A Taliban official has expressed “optimism” about the possibility of reopening schools and universities for girls and said that the institutes will reopen once “the work on the curriculum is finished”, according to a news outlet in Afghanistan.
Tolo News spoke with a Taliban official from Parwan province in the country, Azizullah Omar, who told the reporter interviewing him that “there is no problem about the start of schooling. There is only a problem in the curriculum”.
Mr Omar continued: “A committee has been formed for its reform. After confirmation of the clerics, the schools will begin.”
However, the statement is being viewed with a bit of scepticism as the Taliban had previously promised education for all —- including girls and women — when it took over Kabul in August 2021 but went back on its word leaving hundreds of thousands of Afghan girls without any means to receive an education.
Earlier this year, the Taliban also claimed that Afghan women and girls were not permanently banned from attending schools and universities. “I would like to make it clear that it is not a permanent ban on women’s education, it has been postponed until a conducive environment is created for their education,” the caretaker government’s spokesperson Suhail Shaheen said.
Taliban has ordered women to stop attending private and public universities and banned girls from middle school and high school. The organisation has also barred women from most fields of employment and ordered them to wear head-to-toe clothing in public. Women have also been banned from parks and gyms in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, last week it was reported that the schools reopened for the new academic year in the country, but hundreds of thousands of teenage girls remain barred from attending classes.
Education Minister Habibullah Agha confirmed in a statement that schools up to grade six “will currently be open for girls”, effectively retaining a ban on high school for female students.
551 days since the Taliban banned teenage girls from school. For 551 days Afghan girls have been deprived of formal education. They continue to be denied their basic human rights and the world remains mostly muted #LetAfghanGirlsLearn
— Yalda Hakim (@BBCYaldaHakim) March 25, 2023
Previously, Taliban leaders have repeatedly claimed they will reopen secondary schools for girls once “conditions” have been met, including remodelling the syllabus along Islamic lines.
Taliban officials have justified the ban on girls’ education by saying that there is a lack of a “safe environment”.
Students have been urging the Taliban regime to reopen schools for girls. “I am absolutely hopeless about life. We hoped the schools would be reopened in the new educational year,” one student identified by just her first name Zuhal was quoted as saying by the local media.
“We ask the Islamic Emirate to reopen the doors of schools for us,” said another student.
The Taliban security Chief for Afghanistan’s Parwan province, Azizullah Omar said that schools for female students will reopen soon after the work on the curriculum is finished. "There is no problem with the start of schooling. There is only a problem with the curriculum.
— Independent Kabul Times - خبرگزاری ایندپندینت کابل (@KabulTimes4) March 25, 2023
“This is tragic, shameful,” Markus Potzel, acting head of the UN mission in Afghanistan said.
In late December, the United Nations Security Council also asked the Taliban to roll back its “unjustifiable” decree. The Taliban edict is “relentless misogyny,” said the agency and added it was “a virulent attack on women, their contribution, their freedom and their voice”.