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Pakistan’s Afghan Refugee Girls Have Least Access To Education: GEM Report 2019

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Afghan refugees have limited access to education in Pakistan, but the most affected section is Afghan refugee girls, who have a mere 18 percent net enrolment rate, while the enrolment rate for Afghan refugee boys is a twice the better at 39 percent, according  to GEM Report 2019.

The figures were released by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in its Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report 2019. The report is titled “Migration, displacement and Education” and is focused on the plight of migrant and refugee children.eduaverage

The report points to the sociocultural traditions and terms it a vicious circle where adolescent girls can be taught only by women. Whereas, there are very few female teachers for Afghan girls and in Pakistan, female teachers displaced by violence are hesitant to return to work, fearing for their security where militant groups target schools.

According to the report, the Afghan refugee primary net enrolment rate stands at 29 percent, less than half the national rate in Pakistan of 71 percent. The primary net enrolment rate for refugee girls is 18 percent, which is not only half the rate for boys (39 percent) but even less than half the primary attendance rate for girls in Afghanistan in the same year.

However, the report says that Afghan refugees have access to a range of schools that are largely outside the public domain. These schools include private (from low-cost to elite); madrasas that are free and provide food and boarding; community-based schools; and non-formal schools.conflict

In addition, UNHCR-managed refugee schools cater to 57,000 Afghan students in 52 refugee villages in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The report says, “Refugee schools use the Afghan curriculum in preparation for return and reintegration into the Afghan education system, despite protracted displacement having led to a second generation of Afghan refugees in Pakistan.” These, however, have limited funding and struggle to hire and retain qualified teachers.

The first wave of Afghan refugees arrived in Pakistan with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. The number peaked at 3.3 million in 1989, but 1.4 million were still registered in 2017, of whom 0.5 million were aged 5 to 18. An estimated 1 million other Afghans living in Pakistan remain unregistered.Disability

Pakistan is not a signatory of the 1951 Refugee Convention, but its constitution, as amended in 2010, guarantees the right to free, compulsory education for all children aged 5 to 16, with no discrimination between citizens and foreigners.remittance

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