Looking back into the history of mankind’ it has been observed that women and girls have been victims of power struggles for centuries in all societies and cultures around the world in many forms. Many societies including some Muslim societies continue to exercise this patriarchy in different forms such as the denial to education, unequal salaries compared to men in workplaces, forced marriages and prostitution, among many others.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), came at a time when the Arab society, like so many patriarchal societies at that time, too ‘was rife with hatred practices against girls’. The Prophet (pbuh) preached Islam, liberating women and girls in every walk of life, education being a prime aspect.
From Hadiths we infer that education is not a right but a responsibility on every Muslim, male or female.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:
Seeking knowledge is mandatory for every Muslim (‘Muslim” is used here in the generic meaning which includes both males and females’).
- Political will to make it priority. Instead of believing in war economy State’s priorities must be on human development.
- Gender equity: In Islam ‘men and women have the same spiritual human nature’. Both genders are dignified and trustees of ALLAH on earth. Men and women have the same religious and moral duties and responsibilities. They both face the consequences of their deeds. Sharia recognizes the full property rights of women. Education is not only a right but also a responsibility of all males and females.
- For ensured implementation’ enough budget must be allocated
- An educated mother contributes to children cognitive skills, cultural knowledge and social connections. This must be cross cutting theme to develop a constructive society.
- Islam stress on equal treatment of girls from the shows of love and affection to financial gift to education of girls which is emphasized in many of Al-Hadiths. The Prophet Muhammad (saw) said: “Seeking knowledge is compulsory for every Muslim”
- Poverty eradication must be a cross cutting theme in annual development plans of the government while infrastructure like schools’ colleges’ universities should be physically accessible to girls.
- In present scenario in Afghanistan’ minimum 50 % of educational budget should be kept for girl’s education alone.
- Functional literacy programs need to be introduced to teach grown up ladies even at homes. Home based schools are a tested phenomenon. Where informal schools can be opened in a village. An educated lady from the same area can be appointed as a teacher and girls can be taught up to primary levels. Teacher shall be paid for her job. After primary levels they can opt to join high schools for further studies.
- The teaching must be given in the spoken local language of the area, which will yield a far better results for the society and may make the education more accessible to the local community of the designated area.
- Awareness campaigns and Social mobilization should be simultaneously continued.
- Incentives like providing technical skills’ support in marketing of handicrafts as result of functional literacy and other products’ training of elderly women in basic health like midwifery’, traditional birth attendants’ first aid in health’ kitchen gardening’ poultry farming’ tailoring’ crafts making etc.… ‘can be a good start for income generation associated with education.
- Social media can be used for spreading awareness and certain free to access programs exclusively for the girls where they can learn new skills and obtain certifications for their learning.
- On line education scheme for girls needs to be worked upon.
Written by Jafar Shah – Hon’ Executive Board Member of AISSC