By: Vanessa Valenti on April 24, 2008 Via UN News Centre: Although over 6 million children returned to Afghanistan’s classrooms a month ago at the start of a new school year, United Nations agencies said today that half of the war-torn country’s young people are excluded from receiving an education, the bulk of them girls. This is the case even though the enrolment of girls, who were barred from going to school under the repressive Taliban regime, has increased significantly in the past five years, according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). ‘We still have 1.2 million girls of school age who do not have access to schools,’ said Catherine Mbengue, UNICEF Country Representative in Afghanistan. ‘We have a lot of work to do to make sure all conditions are met so that schools are friendly to girls.’ UN agencies have been working with the government to build new schools, conduct teacher trainings (particularly female teachers), and talking to communities about the importance of education in attempts to fill this huge gap. This week is actually Global Action Week for Education. Their “Education for All” goal has a large focus specifically on education for girls, whom are effected disproportionately throughout the world.