Preprimary & Primary Education
Preprimary education programs were implemented in Afghanistan in 1980. By 1990 the country had 195 centers providing such childcare services. The programs covered children between the ages of three to five. But, by 1999 only one remained open. In effect the 1980's decade of gains in early childhood development program halted and it essentially collapsed.
In spite of the uneven distribution of schools, UNESCO reported that primary schools did operate in all provinces in 1990. Afghanistan's compulsory primary education program generally began at age seven and included six years of schooling. The primary education program took six years (ages seven to twelve).
UNESCO reported that only 35 percent of school-aged boys and 19 percent of school-aged girls were attending primary schools in 1990. The percentage of school-aged boys increased to 46 percent in 1993 and 63 percent in 1995 but declined again to 53 percent in 1999. The percentage of school-aged girls declined in 1993 to 16 percent but increased in 1995 to 32 percent. However, reflecting Taliban prohibitions, by 1999 the percentage of females attending primary schools dramatically declined to only five percent.
Since both the provision of primary educational programs and actual attendance varied so greatly across the country and because supplies and textbooks were in extremely short supply, UNESCO reported that primary educational training focused on literacy and "knowledge about life" during the war years. Teachers provided lessons verbally; students memorized the lessons and recited them back.
In the early war-years, an American University study found that elementary education textbooks in the 1980s were available in all the major languages because the government's stated policy was that all children should be able to learn in their native language.
- Afghanistan - Administration, Finance, Educational Research
- Afghanistan - Educational System—overview
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