Enrollment in Afghanistan’s public schools increases as families cite economic hardship

Several families in Afghanistan report shifting their children from private to public schools due to poverty and to avoid the high costs associated with private education. Despite the perceived lower quality of education in public schools, economic necessity is forcing many to make this change.

In Kabul, residents say their incomes have decreased, making it difficult to afford private school fees. Amina, a resident of Farah province and mother of three, has moved her children to a public school due to worsening economic conditions. “Before the Taliban’s return, my husband and I were employed, and our children attended private schools where they received modern education. But since the start of the new school year, we’ve had to send them to public schools,” she explained.

Other Kabul residents echoed this sentiment, noting that the inability to afford private school fees has forced them to enroll their children in public schools, driven by increasing poverty and unemployment.

Ahmad, another Kabul resident, remarked, “Students who were studying in private schools are suffering greatly. Now they cannot receive quality education because, unlike private schools which offer a curriculum alongside the Oxford curriculum, public schools adhere strictly to the national curriculum, leaving students behind in international systems and entrepreneurship.”

Leilama, another resident, added, “The quality of education is better in private schools, but most families are compelled to withdraw their children due to the fees and enroll them in public schools.”

According to the latest education yearbook in Afghanistan before the fall of the republic, there were 3,025 private schools across the country. However, the number of private schools has decreased since the Taliban’s takeover and the subsequent closure of girls’ schools.

The Private Schools Union stated that currently, about 1.3 million people are enrolled in private schools across the country.