Taliban Forbids Girls Higher Education Despite Earlier Proclamations

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Afghan Girls Schools Closed Again: Many girls returned home crestfallen as the Taliban decided against re-opening educational institutions to girls beyond grade six on March 23, on the first day of Afghanistan’s new school year. The schools were set to reopen months after restrictions were levied after the Taliban’s seizure of the country in August last year.

The decision came late on March 22 as Afghanistan’s education ministry prepared for the new year opening of schools which was expected to proclaim the return of girls to school. A ministry statement earlier in the week urged “all students” to return.

Reportedly, the ministry in their statement dated March 22 wrote that all girls’ high schools and those that have female students above class six are off until the next order. The notice added that schools would reopen after a decision over the uniform of female students was made in accordance with “Sharia law and Afghan tradition”.

Suggested Reading: Taliban To “Allow” Afghan Girls Access To Secondary School Education: UNICEF Official

Afghan girls schools closed, Again

This decision to forbid girls from attending school is bound to spark outrage internationally and has already angered female students and parents in the country. A man was quoted in a report saying that his daughter was shaken since she was refused entry by Taliban officials into school on Wednesday morning. He said that if anything were to happen to his daughter, he’d not forgive the Taliban.

Girls were barred from school beyond grade six in most of Afghanistan since the Taliban seized power in August last year, Universities had opened up earlier this year in most parts of the country; however, the Taliban’s proclamations have been erratic. While some provinces continued providing education to all, most provinces closed doors of educational institutions for female students.

Mariam Naheebi, a local journalist, was quoted saying despite following the Taliban’s requests in terms of Islamic dress, they have broken their promise and not let girls return to schools.

Suggested Reading: Afghan Women and Taliban: The Dark Days Are Back Again!

Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist and Nobel Prize laureate, commenting on the Taliban’s decision to nix girls’ education beyond grade six wrote, “I had one hope for today: that Afghan girls walking to school would not be sent back home. But the Taliban did not keep their promise. They will keep finding excuses to stop girls from learning – because they are afraid of educated girls and empowered women.”