Guess what? Taliban after 20 months of rule in Afghanistan have published a guideline to regulate how students should dress under the ‘Uniform in Educational Institutions’.
- This guideline, which was prepared in five chapters and 13 articles by the Ministry of Education of the Taliban, was circulated on social media on Wednesday.
- In this guideline, the Taliban have set specifications for male and female teachers, male and female students, and Sarandoys (Sarandoy are a group of trained young people who work voluntarily within the framework of the Ministry of Education) of public and private schools.
- Based on this guideline, teachers at educational institutions will wear Perahan o tunban similar to religious scholars in classrooms, and female teachers must also wear the same clothes like a fully covered hijab or chador, according to Sharia standards.
- In this guideline, it has also been stated that female students from first grade to sixth grade must wear a cream coloured Perahan o tunban with a white scarf. The length of this has to be below the knees, as per the guidelines.
- While the Taliban have closed the doors of schools to female students above the 6th grade, in this guideline they have asked them to follow the guideline of wearing mung bean-coloured Perahan o tunban with black scarfs and steel-coloured female hijab.
- In the clothing guidelines of educational institutions, for male students from the first grade to the sixth grade, sky-coloured Perahan o tunban and white caps have been specified, and male students above the sixth grade have been also ordered to wear the Perahan o tunban with a turban.
- In this guideline, the uniforms of Sarandoy teams in boys’ schools have been specified to be pea-coloured shirts and pants and black boots.
- The Taliban have not officially commented in this regard yet.
- Taliban have considered this guideline for students in a situation where poverty is rampant in Afghanistan and families cannot afford clothes with the mentioned specifications.
Zoom out: After taking over Afghanistan in August 2021, the Taliban instituted a de facto ban on girls’ secondary education, even though community pressure resulted in some girls’ secondary schools reopening. However, many of these closed after the Taliban broke their promise to reopen all schools in March last year and now this year too, the Taliban did not reopen schools for them.
- Girls above the 6th grade were told to stay at home until a school uniform appropriate to Sharia and Afghan customs and culture can be designed.
- In traditional Afghan society, boys and girls were already attending separate classes and all female students and teachers must wear the hijab. Following the Taliban takeover in August, hardliners have imposed more restrictions.
- The Taliban had even imposed a new dress code and gender segregation for women at private universities and colleges in Afghanistan. It had stated that all female students, teachers, and staff must wear an Islamic abaya robe and niqab that covers the hair, body, and most of the face and the garments must be black, and women must also wear gloves to ensure their hands are covered.
- The Taliban also insisted that classes must also be segregated by gender — or at least divided by a curtain — according to the order, which added that female students must be taught only by other women. While women must study separately, they are also required to finish their classes five minutes earlier than men to stop them from meeting outside. The Taliban’s decree also said men and women should use separate entrances and exits at universities and colleges.
- However, despite all female students taking precautions and even following this hardline decree, the Taliban announced the closure of all higher education and university education for women. So, it remains to be seen how a new order regarding school uniforms can help bring girls back to girls in Afghanistan.