Taliban offers odd-even scheme to educate girls and boys in Afghanistan

New Delhi : Afghanistan’s rulers, the Taliban, have designed a new formula , which apparently conforms to their puritan religious norms, of educating boys and girls. Girls will go to university on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday while boys will attend classes on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. In a bizarre decree, the Taliban Ministry of Higher Education has announced the allocation of specific days in a week for male and female students to attend universities separately, similar to an odd and even formula. According to the new timetable for the universities, three days of the week are allocated for all-female students during which no boy will be attending classes while the remaining three days will be given to boys with no female presence. Based on this decision, Monday, Wednesday and Saturday are allocated for girls and Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday for boys. And this pilot project will be implemented first at Kabul University and Kabul Polytechnic University, reported Khama press. “With the new arrangements, male and female students will enable them to have enough time for practical activities and scientific research,” says the Ministry of Higher education. The rationale behind the Taliban’s decision is that they do not have enough money to build separate schools and colleges for girls. Since they have banned women from working, the Taliban do not have women teachers who can teach girls separately. “The Taliban have promised to appoint women teachers who will have to teach only for three days in a week.

But no one believes their promises,” says Pakistan based Afghan journalist Naimat Khan. As Taliban’s ban of secondary education for teenage girls continues, Afghan people continue rallies and protests across the country. Religious scholars also continue speaking against the ban. Earlier, the Taliban had ended co-education in universities and had separated their times as girls would attend morning classes and boys were given the afternoon shift in the primary schools while they closed all secondary schools for girls across Afghanistan which are yet to be reopened. After being shuttered for the past several months, high schools for Afghan girls opened in late March, only to be closed again after only a few hours. Girls above the sixth grade are unable to attend school, following the Taliban’s Ministry of Education decree closing girls’ schools until further notice. The Taliban remain ideologically rigid, austere, and opposed to basic rights for women and girls. The school closures stand in contrast to an earlier Taliban pledge, by which the group said that girls ages 12 through 19 would be able to attend school, as long as the schools operated in accordance with Islamic principles. This reversal is in line with the Taliban’s draconian approach to women’s involvement in society across the board, including in education, government employment, clothing and appearance, and independent mobility. Facing the worldwide criticism, the Taliban last week had said that work on reopening girls’ schools has been closer to being finalised.

Schools will be reopened once the scheme is ready. Closure of schools for girls has not only created a backlash in Afghanistan but also inside the country and even among pro-Taliban leaders. With more than 70 per cent of Afghan women unable to read and write, Afghanistan has the worst education indicators for women in Asia, according to the World Bank. The Taliban’s ban has denied secondary education for more than 1.1 million Afghan girls, according to the U.N. children’s agency, UNICEF. Interestingly, while the Taliban continue to deny education to girls, their own top leaders are educating their daughters at posh schools in Doha and Pakistan. The leaders include Health Minister Qalandar Ebad, Deputy Foreign Minister Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, and spokesperson Suhail Shaheen. In a shocking revelation, a report by the Afghan Analysts Network (AAN) exposed how the Taliban elites are sending their daughters to overseas schools despite the regime not allowing many female secondary students in classrooms in Afghanistan. “Most of the top leaders and high-ranking officials have enrolled their children in overseas state schools and universities. The daughter of one current Taliban minister is currently studying medicine at a Qatari university,” says the report. Two daughters of Suhail Shaheen study in a western school in Doha. The older daughter, the source said, even played football for her school team. Daughter of Health Minister Qalandar Ebad, is a doctor in a hospital in Islamabad while Stanikzai’s daughter has completed her medical education in Doha.

 

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