This weekend, up to 5.5 million children are expected to return to their classrooms in Afghanistan, as the nation prepares for Back to School celebrations on Sunday 21 March, 2004. Last year, enrolment in schools rose to over 4 million children; 1.2 million of those students were girls.
There have been great leaps of progress in getting Afghan girls into schools in the last several years however, UNICEF estimates that there are 1.5 million primary school age girls who are still not benefiting from education and the organization plans to assist 1 million of these children in 2004.
“There are now more children in Afghanistan’s classrooms than ever before,” said UNICEF representative for Afghanistan Dr. Sharad Sapra. “Moreover, the Government, along with its partners such as UNICEF and friends in the international community, has wiped out a seven year deficit in girls’ education. The people of Afghanistan cherish education, and are striving to see their children benefit from quality schooling in every community across the country.”