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The education system in Afghanistan has been revitalised since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001. From a total enrolment of about 1 million students, almost exclusively boys, the figure has now grown to over 8 million, 38 % of whom are girls. More than 6,205 schools have been built and over 10,059 schools have been re-established, the number of teachers has increased from 22,283 in 2001 to 186,864 today and almost 200 million textbooks have been printed. The demand for education among the population is constantly increasing. The government of Afghanistan strives to ensure quality education for all afghan boys and girls in close collaboration with donors and other partners.

Danish support to education in Afghanistan In 2001 the education system in Afghanistan was run down. Only about 1 million Afghan children went to school in 2001. Today, in 2012, more than 8 million students go to school. Denmark has supported education in Afghanistan since 2003. Since its start, Danish support to education in Afghanistan has been designed to help develop a strong education system in Afghanistan. The main focus has been on improving access and quality of primary education for all Afghan children. Denmark has support education over the whole of Afghanistan, but in recent years there has been a special focus on providing education opportunities for children in Helmand Province

With Danish support a new modern curriculum framework has been developed and millions of textbooks have been printed and distributed to schools. Primary and secondary schools, teacher training colleges, textbookwarehouses, technical and vocational schools have been built. Denmark has also contributed significantly to reforming and building the capacity of the Ministry of Education of Afghanistan, both at central level as in the 34 provinces.

The Danish support to education in Afghanistan is an integrated part of Denmark's overall assistance to Afghanistan. The purpose of the support is also to create the foundation for sustaiable development,economic growth, and stability and security in Afghanistan.

The current education programme will be in force until March 2013. The programme is in line with the Afghan education plan and most of the support is provided as on-budget financial support to the Ministry of Education of Afghanistan as well as through technical support.

Denmark is not alone in supporting the education sector in Afghanistan. Many donors are active and provide valuable support. Afghanistan has also recently received as US$ 55.7 million grant from the Global partnership of Education to implement a three-year programme aimed at achieving the Education for All goals. Denmark has coordinated the efforts that led to the membership of the Global Partnership of Education.  

School girls

Does it work?

Providing development assistance in the context of a fragile state like Afghanistan is challenging – in particular because of the security environment. Despite the challenges significant results have been achieved. We keep on learning from our experiences – both the good and bad. To document the results – and to learn from the experiences made through the last decade - an evaluation of Danida support to the education sector in Afghanistan from 2003-2010 has been undertaken. This will help us improve our support to Afghanistan. Looking ahead The needs are still great in Afghanistan – almost five million Afghan children are without learning opportunities, in particular in remote and rural areas of the country.

Many schools, books, teachers are still needed across the country. While there has been much focus on increasing access to education over the last decade, there is a need to focus more on the quality of the education provided. This is to ensure that the children stay in school and to ensure that the children actually learn to read and write. It is also important to ensure that the students passing through primary and secondary school can continue their education or find employment. Denmark is committed to continue to support education in Afghanistan. A new education support programme covering years 2013 and 2014 is currently being developed in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education. The focus will be on addressing some of these key challenges currently facing the sector.