Taliban Women’s education: Taliban spokesman says older girls need a “secure learning environment” before they can completely return to school.
According to Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, girls would have to wait longer to return to secondary school in Afghanistan, as fears arise about the fate of women’s education under the new government.
Mujahid told a press conference in Kabul on Tuesday that the organization was “finalizing things” and that secondary school females would return to class “as soon as feasible.”
The Ministry of Education published a statement on Saturday stating that “all-male teachers and students should attend their educational institutions,” but made no mention of girls or women.
Taliban Women’s education Guidelines
As part of their new educational guidelines, girls and women can only be taught by female teachers or, if there aren’t enough female teachers, by “older” men who have demonstrated that they are “pious.” Similarly, women can return to universities but must study in some type of gender segregation.
Before older girls could return to school, Mujahid said, “a safe learning environment” would need to be developed. He didn’t say anything about what exactly has to be done to establish such an environment.
He also did not specify what flaws in the former education system the Taliban saw as hurdles to girls returning to school. Secondary schools were also segregated under the previous administration.
Mujahid’s lack of clarification has heightened concern among female educators and pupils, who fear that the Taliban may revert to the extreme restrictions that characterized its five-year rule in the 1990s. All women and girls were barred from attending school at the time. Only female doctors were able to continue working.
Since retaking power last month, 20 years after being deposed in a US-led assault, the Taliban has sent confusing messages about women’s rights.
They have permitted female workers at the Ministry of Public Health to return to work, and many of their spokespeople visited female health workers in the days following their takeover, assuring them that their work would be unaffected.
Other women in Kabul, Herat, and Kandahar, on the other hand, have reported being unable to return to work under Taliban rule.
Last year, the previous government and its female education minister were similarly chastised for proposed curbs on girls’ education.
Rangina Hamidi, the then-acting Minister of Education, was harshly chastised at the time for a policy that barred older females from singing at school functions, despite the fact that schools were gender-segregated under that regime as well.