In 2000, a number of countries agreed to work toward education goals through the Education for All (EFA) initiative. Goals included universal primary education for girls, minorities, and other underserved populations. According to a recent UNESCO report, many of the countries that agreed to participate in the initiative failed to meet their goals by 2015, the deadline set in 2000.
One of the countries that has made the most progress is Afghanistan. In 1999, Afghanistan ranked as one of the lowest countries in the world in terms of education. At that time, gross enrollment for girls was less than 4 percent. Over the past 15 years, however, enrollment has grown dramatically, to 87 percent. This growth is particularly impressive considering the many educational restrictions that still exist in the nation. For example, girls cannot be taught by men. To address this issue, Afghanistan undertook measures to increase its pool of female teachers.
Efforts to construct schools in remote and underserved areas have also contributed to this impressive growth. Prior to the establishment of EFA, security issues often prevented girls from attending schools not within the immediate vicinity of their homes. Thanks to an increase in the number of institutions in rural areas, Afghan girls have greater access to education than ever before.