Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, August 24th, 2019

Equal Access to Education: Path to National Prosperity

Today, may everyone agree with the idea that, people are the real wealth of nations and equal access to education helps them to live, happier, healthier and more productive lives. Also, research findings show that education enhances our ability to make informed decisions, sustain a livelihood, adopt new technologies, be better parents, cope with shocks, handle wisely the conflicts at all levels, and be responsible citizens. Considering the low economic development, quality education to be responsive to the ground needs of Afghanistan- to provide skilled workforce to the market- has taken a new urgency in our country. Indeed, there is link between education, jobs and the quality of the lives of the people. Based on this, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Child (1989) have recognized everyone’s right to education. Such links also show the relation between education and benefits beyond the individual and the family, to economic prosperity, less poverty, deprivation and civil conflicts. The main cause reaming in a trap of technological, stagnation, low development and low demand for Afghanistan is the low level of education.
Various researches done in rich and poor countries show that education plays a key role in long term growth and poverty reduction in these countries. In addition to this, our age is the age of technology, and considering the fast technological and economic changes, the role of education gains more significance. Because it yields the highest benefits as it enables the students to acquire the new knowledge and adopt to new technologies. However, benefits of education extend to acquire new knowledge or adopt new technologies: it enhances more civic participation; and even it contributes to more tolerant behavior, an issue that lack of it is the root cause of persistent social conflicts, especially in developing countries including Afghanistan.
Compared with the Taliban Era, more young Afghan are entering school, completing primary level, and transitioning to the secondary education in the country. Improvement in the government policies and internal financial and technical supports, far fewer children are out of school in Afghanistan now. Also, the government, non-governmental organizations, private sector have built schools and recruited more qualified teachers during this period. Thus, Afghanistan is still very far from reaching the basic goal set out as Sustainable Millennium Development Goals.
Progress in Afghanistan has not been equal across income, gender and other population groups. At the same time, as primary enrolment rates have increased, the pressure on government in terms of expanding capacity of secondary schools and tertiary education institutions has increased too. While, Afghanistan’s national income is very low, it spends a great amount of it education. However, the results from these investments considering the huge funds that the international community has spent on education and also a large portion of the national income of Afghanistan that has been invested in the education sector, the results from these investments have not been satisfactory, especially when one examines the learning outcomes rather than enrollment. Education system of Afghanistan is facing multiple challenges to reach disadvantaged groups and disadvantaged geographical areas. Expanding post-basic education to address greater demand to address the ground needs of the country, and ensuring that the education provided is relevant to the Afghanistan context and has a good quality.
In Afghanistan, in addition to historical legacy of unequal distribution of opportunities including educational ones, income poverty is still a major pervasive barrier to school attendance and learning due to continuous war and conflicts. Research findings show that children from the poorest families and communities who enter school, leave school early.  However, what is amazing is that, in certain parts of Afghanistan like Daikondi, although people are very poor, they manage to support their children continue their education for a better livelihood and prosperous future.
Education is considered as a means to learn new knowledge and adopt to new technology and new social developments. It serves as a tool to overcome poverty and shape a new future for the new generations. As the finding of research show there is a direct link between quality education and development of a country. As a result, the government of Afghanistan shall take all the necessary measures to ensure accessible, and quality education for all the people of Afghanistan in order to have prosperous society.