- 11% believe children have the opportunity to learn and grow
- 27% say children are treated with respect
- 19% are satisfied with quality of educational system
This article is part of a series based on Gallup’s surveys in Afghanistan one year after the Taliban’s takeover.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- One year after the Taliban retook control of their country, Afghans have lost hope not only for themselves but also for future generations in Afghanistan.
A record-low 11% of Afghans surveyed this year in late July and August -- roughly marking the one-year anniversary of the Taliban’s takeover -- say children in their country have the opportunity to learn and grow.
Afghans’ perceptions of children having the opportunity to learn and grow nosedived to 24% in the early days of the Taliban’s rule in 2021, when the group closed all schools across the country. But Afghans lost more faith when the Taliban did not permit girls past sixth grade to return when schools opened this year -- effectively banning 3 million girls from getting a secondary education.
Afghans See Educational System in Shambles
With the Taliban’s edict on girls’ education effectively reversing 20 years of hard-fought gains and disrupting education across the country, Afghans’ satisfaction with their local schools dropped to a record low this year.
Fewer than one in five Afghans (19%) in 2022 say they are satisfied with the educational system or schools where they live, effectively tying the lowest level of satisfaction measured in any country that Gallup has surveyed in 16 years.
While these disruptions have been worse for girls, they have not been alone. Many girls and boys -- especially those in rural areas -- still do not have the opportunity to attend school and lack basic literacy. Before the Taliban returned to power, UNICEF estimated that more than 4 million children were out of school in Afghanistan, prevented from attending school by having to work for their family’s welfare or being forced into early marriage because of extreme poverty.
Respect for Children Also Drops to Record Low
Against this backdrop, the percentage of Afghans who believe children in their country are treated well also reached a new low: Just over one in four Afghans (27%) say children in their country are treated with respect and dignity.
Afghan Women See Bigger Problems
Women and men alike see little hope for their country’s children, but the situation looks much bleaker to women from every vantage point.
Just 6% of women versus 17% of men say children in their country have the opportunity to learn and grow, and 20% of women versus 34% of men say children are treated with dignity and respect. Women are also far less satisfied than men with the local schools; 15% of women are satisfied versus 22% of men.
Afghans’ lives have been in a tailspin since the Taliban returned to power in 2021: The country’s economy is in ruins, tens of millions of Afghans are going hungry, and women and girls continue to see more of their freedoms and respect stripped away by the day.
In the current climate, it’s easy to understand why so many Afghans lack hope for themselves and why their outlook for the next generation’s opportunities is so grim.
Education is one of the most important levers to lift a country out of poverty. Yet, the longer Afghanistan remains the only country in the world that forbids girls from attending school, the less able it will be to restore Afghans’ hopes for their society.
Women make up roughly half of the population in Afghanistan. The country needs the active participation of Afghan women and girls in every sector to help rebuild the economy and move the country in a positive direction.
A recent UNICEF analysis estimated that if the 3 million girls who are being kept out of school were allowed to complete their education and join the job market, girls and women would contribute at least $5.4 billion to the country’s economy.
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