UNICEF welcomes reopening of secondary schools in Afghanistan, stresses that girls must not be left out

Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore

17 September 2021
Afghanistan. A boy draws in a book.

NEW YORK/KABUL, 17 September 2021 – “UNICEF welcomes news that secondary schools in Afghanistan will be open tomorrow after closing down for months due to COVID-19.

“We are deeply worried, however, that many girls may not be allowed back at this time.

“Girls cannot, and must not, be left behind. It is critical that all girls, including older girls, are able to resume their education without any further delays. For that, we need female teachers to resume teaching.

“Even before the most recent humanitarian crisis, 4.2 million children were not enrolled in school. Around 60 per cent of them are girls. Every day that girls miss out on education is a missed opportunity for them, their families and their communities.

“There has been significant progress in education in the country over the past two decades. The number of schools tripled. The number of children in school increased from 1 million to 9.5 million.  

“These are important improvements for the country’s children that we must respect and protect. 

“UNICEF urges development partners to support education for all children in Afghanistan.

“UNICEF will continue to advocate with all actors so that all girls and boys have an equal chance to learn and develop the skills they need to thrive and build a peaceful and productive Afghanistan.” 

Media contacts

Najwa Mekki
Tel: +1917 209 1804
Samantha Mort
Chief of Communication & Advocacy
UNICEF Afghanistan
Tel: +93 799 98 7110


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