Taliban announces Afghan universities to be segregated by gender

Shutterstock

The BBC reported, the Taliban has said that Afghan universities will be segregated by gender, and a new dress code will be introduced.

According to the BBC, Higher Education Minister Abdul Baqi Haqqani indicated women would be allowed to study, but not alongside men.

Minister Abdul Baqi Haqqani also announced a review of the subjects students would be taught.

The BBC mentioned that women and girls were banned from schools and universities under Taliban rule between 1996 and 2001.

It added, the Taliban have said they will not prevent women from being educated or having jobs. But since they seized control on 15 August, they have asked all women, except those in the public health sector, to stay away from work, until the security situation improves.

Sunday’s announcement of the higher education policy comes a day after the Taliban raised their flag over the presidential palace, signalling the beginning of their administration. They seized control from the elected government a month ago.

Afghanistan war

The policy marks a significant change from the accepted practice before the Taliban takeover. Female students did not have to abide by a dress code, and universities were co-educational, with men and women studying side by side.

According to the BBC, Mr Haqqani was unapologetic about that change. “We have no problems in ending the mixed-education system,” he said. “The people are Muslims and they will accept it.”

Read more: Antonio Guterres calls for deeper international cooperation to address global crisis

The BBC added, some have suggested that the new rules will exclude women from education because the universities do not have the resources to provide separate classes. However, Mr Haqqani insisted there are enough female teachers and that where they are not available alternatives will be found.

“It all depends on the university’s capacity,” he said. “We can also use male teachers to teach from behind a curtain, or use technology.”

Girls and boys will also be segregated at primary and secondary schools, which was already common throughout Afghanistan.

Women will be required to wear hijabs, however Mr Haqqani did not specify if additional face coverings would be made compulsory.

Read more: Taliban shoot dead the brother of former vice president of Afghanistan

The newly installed minister also said that the subjects taught in universities will be reviewed. He told reporters that the Taliban wanted to “create a reasonable and Islamic curriculum that is in line with our Islamic, national and historical values and, on the other hand, be able to compete with other countries”.

A recent report by the United Nation’s education branch, UNESCO, said that the number of girls in primary school had increased from almost zero to 2.5 million in the 17 years after Taliban control.

The report also said the female literacy rate had nearly doubled in a decade to 30%.

The BBC noted, the Taliban’s new government has also replaced the Women’s Affairs Ministry with the Ministry of Vice and Virtue.

Source: BBC