KABUL – A senior Taliban education official has said they will restore and enroll female students to Afghanistan’s universities once Taliban’s leader gives his approval. The Taliban’s decision to allow or deny the reentry of women into higher education institutions holds sway over the potential resumption of their studies.
The global spotlight turned to Afghanistan when the Taliban, in a move that ignited widespread condemnation, prohibited women from accessing university campuses in December. Prior to this, girls had faced educational restrictions beyond the sixth grade following the Taliban’s resurgence to power in August 2021. This contentious policy positioned Afghanistan as the sole nation worldwide enforcing a ban on female education.
That measure was taken to avert gender mixing and to uphold Islamic principles as certain subjects were incompatible with these values, said Taliban’s Minister of Higher Education Neda Mohammed Nadim addressing the rationale behind the university ban.
The universities stand poised to reopen their doors to female students at the behest of our leader Akhundzada, said Mawlawi Abdul Jabbar, a ministry advisor.
But the timeline for this pivotal decision remains shrouded in uncertainty. “When the leader orders, restoration of women in universities will happen immediately,” he told The Associated Press. Jabbar also said there is unanimous support within the Taliban hierarchy for reinstating girls’ education, thereby aligning with the sentiments of key leaders.
Minister Nadim had characterized the university ban as a temporary measure, positioned to facilitate the resolution of issues pertaining to gender segregation, curriculum content, and dress codes. The reassurance was offered that universities would reopen for female students once these challenges were adequately addressed.
Echoing this sentiment, Jabbar underscored the readiness of the education sector to accommodate both male and female students, with considerations for distinct schedules. The prospect of staggered classes—potentially featuring male students in the morning and female students in the afternoon, or vice versa—was outlined as a potential solution to ensure equitable access.
The evolving landscape of Afghanistan’s education system is underscored by the delicate interplay between leadership decisions, social aspirations, and the pragmatic necessities of imparting knowledge to all segments of the population. The nation watches with anticipation for the next chapter in this unfolding narrative.