After Vast Improvements to Afghan Education, There’s Still a Long Way to Go

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Just ten years ago, roughly twelve million Afghans between the ages of fifteen and forty-five were functionally illiterate, and about eight million children of schooling age did not have access to literacy education.

Thanks to help from the United Nations and the International Community, the people of Afghanistan have much greater access to literacy programs and education, and the number of illiterate citizens has dropped substantially.

However, despite significant increases in school attendance and literacy, Afghanistan is still a war-zone. Fundamentalist groups that view education as a form of Western corruption are committed to sabotaging it at all costs, such as burning down schools, threatening or killing teachers, and targeted acid attacks on girls in school uniforms.

Thankfully, since 2009 the Safe Ride to School for Afghan Girls program has been providing safe passage for female students and teachers in the Kndahar Providence. However, over the past five years the program’s buses have taken critical damage, and new buses are needed to get these girls to school.

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Matthew M. Sullivan holds a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Grand Valley State University, with emphases in fiction and nonfiction. He lives smack-dab between some railroad tracks and Grand Rapids Michigan's third-busiest road, and spends his time studying film and literary fiction.