Edited by Kara Lozier

You can also read the article on Interstellar 62 Page 3. 

Young people study hard and are eager to change the current situation in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, many of their role models and the people who raised them were unable to get educations as a result of the past four decades of war. Although Afghanistan has more educated people now than in the recent past, the Ministry of Education states that 62% of Afghans are uneducated. What kind of impact does this have on our educated young generation?

In recent years, a large number of young people in Afghanistan have graduated from schools and universities. More young people graduate from high schools each year and Afghanistan’s educated population continues to grow. At the same time, the uneducated people are mostly our parents, tribal elders, religious leaders and others in positions of authority who must be respected, obeyed and followed, as our culture dictates. Since many of the educated people are younger than the uneducated people, we are socialized in a situation that is dominated by uneducated people.

The young educated generation has been raised by the older uneducated generation. We have learned the customs, roles, values, social skills, life style, and, most importantly, how to see the world from uneducated people. For instance, a male elder in Afghan culture, regardless of his skills and knowledge, must be respected and is responsible for decisionmaking. But the young generation has also learned different perspectives and culture from outside of Afghanistan. We have learned, for instance, that people, regardless of their age and gender, should be involved in decision-making based on their skills and knowledge. Indeed, the majority of educated young Afghans are a mix of cultures. Some of us learn from Iran, the U.S., Europe and, of course, the World Wide Web.

Our education and experiences, which are vastly different from that of our parents and many other elders, creates a conflict between educated and uneducated people. For instance, educated people challenge current social roles, rules and interactions. A female undergraduate student of sociology may be completely ignored by her parents during decision-making about social events. The educated youth wonder why they are not involved in the decision-making when they may have 16 years of education making them stronger, more knowledgeable, and more skilled than those who have never read a book. But uneducated people blindly accept current social roles, rules and interactions. In the society, a silent conflict is brewing in families – between parents and children, between elders and youth.

Considering that the uneducated population is in the majority, I believe that uneducated people have a greater impact on Afghan society. They have been the source of socializing the educated youth, have taught us their customs, values, traditional social roles, and rules. In spite of the fact that the young generation have learned vastly different from uneducated people, their influence of our uneducated parents and elders is significant. They are still the decision makers in families. Most of the leaders and elders at social events and in general society are uneducated people, not those who studied, explored, and worked hard to gain skills and knowledge in schools and universities.

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