The Taliban leadership is deeply divided over girls’ education beyond Class 6, raising fears of girls’ education in Afghanistan under the new rule that has largely stripped women of their basic rights.
Just recently, the Taliban banned women from flying unaccompanied.
Rights groups say there are deep divisions within the Taliban’s Supreme Council of Jurisprudence on whether the girls could be permitted to seek education beyond Class 6.
The U-turn taken by the Taliban regime over the education for girls is both disappointing and deeply concerning. Notably, on March 21, the Taliban said they would lift a seven-month-old de facto ban on girls’ education from Class 6 onwards and reopen schools on the first day of Afghanistan’s new academic year, local media reported.
However, two days later, the regime while backtracking from its own statement said, they were putting in place policies compliant with the “principles of Islamic law and Afghan culture”.
Looking deeper into the Taliban mindset, it is abundantly clear that their leadership is still struggling to embrace the idea of women’s role in Afghan society.
There are different sorts of reports doing the rounds over the Taliban’s latest decision of not allowing girls to seek education beyond class 6.
In one of the reports, the education ministry was facing a shortage of teachers, following the exodus of thousands of Afghans, many among them trained teachers, after the Taliban’s triumphant march into Kabul last August.
Moreover, a senior Taliban figure said the schools would be reopened after a “standardised uniform” for girls was introduced that reflected the Afghan culture, local media reported.
Various reports and commentary by the Taliban has only led to more confusion over the regime’s stance over girl education. Taliban while allowing public universities to reopen last month made a promise that the girls’ schools would restart too.
Even though their leadership held meetings and visited hospitals to speak to women doctors and nurses, encouraging them to return to work and continue to serve, still, the regime is grappling with the issue of girls’ education and women’s participation in public life.
48 per cent of the population in Afghanistan consists of women and thus Taliban needs to realize that the country cannot progress without the active participation of its women in building society.
Afghanistan society is already plagued with a plethora of issues such as unemployment, and shortage of skilled and trained manpower and amid this one can only hope that the Taliban revoke its decision and open schools for girls without any restrictions.