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Afghanistan: Education

Volume 475: debated on Wednesday 14 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps are being taken by his Department to improve the education system in Afghanistan. (204363)

Improving access for all to quality education across Afghanistan is a critical element to our comprehensive approach to bring security, stability and reconstruction to Afghanistan.

The Department for International Development (DfID) has the UK lead in supporting education in Afghanistan. The hon. Gentleman will be aware that DfID provides funding (£55 million in 2007-08) to the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund. This fund pays the salaries of over 100,000 teachers and 90 per cent. of the Ministry of Education's wage bill. In this way DfID funding has contributed to an increase from one million pupils in 2001 to six million today, and an increase from approximately 21,000 teachers in 2001 to more than 128,000 today. In addition, since 2002, over 2,000 schools have been built or reconstructed. Officials at our embassy in Kabul work closely with the Afghan Minister for Education, parliamentarians, officials, non-governmental organisations and teachers as they work to improve education in Afghanistan.