Despite progress since 2002, in 2012 Afghanistan was 15th from the bottom among all nations according to the UN Human Development index, and far below all of its neighbors, based on high infant mortality, short life expectancy, and low literacy rates. Better opportunities for quality, secular education (especially for girls) will enable Afghans to lift themselves out of the dire poverty that breeds support for terrorism and makes women second-class citizens.
The Gohar Khaton Girls' School is a model public school for 3,000 Afghan girls. The provincial minister of education has called it the highest quality school in the province, possibly the country. A private donor has already paid for the building, and construction is on schedule. And as with any school, safe and open space to play sports and receive physical education is an important part of any schoolgirls' development.
This model public school will help build the considerable momentum to educate all girls in Afghanistan. The school demonstrates the value that national and community leaders now place on better education for girls. Designed by a team of international architects, it breaks new ground with respect to sustainable design and construction of school buildings in northern Afghanistan. This school will be a shining beacon of education for girls in northern Afghanistan for many years.