Over 6 million Afghan children to start new school year with UN support

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United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is working to ensure that both boys and girls in Afghanistan have access to quality education in a safe environment. UNICEF is providing learning materials for students and teacher kits to prepare new school year, which is going to begin on March 22, 2008.

UNICEF is also planning to support the Ministry of Education in constructing nearly 300 schools this year, training 48,000 teachers and developing textbooks and syllabi. UNICEF is expecting 6.2 million students in this year, but still there are number of challenges like gender disparity among students, a shortage of qualified teachers and attacks on schools. UNICEF is also estimating that 32 percent boys will complete primary school while only 13 per cent of girls do so. To address this situation, UNICEF is supporting the Government with the launch of Afghanistan Girls' Education Initiative. UNICEF will also provide back-up support to the Ministry of Education in supporting community-based schools. The agency is also supporting the Education Ministry in addressing the shortage of teachers in the country and improving the quality of education. UNICEF is working with local leaders, village elders and religious leaders to identify ways to protect schools and continue education for the millions of children who are returning to school.

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