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Nonoyama Endowment Convenes Seminar with Afghan Trainees on the Current State of Women’s Education in Afghanistan


Two female university teachers from Afghanistan visited Ochanomizu University from January 21 to February 1 on a short-term training program. This was the second time that two trainees have come to our university. Previously, they came to study here as government-sponsored foreign students and earned their master’s degrees. Currently, they are working as lecturers in the University at Afghanistan. This training program was carried out with support from the Nonoyama Endowment for Women’s Education in Afghanistan and Other Developing Countries, a fund established in 2012 through a bequest from a late Ochanomizu graduate, Emiko Nonoyama. The two women trainees, working under Associate Professor Yoshihito Mori of the Faculty of Science, enthusiastically carried out experiments.

During their stay, on January 25, researchers from both within and outside of the university participated in a seminar titled, the Current State of Women’s Education in Afghanistan, at which the two trainees made presentations.

The presentation described the current state of female education under the post-Taliban government, focusing on secondary education. According to 2012 statistics, there were 8,100,000 students attending 14,000 schools in Afghanistan, of whom 38 percent were female students. In recent years, the government has called for the promotion of women’s education, and as one part of that, they are working to publicize to parents and guardians the importance of women receiving an education and the evils of forcing girls into early marriages, and are trying to guarantee women the opportunity to get an education. However, there are many factors that are impeding the spread of education for girls-the length of the commute to schools, the unsafe conditions, the lack of female teachers, and the resistance to coed studies-and thus it is not easy to achieve. According to the above survey, 50.8 percent of parents and guardians want their daughters to go on to college, while 71.9 percent of girls want to continue their studies. She said that she was able to study for two reasons, support from her family and being born in an urban area where there was a relatively good educational system.

(Seminar on the Current State of
Women’s Education in Afghanistan)

In her presentation on women’s education at the post-secondary level, another trainee gave an impressive report on the activity of women in the medical field, and particularly in pharmaceutical studies. In addition to the four universities in Kabul, there are eight additional universities in other regions of Afghanistan. Among them, Kabul University has the longest tradition, and according to the 2012 figures, the university had 760 teachers, of whom 138 were women, while 6,500 of its 17,000 students were also women. In recent years, the ratio of women among students has been growing gradually, and she also reported that women are holding jobs and playing an active role in society, citing the example of women graduating from the Faculty of Pharmacy who are now working in health facilities and research institutes.

Secretary S. Ali Asghar Amiri from the Embassy of Afghanistan in Japan offered further information regarding the difficult conditions in Afghanistan, describing regional discrepancies in education and safety issues, appealing for further international assistance, and also expressing thanks to Ochanomizu University for its training program for female teachers.

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