Conflicts & War

Taliban say all Afghan girls will be back in school next week

Kabul, Mar 19 (EFE).- The Taliban Saturday declared that all girls could attend schools from next week when higher education institutions open after months of winter break, thus ending an uncertainty if the Islamist government would allow female students to return to classrooms.

“It is a pleasure to announce that all schools for boys and girls will start on Mar.23 as per the new procedure in line with Islamic law,” Aziz Ahmad Rehan, spokesperson of the education ministry, told EFE.

The Taliban had banned high school girls from attending classes after the militia seized power in Kabul following the ouster of the West-backed government of President Ashraf Ghani last year.

Rehan said the Taliban had closed the schools for girls for the last seven months “to work out a procedure for females to continue their education in accordance” with their interpretation of the Islamic law.

He said male and female students would study in gender-segregated schools and only women teachers would be allowed to teach girl students. High school students will have to wear headscarves.

If separate schools for boys and girls were not available, an institution would open in two shifts separately for females and males, Rehan said.

The ministry said some 9.5 million students, including 36 percent girls, will attend classes in 16,000 government and 4,000 private institutions.

There are 194,000 teachers, and 36 percent of them are women.

Allowing girls of all ages to attend schools was one of the most anticipated announcements in Afghanistan. It was one of the demands set by the international community after the Islamists came to power on Aug.15 last year.

The international community has demanded that the Taliban guarantee rights of all Afghans, especially women, to restore the flow of humanitarian aid into the war-battered country.

Last month, the Islamists reopened universities and allowed female students to attend classes.

But they have not allowed co-education as was the case earlier with both government and private institutions.

The government has segregated the classroom timings based on the gender of the students.

The international community has closely followed the first months of the Taliban government.

They hoped that the new rulers would distance themselves from the hardline of the Islamist regime during its rule from 1996 to 2001.

The then Taliban rulers had banned girls from schools, and the women remained confined to their homes. EFE


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