Some of Afghanistan’s public universities resumed classes on Wednesday, after being closed for nearly six months since the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul, accepting the presence of women in classrooms, but at different times from their male peers.
The Taliban administration has not officially announced its plan for female university students, but women were permitted to attend classes on the condition that they were separated from male students, says a Reuters report.
The Taliban have imposed several restrictions, many of them on women, since their takeover — women have been banned from many jobs outside the health and teaching sector, and girls have not been able to go to school after grade six. The Taliban demand women wear headscarves but have stopped short of imposing the burqa, which was compulsory under their previous rule. In primary and secondary schools, girls and boys were educated separately. Women’s right to education has always been one of the conditions for the recognition of the Taliban government by the international community.
“About 350 students” of a total of 2,866 enrolled came to class on Wednesday, the director of the establishment, Asmatulá Durrani, told AFP.
Earlier this week, Abdul Baqi Haqqani, the Taliban-appointed education minister, said that public universities elsewhere in Afghanistan, including the University of Kabul, would reopen for both men and women on February 26.
“All instructors and officials are advised to concentrate on their responsibilities and provide the required facilities for the students,” Haqqani said in a recorded video clip on Sunday.
The United Nations mission in Afghanistan welcomed his announcement, calling it “important for Afghanistan” in a tweet on Tuesday. “So crucial that every young person has equal access to education,” said the mission.