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Afghan Universities reopen, female students may attend only if separated from men

Afghanistan’s public universities reopened on Wednesday for the first time since the Taliban took over last year, with female students joining their male counterparts on campus. Although the Taliban administration had

Afghanistan’s public universities reopened on Wednesday for the first time since the Taliban took over last year, with female students joining their male counterparts on campus.

Although the Taliban administration had not officially announced its plans for female university students, education officials told Reuters that women were allowed to attend classes as long as they were physically separated from male students.

The hardline Islamist Taliban barred women and girls from education during their previous rule, which lasted from 1996 to 2001.

Since resuming power on August 15 as foreign forces withdrew, the group claims to have changed, but it has been vague about its plans, and in many provinces, the high school-aged girls are still not allowed to return to school.

Also Read: Young Millionare: “Africa’s wealthiest” 9-year-old owns a mansion and a fleet of supercars

Some private universities have reopened, but female students have been unable to return to class in many cases.

As the Taliban seek more foreign aid and the unfreezing of overseas assets, the international community has made girls’ and women’s education a key part of its demands.

Meanwhile, an education official said that the universities had been given a variety of options to keep female students separated, including separate classes and staggered operating hours to divide the genders.

Male and female students at Nangarhar University will attend separate classes, said Khalil Ahmad Bihsudwal, the head of the university. He said the practice is already in place in many provinces.

On Wednesday, only universities in warmer provinces opened. Tertiary institutions in colder areas, such as Kabul, will reopen on February 26.

First Published: 2nd February, 2022 18:52 IST

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