THERE is no doubt that Afghan refugees in Pakistan - 1.3 million of them all, as of 2017, are one of the well integrated, law - abiding and productive refugee population in the world, and-

And Pakistan continues to work closely with the Afghanistan government and the UNHCR to enable a dignified and safe process of repatriation for refugees.

But despite its progressive efforts, Pakistan fails to educate the female Afghan refugee population in the country.

It was recently reported by Unesco that only 18% of Afghan refugee girls are enrolled in schools as compared to 39% of the boys.

This figure is less than half of the girls enrolled in Afghanistan itself. Neighboring Iran fares much better with 64% of female Afghan refugee over the age of 15 being literate.

One of the reasons highlighted in the report for such low numbers is the lack of female teachers to teach girls.

Female teachers are hesitant to return to work owing to the fact that the institutions they had taught in were once attacked by militants.

While it is a serious safety concern for them, we cannot rule out the fact that our conservative society puts much importance on girls being taught by only female teachers.

These cultural sensitivities not only act as hurdle in the way of increasing Afghan refugee girls enrolment rate but also that of girls in Pakistan in general. It is pertinent to note that enrolement rate for girls in the country are also strikingly low.

For refugees, education can perhaps become the only means towards breaking out of their struggles and adapting to their environment, especially considering that they are easy targets for nefarious designs.

Pakistan needs to make sure that no one is left behind in getting this opportunity and, as the report suggests, 'one place to start would be to sign the Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, like Iran.'

The World Students Society thanks the editorial board of The express Tribune.


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