Published: 15th September 2021
What The FAQ: Are the Taliban really allowing women to attend schools, colleges and universities? What are the conditions?
Not just the female students but the teachers too have expressed safety concerns. Several of them were even afraid of walking in the streets, let alone attend universities
Afghanistan is going through what can be dubbed the worst social turmoil in decades. While women were banned from educational institutions the last time the Taliban were in power, they have shown a much liberal face this time.
Will women be allowed to study?
It appears so. The interim government announced a set of policies recently to be followed by female students. The government has said that there should be separate entrances for men and women. The universities have been asked to either set up different time schedules or ensure that there is partition in the middle of the classroom for segregation of both genders.
What are these rules?
The women will have to follow a strict dress code which is accepted by the Taliban’s interpretation of Islam. They would have to wear a hijab while attending classes and have to sit segregated by a curtain from the male students.
Why is this even a question?
“Co-education is in conflict with the principles of Islam and, on the other hand, it is in conflict with national values and is against the customs and traditions of Afghans,” the Higher Education Minister Abdul Baqi Haqqani told the media.
Have women joined classes?
A Wall Street Journal report said that Kabul’s Ghalib University reopened with only 21 female students the first day. The varsity once had 2,400 students, of which 60 per cent were women. But within a week, the number rose to 200.
Did it go off smoothly?
But the university found it hard to organise classes as most of its teaching staff had fled after the Taliban’s take over. The director of the Gharjistan University told the press that only 10 to 20 per cent, of the total 1,000 students, came to campus last week. He said that at least 30 per cent of the students had probably left with the collapse of the Afghanistan government.
Are women safe in these colleges?
Not just the female students but the teachers too have expressed safety concerns. Several of them were even afraid of walking in the streets, let alone attend universities. “Progress on female enrolment was particularly striking: the number of girls in primary school increased from almost zero in 2001 to 2.5 million in 2018. In 2021, 4 out of 10 students in primary education are girls,” a press release by the UNESCO states.