A number of school-aged girls and young women on Sunday told TOLOnews they are disappointed by the recent decision of the Education Ministry of the caretaker cabinet to not allow female students to attend secondary school-level classes.
The Education Ministry in a statement said on Friday that only boys’ schools will reopen, and only male teachers can restart their jobs, but did not say anything about female teachers or girls returning to school.
On Saturday, boys and male teachers appeared in schools, but girls’ schools and classrooms remained empty.
According to students and teachers, the decision has shut out millions of girls across the country.
Fatima is a student at the Sayedul Shuhada Girls High School in western Kabul. She says she wants to become a lawyer in the future, but now she is prohibited from chasing her dream and is badly disappointed.
“As a girl, I feel like I am not a citizen of Afghanistan. I am locked at home like a prisoner,” she said.
A number of boys, meanwhile, urged the Education Ministry to allow the girls to continue their schooling. “Our schools have reopened, and it would be good if girls’ schools also reopened so they can continue their classes,” said Ahmad, a student.
“The girls’ schools should also reopen,” another student said.
Just In Sayedul Shuhada Girls High School, thousands of girls are being deprived of an education. According to the school administration, around 7,000 students are enrolled at the school. Following the recent decision, nearly 5,000 girls have not been allowed back.
Aqila Tawakuli, the headmaster of the school, said that around 4,745 students who are in classes above sixth grade are at their homes.
Based on numbers of the Education Ministry, currently 14,098 schools operate in Afghanistan, of which 4,932 are schools with students from grade 10-12, 3,781 from grades 7-9, and 5,385 from grade 1-6.
According to the statistics, out of the total schools, 28 percent of grade 10-12, 15.5 percent of 7-9, and 13.5 percent of grade 1-6 are girls’ schools.
Saeed Khosti, a member of the Cultural Commission of the Culture and Information Ministry, said: “There are technical problems.There are problems that should be solved fundamentally and there is a need to make a policy and framework. In this framework, it should be established how our girls should continue their lessons. When these problems are solved, all the girls can go to school.”
The female students said that although the Taliban has repeatedly said it has changed, their recent decision is disappointing and causes the girls and young women to fear a further loss of rights.