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Sociology and Politics of High Schools Activism in Afghanistan

Founder(s): Embassy of Finland and SDC
Status: Completed
The educational sector is a very important aspect of state-building; arguably studying education in Afghanistan has been neglected. One key assumption of donors in Afghanistan is that the quantitative growth in the offer of state education is always good and that the number of students graduating from high schools is an unmistakably positive indicator. Is this however always the case? There is anecdotal evidence that the lack of employment prospects and dissatisfaction about how Afghan state and society are run are driving a frustrated high school youth towards radical and extremist groups.
Because schools are a primary vehicle for conveying national and civic education to the youth, education is a very political subject.
The project would identify a number of district cases studies across Afghanistan. In these districts students would be interviewed to assess:
• Whether they have any political and social inclination, even embryonic;
• How aware they are of political debates going on in Afghanistan, and what position they take within those debates;
• Whether teachers and student activists are active in high schools, spreading ideas and views and proselytizing;
• What political groups are active in the high schools, and what is their political orientation;
• What factors drive recruitment into these political groups?


Publications from this research project:

Reaching Boiling Point: High School Activism in Afghanistan

In 2010, an AREU study investigated university students and their political orientation. This current project instead focuses on state-imparted secondary education. The companion policy brief to this study, “The Politicisation of Afghanistan’s High Schools,” summarises the findings of the survey Read More

The Politicisation of Afghanistan’s High Schools

Political activism in Afghanistan’s high schools is not new. Already during the 1960s and 1970s, the country’s new political parties identified schools and universities as ideal recruitment grounds. The New Leftist and Islamist parties had significant numbers of teachers among Read More