As with other sectors, statistics are difficult to confirm. Since 1978,particularly, validated nation-wide data have been impossible to obtain with theresult that official figures on which much recently published data are basedshould be employed with great caution.
Nevertheless, pre-war trends when the literacy rate was estimated at 11.4percent ( 18.7 percent male; 2.8 female), persist and provide useful patternsreflected in the present. Then, as now, economic, regional and gender bias wasvery noticeable. Urban-rural and regional disparities are still valid. In urbansettings 25.9 percent (35.5 percent male; 14.8 percent female) of the populationsix years old and over were literate, but in rural areas literate accounted foronly 8.8. percent (15.7 percent male; 0.6 percent female, in some provinces 0.1percent). Regionally, 32 percent of the students attending schools in 1978 livedin the Central region around Kabul, compared with only 3.8 percent living in theEast Central mountains of Bamiyan and Ghor. Contrasting 1993 official figuresgiving an overall literacy rate of 29.8 percent (45.2 percent males; 13.5percent females) assumes that expanded educational efforts during theintervening years were effective. In reality the bulk of the studentsrepresented in the enrollment figures remain functionally illiterate.
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