Law students and lawyers in Afghanistan are filing reports with JURIST on the situation there after the Taliban takeover. Here, a Staff Correspondent for JURIST in Kabul offers his observations on current uncertainties for Afghan education under the Taliban. For privacy and security reasons, we are withholding his name. The text has been only lightly edited to respect the author’s voice.
A Taliban spokesperson has said that girls can go to schools after the winter vacations. This statement was made yesterday. In Afghanistan, the winter vacations start by mid-December and continue until the beginning of March each year. The Taliban have made many statements regarding girls’ education in the country since they seized power in August. Furthermore, they have said that they are working on specific procedures to regulate women’s education in Afghanistan but since August they have not explained or provided any information about what the procedures, policies, and regulation will look like for women education in the country.
Additionally, the Taliban spokesperson did not clarify what will happen to the period when girls were out of school and how they should fill up the gap. It seems that they have no plan for that. Their arguments do not make any sense most of the times because girls’ schools are separate from boys in the country and in most of girl’s schools even the management is run by women. Therefore, reopening of girl’s schools should not very difficult for the Taliban.
They did actually implement some policies in the higher education sector by segregating classrooms by partitions and some other tools. Concerning higher education, they have imposed some restrictions such as girls covering themselves by Hijab, replacing women professors with men etc.
On November 18, the acting minister of the Taliban for the Ministry of Higher Education met with some German officials from Strategic Development Corporation. In this meeting, the acting minister requested the German’s financial cooperation to help reopen the public universities in the country. The minister stated that the closure of public universities is due to lack of sufficient budget which cannot be solved sooner and cannot be done without foreign cooperation.
The higher education system deals with a lot of challenges such as lack of professors (this is mostly due to emigration of many and resignation of some), lack of budget, lack of classrooms if the Taliban implement their segregation policy, lack of female professors if the Taliban again implement their policy of having only women teach women.