Taliban bans male and female students from studying together

The Taliban allows Afghan women to continue their undergraduate and graduate studies, but must separate classes for boys and girls and wear Muslim clothing.

Abdul Baqi Haqqani, Afghanistan’s Interim Education Minister, presented a new policy on higher education during a press conference on September 12. He said the Taliban do not want to turn back the clock 20 years ago, but “want to build on what is already there”.

High school girls in Kabul before class on September 12.  Photo: AP

High school girls in Kabul before class on September 12. Photo: AP

However, female college students still face some restrictions, including a dress code. Haqqani said the female student was forced to wear a headscarf, but did not specify whether it was only her hair or her face. Classes must also be divided between boys and girls.

“We will not allow boys and girls to study together,” he declared.

In addition, the subjects being taught are also reviewed. Without specifying, Haqqani said he wants university graduates in Afghanistan to be able to compete with graduates in the region and the world.

During the previous rule, the Taliban did not allow women and girls to go to school or walk freely on the streets. They also banned the teaching of music and art in schools.

Higher education policy signals a change from the situation before the Taliban took control of Afghanistan. At that time, male and female students were allowed to study together, female students did not have to comply with the dress code, but most chose to wear the traditional headscarf. In primary and secondary schools, boys and girls study separately. High school girls must wear a knee-length dress, a white headscarf, no jeans, makeup, and jewelry.

Hong Hanh (Follow AP)


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