U.N. says Afghan girls getting back to school


Published: Monday, January 27, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 26, 2003 at 10:39 p.m.
KABUL, Afghanistan - Thousands of Afghan girls have signed up for special winter classes, eager to catch up on schooling they missed during decades of war and hard-line Islamic rule, the United Nations said Sunday.
Some 15,000 girls in Kabul have enrolled in two education programs to take place during the winter, when children usually are on break. About 11,000 had been anticipated by the U.N. Children's Fund.
The majority of the girls - about 11,500 - have signed up for basic lessons in mathematics and the local Dari language.
The rest are taking accelerated classes designed for older girls who missed years of schooling due to the ban on women's education by the ousted Taliban and displacement during the nation's 23 years of war.
More than 3 million children, 30 percent of them girls, returned to school across Afghanistan last year.
"The accelerated learning program is an essential strategy to improve opportunities for children who have fallen behind in their education, and ensures their continued presence in the classroom this year," said Edward Carwardine, a UNICEF spokesman.
After the end of the three-month accelerated learning program, the older girls are to be tested to determine which grade they should be placed in when the new term begins in March, he said.
The United Nations also announced plans Sunday to tackle judicial reform in Afghanistan and ensure immunization against tetanus.
The U.N. and the Afghan Judicial Reform Commission signed an agreement to begin a two-year project that will reconstruct dilapidated courthouses, train judges and law assistants and upgrade legal libraries.
The agreement was the product of a two-day December conference in Rome between Afghan ministers and donor countries. Manoel de Almeida e Silva, spokesman for the U.N. mission in Afghanistan, said the $30 million effort is "the first major step toward reforming the judicial system."
The United Nations also unveiled the first ever campaign to immunize Afghan women against tetanus. The campaign aims to reach every woman of childbearing age by 2005 as part of a worldwide effort.
About 13 percent of Afghanistan's population is immunized against the disease, which can be transmitted from mothers to newborn babies. Tetanus kills approximately 200,000 infants and 30,000 women each year in the developing world, according to the United Nations.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

Comments are currently unavailable on this article

▲ Return to Top