Taliban’s ‘abusive’ policies causing setbacks in children’s education in Afghanistan: HRW

Kabul, Dec 6 (EFE).- The Taliban’s “abusive” policies are causing a serious setback in children’s education in schools in Afghanistan with a rise in the use of corporal punishment, a shortage of teachers and regressive curriculum changes, international organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report on Wednesday.

“While the Taliban’s prohibition of secondary education and higher education for girls and women has grabbed headlines, the rights violations extend beyond the severe restrictions imposed on girls’ and women’s education,” the nonprofit said it a 19-page report titled “‘Schools are Failing Boys Too’: The Taliban’s Impact on Boys’ Education in Afghanistan.”

The report shows new or heightened barriers to education that Afghan children face and that have led many of them to stop going to school.

Corporal punishment for hairstyle or dress violations are some of the abusive practices that are increasingly common in schools in Afghanistan, according to the students themselves.

“I have been beaten and badly humiliated during the morning assembly in front of everyone, once for having a mobile phone with me and the second time for my hairstyle. They cut my hair in front of everyone during the morning assembly, saying it resembled ‘Western style,’ and after that, I was punished with foot whipping,” one of the children, Abdul R. interviewed by HRW, said.

Moreover, a lack of staff due to the dismissal of female teachers from boys’ schools has led many students to be taught by unqualified educators or even to sit in classrooms with no teachers at all, according to HRW.

This shortage of teachers, together with the Taliban’s elimination of subjects including arts, sports, English, and civic education, has caused a decline in educational quality, HRW said.

“Out of 14 subjects, we [now] only have teachers for 7 subjects, and 7 subjects are not taught. These subjects include physics, biology, skills, computer, English, and art,“ grade 12 student, Muhammad A, said.

“These subjects are not even removed by the Taliban; they aren’t taught because our female teachers were dismissed. Therefore, I have to take private classes outside of school,” he added.

Education experts told EFE that this deterioration in schools coincides with an increase in seminaries since the Taliban’s rise to power in August 2021.

“Motivation and most of the governmental job opportunities opened for Taliban seminaries students which caused disappointment among modern education students,” former Deputy Minister of Education, Ahmad Nazir, told EFE.

Afghanistan is the only country in the world that bans women from higher education.

However, their exclusion not only from the education system, but from most areas of society, has also put greater pressure on boys to be the sole financial providers for their families thereby forcing many of them to leave school and start working, the report added.

“In my school, most boys in grades 10, 11, and 12 have either dropped out of school for work inside the country or crossed the border illegally to Iran or Pakistan for work. If it continues like this, our school will be shut down too,” 15-year-old Abdul S. said. EFE


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