The latest: In a big blow to the field of education for women and girls, the Ministry of Higher Education of Taliban announced suspension of women from universities until further notice.
- This ministry on Tuesday, December 20, in a letter ordered private and public universities to suspend the education of girls.
- In the letter, it has been stated that the decision to suspend women’s education at universities was made based on the decision of Taliban’s cabinet.
- Hafiz Ziaullah Hashimi, the spokesman of the Ministry of Higher Education of Taliban, has confirmed the validity of this letter. This letter has been signed by Nada Mohammad Nadim, Acting Minister of Higher Education of Taliban.
- Sources had said earlier that the Taliban-controlled National Exam Authority had called for only male students to enroll in the Kankor (university) exam. A source at the Taliban’s education department in one of the provinces said that this year only the list of 12th grade boys had been sought for Kankor.
Back story: Earlier, Nadim had said that girls going to school is a sign of “foreign culture” and said that this culture was brought into the country by Amanullah Khan. In a video tape that was published on social networks, he said that girls going to school is a form of “revelry and obscenity”.
- After seizing power in Kabul on August 15, 2021, the Taliban has closed the gates of schools for girls above sixth grade. The group has repeatedly said that they are working on the reopening of girls’ schools, but after nearly a year and a half, there is no further news of this plan.
- The Taliban’s attitude toward women and girls’ education has now kept teenage girls out of school for 457 days. When the Taliban banned teenage girls from secondary school, it ensured there would be no girl high school graduates in the coming years and therefore, no universities for women.
Zoom out: Obviously, the suspension of women’s education at universities has garnered reactions. Rahmatullah Nabil, former chief of NDS said that this group has to keep people in the dark for their survival. Nabil wrote in a tweet that science and knowledge cause the intellectual development of the society and the strengthening of the spirit of freedom.
- According to Nabil, the Taliban believe that their survival is completely related to the lack of understanding of the young generation of Afghanistan. He emphasized that it is better for the people of Afghanistan not to waste another opportunity in the hope that Taliban will change and not to ruin the future of their children at the hands of this group.
- UN Special Rapporteur on situation of human rights in Afghanistan Richard Bennett also said that suspension of women’s education from university education marks a new low which further violates the right to equal education and deepens the erasure of women from Afghan society.
- He called on the Taliban to reverse it immediately.
- Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch said that this is a shameful decision that violates the right to education for women and girls in Afghanistan. This organization added that the Taliban are making it clear every day that they don’t respect the fundamental rights of Afghans, especially women.