Education International

ATROAfghan Teachers' Rights Observatory

Education InternationalElevating and Amplifying the Voices of Afghan Teachers on the Global Stage

The Education International Afghan Teachers' Rights Observatory is a vital tool to shed light on the Taliban's repressive actions. It provides critical, real-time insights into abuses of teachers' rights and the wider climate of fear surrounding girls' education.
Zia Yousafzai, Malala Fund

We salute teachers and their unions in these harsh circumstances, for their resilience, bravery and determination to continue to fight for the right to education in Afghanistan, especially for girls. We salute those teachers, both men and women, who continue to advocate for girls' and women's rights, despite the risks to their own lives. Their actions are inspirational!

Situation in Afghanistan

The Situation in Afghanistan

Afghanistan is going through a humanitarian catastrophe following the Taliban’s seizing of power on 15th August 2021. The financial freeze, the ban on schools, the closure of the borders, and continuous tackling and tracking of teachers, activists and human rights’ defenders in the country, has forced many to flee their beloved land for better living conditions and a peaceful future.

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The Observatory

ATRO mission and objectives

The aims and objectives of ATRO are to:

  • Monitor, document, assess and report on the situation on the ground, including:
    • Human, labour and trade union rights’ violations, with particular focus on gender equity
    • Payment or non-payment of teachers’ salaries
    • Restrictions on women teachers working in boys’ schools
    • The safety and psycho-social well-being of women teachers
    • Curriculum adherence to meeting SDG standards (inclusive, evidence based)
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Education International

Who we are and what we stand for – our values

Education International (EI) is the Global Union Federation that brings together organisations of teachers and other education employees from across the world. Through our 383 (check if this number has changed) member organisations, we represent more than 32 million teachers and education support personnel in 178 countries and territories. (need to get most up to date data from Duncan Smith)

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Testimonies

Anonymous, Male Teacher

Where the Taliban ruled, there were no schools at all, and if there were, only boys were allowed to go to school and girls were deprived.

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Anonymous, female secondary school teacher, union, and women’s rights activist

I am a former provincial leader of the National Teachers’ Elected Council. At the same time, I have been a women’s rights activist for a long time, advocating for girls’ education and participation of women in different organizations. Due to my engagement with teachers’ union and women’s rights activism, I was one of the most well-known people in my city which put me in imminent danger.

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Sherin, female teacher for 7 years in a boys’ school in Herat

Female teachers like me now face the challenging situation where girls' schools have been closed, and female teachers have been relocated to distant areas. The increased pressure and the loss of privileges associated with my previous teaching career have left me very disillusioned.

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Simin, female, has been teaching for 18 years in a primary girls' school in Herat

I became a member of a teacher union because professional representation is crucial. However, our current circumstances are challenging, and I find myself extremely unhappy.

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Shakila, a female teacher for over 15 years in a girls’ school in the Balkh province

I have been very unhappy for the last year due to the unsafe situation. Unfortunately, my daughters are currently not allowed to attend school, which badly impacts their morale.

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Anonymous, female teacher

As a teacher, I have seen many problems with my own eyes. In the republican system, my life and that of all female teachers was in danger. Teachers were threatened with death and acid was thrown on them.

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Freba, a female teacher in a girls’ school in Balkh

Over the last two years, women in our country have encountered unprecedented restrictions, revealing a stark disregard for our humanity. Through our union we call for improved basic pay, professional autonomy, and enhanced social security.

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Hasina, a female teacher in a boys’ school in the Badakhashan province

Female teachers are treated as if we were toys or mere pawns. One day, we are asked to sign, and the next day, we are told not to come to school. The frustration witnessed through the eyes of our students is beyond words, filled with sadness and resentment. This has been our reality for a year.

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Anonymous, female, university professor

Before the Taliban came to power, I was teaching in a school. Two months after they came to power, I could no longer teach.

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Updates

Afghanistan: Survey provides meaningful insights into the experiences of teachers and students under the Taliban regime

2024-03-25

Education International (EI) hosted a union side event at the 68th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) to highlight the plight of girls and women teachers in Afghanistan who have been forbidden from going to school and teaching since the Taliban takeover in 2021.

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In their own words: the harsh reality of Afghan teachers

2024-01-29

Shakila* is a dedicated teacher with over 15 years of service in the Balkh Province of Afghanistan. Since the most recent takeover of the Taliban in 2021 which led to the shutdown of education for girls, attacks on female teachers, and a crackdown on the rights of women, Shakila reports feeling a profound sadness caused by living in an unsafe environment. Beyond her personal hardships, the closure of schools for her daughters and female students adds a strong sense of injustice. Partial and irregular salary payments for teachers exacerbate the already difficult conditions the education sector faces. Despite the challenges, Shakila remains passionately committed to advocating for academic freedom, emphasizing the need for an equitable educational environment.

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Analysing the Challenges Faced by Afghan Teachers

2023-12-18

In 2022, Education International (EI) took a significant step to champion the rights of Afghan teachers with the launch of the Afghan Teacher's Rights Observatory. This dedicated platform was created to document the situation of education in Afghanistan, addressing critical aspects such as teachers' salaries, working conditions, human rights violations, gender equity, girls' access to education, restrictions on women teachers, safety, and curriculum adherence to international human rights standards.

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