Learning Outcomes in Afghanistan

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Helpdesk Query:

Evidence paper on accelerating learning outcomes and literacy programmes for DFID’s two country programmes in Afghanistan.


Currently only an average of 26% of the population aged 15 or over can read or write. One of the first achievements of post-conflict Afghanistan was to bring almost 4 million children back to school. However, low primary enrolment especially for girls and in rural areas and very weak learning achievements remain.

This report includes the following sections:

  1. Overview texts (situation and response)
  2. Sector-wide analysis/studies
  3. Programme evaluations – sector-wide
  4. Programme evaluations – community and home-based

A study of learning outcomes in 2010, devised a curricula-based test for a small sample of male and female students in Grades 3 and 6. The study found low levels of average achievement (an average score of 52% for Grade 3 students, and 53% for Grade 6 students), though girls seemed to do slightly better than boys, and students in community-based schools scored higher (an average score of 68%) than students in other schools.

Efforts to improve literacy rates have focused on improving inputs to teacher qualifications and training as well as the curriculum, texts books and school conditions. There is less on how these and other efforts translate into learning outcomes for students.  There is a dearth of data on exam grades and school completion rates. What data does exist reveals that almost a fifth of primary students may be lost before the end of Grade 6 and only 64% of students passed exams at the end of Grade 4. This means that 65,000 Grade 4 children (36%) could not move on to Grade 5 plus the nearly quarter of a million children who were absent from the exam altogether.


PDF - 293 KB

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