Depriving girls of secondary education to cost Afghan economy USD 500 million – India Times English News

Kabul: According to a new analysis by UNICEF, keeping girls out of secondary school costs 2.5 percent of Afghanistan’s annual GDP. The UN agency said that if the current group of 3 million girls were able to complete their secondary education and participate in the job market, girls and women would contribute at least USD 5.4 billion to Afghanistan’s economy, The UN agency said the Taliban had completed one year of Afghanistan. acquisition of.

UNICEF’s estimates do not take into account the non-financial effects of denying girls access to education, such as the ensuing shortage of female teachers, doctors and nurses, reduced primary school attendance for girls and increased health costs associated with adolescents. pregnancy.

The estimates also do not account for the wider benefits of education, including overall educational attainment, reduced child marriages and reduced infant mortality.

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“The decision to not allow girls to return to secondary school on March 23 was shocking and deeply disappointing. Not only does this violate girls’ fundamental right to education, but it also exposes them to increased anxiety, and greater risk of exploitation and abuse, including child trafficking, early and forced marriage,” said UNICEF Afghanistan representative, Dr. Mohamed Ayoya said.

“Now, this new analysis clearly expresses the dire economic impact of this decision on the country’s GDP.” Even before the Taliban came to power on August 15 last year, Afghanistan was struggling with more than 4.2 million children out of school; Of which 60 percent were girls.

Although the potential costs of not educating boys and girls equally are high in terms of lost earnings, not educating girls is particularly costly because of delays in educational attainment and marriage and childbirth of girls, participation in the workforce and There are links between making choices about their future. And investing more in your children’s health and education later in life.

The analysis indicates that Afghanistan will be unable to reach its true potential productivity without regaining the gross domestic product (GDP) lost during the transition and meeting girls’ rights to secondary schooling.

“UNICEF wants to see every girl and boy throughout Afghanistan go to school and learn,” Ayoya said. “We will not stop advocating until that goal is achieved. Education is not only the right of every child, but it is also the foundation of future development in Afghanistan.

“In addition to girls not being able to return to secondary schools, UNICEF is also struggling to access adolescent girls with the critical services they need, such as anemia prevention support and menstrual health and hygiene, that UNICEF provides in schools. used to do.

Malnutrition among children is also increasing. In June 2021, 30,000 children were treated for severe acute malnutrition in Afghanistan; In June 2022, 57,000 children were admitted – a 90 percent increase.

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Children are forced to work to support their families instead of going to school which may be the safest place for them. In the past 12 months, school-based health and nutrition services have reached 272,386 adolescent girls with iron and folic acid supplements.

Therefore, adolescent girls’ inability to continue their education compromises their health. Afghanistan is one of the most complex and multifaceted children’s crises worldwide,” Dr. Ayoya said. There is a turning point. The rights of girls are under attack; His childhood was full of deprivations.”