Save the Children’s annual Global Childhood Report released on Tuesday shows that two out of five children are not in school in Afghanistan.
The report says that Afghanistan is ranked 157th among 176 countries on children’s access to health care, education, nutrition and protection – as well as child labour, child marriage, displacement due to conflict and child homicide.
While Afghanistan has made huge progress over the past two decades, for example by reducing rates of child marriage by 44% over the past 20 years, millions of children are still missing out on their childhood.
The rates of mortality amongst children under five (6.79%), child stunting (40.9%), children out of school (41.9%) and child labour (29.4%) remain major challenges impacting children’s lives across the country. A staggering 88% of Afghan children aged 6-24 months don’t receive the right amount of daily nutrition, according to UNICEF.
The ongoing conflict in Afghanistan is preventing children from reaching their potential. Our survey finds that 15% of Afghanistan’s children have been forcibly displaced as a result of the conflict. Many have had their education disrupted or their schools taken over by armed groups or used for military purposes.
The report said that education is key to Afghanistan’s future, and while there have been significant expansions in access to education for Afghan children— especially girls—since 2001, the past year has seen a rise in targeted attacks on schools, teachers, and students.
According to a report co-authored by Save the Children, in the first five months of 2018, the government recorded 870 attacks on schools, threats or intimidation against students, education staff or facilities, or fighting by armed forces and groups in the vicinity of school grounds.
Approximately 1,000 schools are currently damaged, destroyed, occupied by non-state armed groups or Afghan and international forces, or closed because of conflict.