Six months after the Taliban returned to power, Afghanistan’s main universities reopened on Saturday, including one of Afghanistan’s oldest and most revered institutions of higher education, Kabul University reopened on February 26, six months after the Taliban retook the country. However, there were new restrictions in place, including gender segregation and mandatory Islamic dress.
Apart from wearing head-coverings, female students cannot bring smartphones to the university. Male students attend the courses in the afternoon. In various news reports, students have shared that the music department is the only discipline cancelled for both males and females. There have been no changes made to the syllabus.
Most secondary schools for girls and all public universities were closed after the Taliban takeover on August 15, 2021, triggering fears women would be barred from education, as happened during their first rule from 1996-2001.
The Taliban government made no public announcements and denied the requests of media persons to enter the university premises. The university statement was posted on the Facebook page announcing that students would return to the classes and adhere to religious and cultural values, said reports.
In earlier statements, the Taliban government has said that it has no objection to women’s education but require classes to be segregated and based on Islamic principles according to them. It had blamed the delays in opening institutions for female students on lack of adequate space, primarily in cities, to accommodate segregate schooling.
Earlier this month, some public universities had reopened in the provinces of Lagham, Nangarhar, Kandahar, Nimroz, Farah and Helmand. In February, the Kabul University had also posted a list of vacancies on its Facebook page for positions in art, public policy, literature, media and communications, and political science departments.