The Taliban has argued that the co-educational system is against Islamic and national values. From now on, universities will have separate arrangements for female and male students.
Universities in Afghanistan will reopen tomorrow. Shaikh Abdul Baqi Haqqani, the Taliban’s acting minister for higher education announced this at a hurriedly called press conference.
But there is a rider.
Women students will be segregated so that they do not interact with men. They will have to attend classes in a separate building block. The lack of women teaching staff at the universities is a concern and it is not clear as yet is male teachers will be teaching the women students. However, it is clear that students will not be allowed to intermix across genders.
In the weeks following the Taliban’s taking over the country, Haqqani had argued that the co-educational system is against Islamic and national values. Today, he said that in the new term, female and male students will study in separate buildings in universities in the new term beginning Wednesday. He said that different class timings will be slotted for male and female students that that they will attend classes at different time to accommodate for space and dedicated teaching resources.
Only universities located in the country’s warmer regions will reopen, the minister said. Universities in the rest of the country will resume classes on 26 February. Pending examinations will be held three weeks after the start of classes.
Afghanistan has 40 public and 150 private universities.
The public universities had closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Teachers have not been paid salaries and there has been confusion about the extent of roles that the women faculty members in these universities will play.
Image: Wikipedia — Shaheed Professor Rabbani Education University, taken by Weaveravel / August 2015