IRC announces comprehensive project to support tens of thousands of Afghan students
Afghan children study the Koran at a streetside shop in Kabul.
Photo: REUTERS/Omar Sobhani, courtesy Trust.org - AlertNet
The International Rescue Committee will participate in a major education campaign aimed at reaching more than 25,000 students in Afghanistan. The project, funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and bringing together four international aid agencies including the IRC, will reach students across more than a third of Afghanistan. It will take a holistic approach to education; it will provide new schools, help train as many as 800 teachers, and will promote adult literacy. Known by the acronym “Beacon” (Basic Education Afghanistan Consortium), the project is community-based, meaning not only that it will utilize existing buildings for safe classrooms, but will encourage parental engagement in children’s education. Another Beacon goal is to support Afghanistan’s Ministry of Education by helping it assume control of the new schools at the end of the project.
The IRC’s country director for Afghanistan describes the project as a major step forward in committing to Afghanistan’s future. “Afghanistan has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world,” notes Nigel Jenkins. “This is exactly the kind of investment the international community should be making at this crucial time. It’s an investment in the people that represent the future of Afghanistan.”
Afghanistan’s literacy rate stands at 43% for men, and just 13% for women. Beacon is designed to increase student enrollment — particularly for girls — in remote and often insecure regions of the country. School age girls in Afghanistan often don’t receive an education, due both to cultural traditions and current violence.