An assessment of girls’ schools that AAE undertook in 2002 in Kabul revealed a significant number of 18-year-old girls enrolled in third and fourth grades, who had completed second or third grades before the outbreak of conflict and Taliban’s ban on female education. Most of those we interviewed at the time were eager to complete their education and had aspirations to become doctors, lawyers, teacher, and engineers. Most importantly, they wanted to help their children and to ensure they will have a brighter future.
AAE’s accelerated education program was the first of its kind in Afghanistan and it was the only accelerated education program providing students with a high school diploma. Students at AAE’s schools studied 12 years within 8 years. Classrooms were heated during the winter so they do not have 3 months of winter holiday. The formal education system in Afghanistan does not allow married women to attend class and, also, students can be admitted at the schools based on their age. Millions of Afghans have been out of school due to years of war. AAE identified a critical need for an accelerated education program to help these young adults reach their dreams.
In 2004, a year after the first three schools were established in Kabul, AAE started receiving requests from communities in the provinces for similar educational opportunities. By 2007, we had established 13 accelerated education programs in 9 provinces. In the same year, we signed an agreement with the Ministry of Education to ensure that our graduates would receive an official high school diploma.
In 2021, AAE was forced to close all schools due to the fall of the democratic government. While this accelerated education program is no longer active, AAE is exploring new ways to safely provide quality education to women and girls.