Female students seen going to classes as Afghan universities reopen

WION Web Team
New DelhiUpdated: Feb 02, 2022, 09:10 PM IST

Ninety-one percent of the cases and 97 percent of the deaths were children under the age of five. Photograph:(Reuters)

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Taliban, during their previous regime from 1996 to 2001, had banned education for women. They now say that their stance has softened but girls of school-going age are yet to be allowed to return to schools in several provinces

Public universities in Afghanistan opened for the first time on Wednesday (February 2) since the Taliban took power last year. Female students were seen heading back to campus just as the male students.

The Taliban administration has not officially announced its plan for female university students, but Khalil Ahmad Bihsudwal, head of Nangarhar University, told Reuters, male and female students at the institution would attend separate classes, a practice already in place in many provinces.

Reuters quoted a witness in eastern Jalalabad city to say that female students were entering via a separate door at Nangarhar University. It is one of the large government universities opening this week.

One student said he was happy to return to campus. "We hoped that the universities would start again, and we could continue our studies," said Shamsullah Wakilzai.

Another, Junaidullah Mohammadi, said university life had resumed as normal. "The only change we see is that the class hours have changed, girls and boys study separately," he said.

Under their previous rule from 1996 to 2001, the hardline Islamist Taliban barred women and girls from education. The group says it has changed since resuming power on Aug. 15, but school-aged girls in many provinces have still not been allowed to return to school.

The international community has made education of girls and women a key part of its demands as the Taliban seek more foreign aid and the unfreezing of overseas assets.

An education official who asked not be named because he was not authorised to speak to the media told Reuters that universities had been given different options to keep female students isolated, including separated classes and staggered operating hours. 

Khalil Ahmad Bihsudwal, the head of Nangarhar University, told Reuters male and female students at the institution would attend separate classes, a practice already in place in many provinces. Only universities in warmer provinces opened on Wednesday. Tertiary institutions in colder areas, including Kabul, are due to resume on Feb. 26.

(With inputs from agencies)