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The Right to Education: What’s at Stake in Afghanistan?; A 20-Year Review
Place of publication | Year of publication | Collation: 
Paris | 2021 | 41 p.
Corporate author: 
Asia and the Pacific
© UNESCO 2021

This report takes stock of the achievements in education made by Afghanistan over the past 20 years and sets out immediate action to safeguard the right to education for all learners following deep political change in the country in 2021.

Although Afghanistan lags far behind countries across South and West Asia on most development indicators, it has made impressive progress in education over two decades. Enrolment has increased ten-fold, with substantial gains for girls and female literacy. Female teachers have been hired. Steady efforts have been made to expand the school network across the country.

The country has ratified key international normative instruments relating to the right to education; enshrined this right in the Constitution and adopted a wide range of policy measures to increase access, improve education quality and reduce gender, socio- economic and rural/urban disparities.

But the challenges remain colossal, with half the primary school-aged children not enrolled in school and very low learning outcomes. The country is highly dependent on external aid to sustain its education system. It needs to uphold state obligations on the right to education without any discrimination and continue removing barriers that impede progress towards the Sustainable Development Goal on education to build the country’s future.


Resource Type: 
Case studies and research papers
Programme reports and evaluations
Human rights / Human dignity
Social justice / Equity
Inclusive / Diversity
Sustainable development / Sustainability / Environmental
Level of education: 
Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE)
Primary education
Secondary education
Higher education
Lifelong learning
Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET)
Non-formal education


Right to education; Quality education; Sustainable development goal 4; SDG 4