More than 400,000 Afghan children are expected to stop attending school this year—approximately 1,100 every day—according to a March 2017 report by Save the Children. As Shereena Qazi and Fatima Faizi reported for Al Jazeera, expanding insecurity in Middle Eastern countries has a direct impact on school attendance. In Afghanistan, an estimated 3.7 million children will not receive any sort of schooling in the next year. In 2016, 900 Afghani children were killed due to conflict, making it the worst year for deaths of minors in that country.
The increasing dropout rate leaves Afghan children at risk to a number of negative circumstances including child labor, enrollment by armed organizations, forced marriage, and trafficking. Many of the affected children are not able to attend school due to lack of resources such as food, water, and shelter. More than one million children are currently experiencing malnutrition. Education falls behind when an individual is starving.
In 2016, Pakistan ordered 610,000 Afghans to return to their country, overwhelming Afghanistan’s fragile health and education systems. A volunteer organization called the Pen Path, run by Matiullah Wesa, focuses on opening schools in the most affected areas. Wesa oversees open-air classes in order to make education a priority even amongst turmoil.
As of March 2017, US corporate media have not covered this story. A few smaller news outlets have covered the story such as VOA News and Relief Web. This article highlights how war and conflict affect every pillar of society. In addition, lack of education directly correlates with higher rates of distress and conflict.
Source: Shereena Qazi and Fatima Faizi, “1,100 Afghan children a day ‘to drop out of school,’” Al Jazeera, March 23, 2017, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/03/1100-afghan-children-day-drop-school-170323060014972.html.
Student Researcher: Ariana Millias (College of Marin)
Faculty Evaluator: Susan Rahman (College of Marin)