufficient coordination, underutilized trained teachers,
inattention to quality improvement, inadequate teaching materials,
monitoring, and evaluation.
Not enough attention has been made to devise special education
courses to reach young, one-time mujahideen who opted to go to
war instead of completing their education. These restive individuals
are unable to submit to constructive discipline such as school
attendance, yet they have no technical competence to enable them
to contribute productively to the society. Existing programs,
therefore, fall far short in human resource capacity building
which is arguably the most crucial need facing Afghanistan today.
In areas administered by the Taliban, emphasis is placed on maximizing
religious subjects, schools for girls are closed and female teachers
are forbidden to teach. Many NGOs, on instruction from their donors,
have suspended assistance in those areas where female education
is curtailed. Others seek alternative options such as home schools,
but the education system as a whole is beset with grave limitations
on key issues such as equitable access and quality instruction.
Several future generations will be severely handicapped as a result.
Data as of 1997