Teachers: Agents of Human and Social Development
“Education is the primary building block of every society.” – UN, Education for All
“… to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights…. The equal rights of men and women…” – Charter of the United Nations
“Everyone has the right to education.” – Universal Declaration of Human Rights
“…ensure inclusive equitable quality education for all [including, free primary and secondary education for all boys and girls]” – UN, Sustainable Development Goals
For centuries education has been recognized as constitutive to the development of the human person. Societies characterized by peoples’ participation hold it to be essential to good governance. Since the founding of the United Nations, it has become a sine qua non of social development. These basic principles, summarized in the above quotes from UN standards and affirmed by international civil society, are now in dire jeopardy under the fundamentalist-misogynist rule of the Taliban.
Quality education, preparation for a fulfilling life and responsible citizenship in one’s birth society and participation in a diverse and rapidly world community, is undermined by the Taliban’s idiosyncratic and non-orthodox interpretation of Islam as the primary curricula of all schools. The Koran does not assign lesser human value to women.
The severe restriction on the education of girls and young women in barring their secondary school and university attendance violates their fundamental right to a quality education, denies the society of the potential of half the population, and stands in the way of the economic and political development, requisite to a viable future for Afghanistan.
Participants in and followers of the Global Campaign for Peace Education have become familiar with both the necessity of girls education and the tenacity of Afghan educators in providing it through reports from Sakena Yacoobi, Founder of the Afghan Institute of Learning. A most vivid example of the tenacity and vocational commitment of Afghan educators is in the widely reported press conference, demanding the payment of teachers salaries.
The most egregious and painfully evident obstacle to Afghan education at the moment is the situation of its dedicated and courageous teachers. Many have been teaching without salaries for months, no doubt while making other social contributions teachers have always made. Many of them, men as well as women, are the sole providers for their families.
At this time, the single most constructive action to be taken for the welfare of these educators, their families and their country is for the World Bank to transfer some of the humanitarian aid that could pay their salaries.
The letter drafted and circulated by Code Pink (reproduced below and available for signature here) is addressed to President Biden, as the United States carries more weight with the Bank than other nations. Readers are urged to sign this letter, and those who wish to take more action could address letters directly to the World Bank and to their own heads of state, and UN representatives, calling for their support for this initiative, and for the world body, all its agencies and all members of the international community to demand compliance with international standards as preconditions for any and all dealings with the Taliban. (–BAR, 10/5/21)
Tell the Biden administration and the World Bank to release funds to pay Afghan teachers & health workers
Afghan women have put out an urgent call regarding the non-payment of salaries to Afghan women teachers and healthcare workers. Add your name to the petition calling on the Biden Administration, the World Bank, and key members of Congress to unfreeze the Afghan funds to pay the salaries of Afghan teachers and healthcare workers.
Dear President Biden, the World Bank, and key members of Congress (see below for the specific members of Congress),
According to women in Afghanistan, the Taliban is allowing girls to attend primary school (grades 1-6). They have still not opened grades 7-12 to girls but have pledged to do so. However, there is a major hurdle: the non-payment of salaries to teachers. There are currently more than 120,000 female teachers in public schools across the country, and about half of them are the sole source of income for their families. It is very difficult, even impossible, to ask these teachers to continue teaching without pay.
Please release the Afghan funds to pay the salaries of Afghan teachers.
The same crisis is facing Afghan women healthcare workers. There are over 13,000 female healthcare workers in Afghanistan, including doctors, midwives, nurses, vaccinators, and other female staff. Most of them were being paid through the World Bank via the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), but since June, the funding has stopped. Meanwhile, the health system is on the brink of collapse. There has been a surge in cases of measles and diarrhea; a resurgence of polio is a major risk; almost half the children are malnourished; nearly 1 in 4 COVID hospitals have shuttered and 2 million doses of COVID19 vaccines remain unused for lack of personnel to administer them.
Please unfreeze Afghan funds to pay Afghan women healthcare workers and teachers. This money could come from the World Bank Afghan Trust Fund or the $9.4 billion of Afghan funds frozen in U.S. banks.
*In addition to contracting President Biden, we are calling on the following key members of Congress for this issue:
House Financial Services Committee:
Chairwoman Maxine Waters, Ranking Member Patrick McHenry, and Vice President Jake Auchincloss;
House Financial Services Committee on International Trade, Custom, and Global Competitiveness:
Chairman Thomas Carper and Ranking Member John Cornyn;
Senate Committee on Finance:
Chairman Ron Wyden and Ranking Member Mike Crapo;
Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Development:
Chairman Sherrod Brown and Ranking Member Patrick Toomey;
Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Development Subcommittee on Security and International Trade and Finance members:
Mark Warner, Bill Hagerty, Jon Tester, Jon Ossoff, Krysten Sinema, Mike Crapo, Steve Daines, John Kennedy.
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