Class 12 Afghan Girls Give Annual Exams Under Pressure From Taliban Despite Not Having Attended School For Over A Year

Credit: The Japan Times

The latest: The Taliban in a controversial move has forced Afghan girls studying in Grade 12 to give their annual exams on December 7 despite having restricted them from entering schools and gaining education over the past year since they came to power in August 2021.

Go deeper:

  • Girls of the 12th grade of schools are participating in the annual exam on December 7 between 9am and 1pm Kabul time.
  • According to the decision of the Ministry of Education of the Taliban, this exam will be held for one day only and questions have been asked from all school subjects.
  • The ministry has said that the presence of all students, with “full observance of the Islamic hijab, is certain and mandatory”.
  • According to the ministry’s announcement, 140 questions will be asked from all subjects.
  • Female students have criticized the move by saying that they have been forced to take the exam without preparation.
  • There is a high probability that the girls will not be able to clear the exams and the Taliban has warned them that only girls who pass the exam will be able to sit for the University (Kankor) exams.
  • This seems like a step in the direction of the Taliban completely erasing the presence of women and girls from further University education as well in Afghanistan.

Why it matters? Taliban have closed the school gates to girls above the sixth grade since it seized power. This group also does not allow women to work in government offices.

  • After entering Kabul on August 15, 2021, the Taliban prevented the reopening of girls’ schools in Afghanistan.
  • In the past 440 days, this group refused to accept domestic and international requests to open the gates of girls’ schools.

Zoom out: Countering this decision of the Taliban, Afghan women posted pictures of their protest “saying no to the wrong decision of the Talabani administration.”

  • They stressed that girls need knowledge. They added that the Taliban’s approach is “an insult to education and wisdom”
  • In the fall of last year, authorities allowed Afghan girls to enroll in primary schools and universities and promised to resume secondary education at the start of the new school year March 23. But that day, as high school girls streamed into classrooms, officials reversed course and postponed classes indefinitely until “a comprehensive plan has been prepared according to sharia and Afghan culture.”
  • Last month, they allowed female students who were in 12th grade before the republic’s collapse to take the university placement exam known as the Kankor — but blocked off majors they deemed inappropriate for young women to pursue, including economics, engineering, journalism and veterinary medicine.
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