Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Back to School in Afghanistan

Photo: Superintendent James Rainville (
RCMP) beset by students at a girl's school in Mazar-e-Sharif. Supt. Rainville works out of the Regional Training Centre (RTC) in Mazar-e-Sharif to train the Afghan National Police. RTC staff visit the school often to discuss ongoing needs with the principal and distribute small items for use by the school, not least of all candy, always a popular item with the kids.
Before 2001 the Taliban forbade education for girls and women; now over five million children - one-third girls - go to school and are clearly loving it.
March 24 marked the beginning of a new school year for over six million Afghan boys and girls, in grades one to twelve, and the perfect time to reflect on the progress that has been made in the education sector of the country.

In the past five years, the people of Afghanistan have reaffirmed their commitment to their children’s and Afghanistan’s future by sending their children to school in unprecedented numbers. According to the Ministry of Education, over six million children, nearly 35% of them girls, will be enrolled in school in 2007/08, compared to a little more than a million students five years ago and very few girls. Furthermore, the number of teachers in the education system has grown seven-fold. CIDA is helping to improve the education sector in Afghanistan with a particular emphasis on women and girls.
CIDA is supporting the work of BRAC Afghanistan to deliver basic primary education for some 120,000 children, almost 85% of whom will be girls. The four-year project will also establish up to 4,000 community-based schools and train 9,000 teachers, at least 4,000 of whom will be women. There are still many more challenges despite the incredible improvement that has been made in the quality and access to education for all. For example, half of school-age children are still estimated to be out of school, with significant gender and provincial disparities; only 28% of teachers are female and are located primarily in urban areas, and an estimated eleven million Afghans are illiterate. CIDA will support the Ministry of Education to address these challenges and build a solid education system for Afghanistan. (Source:
Canadian International Development Agency)


ISAF observation group near Maymana in Northern Afghanistan.

UK Forces in Afghanistan: Royal Irish Regiment soldier in Musa Qaleh.

German ISAF soldier posing with his best friend.

US troops and Iraqi Army on join patrol in Baqubah, Iraq (Mar 28, 2007). They come under sniper fire, engage the enemy and later do some house checking.

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