A number of female students in eastern Nangarhar province voiced mounting despair about the lack of access to public universities, lack of employment opportunities for women and girls, and the uncertain future in general for Afghan girls and women in the country.
Ahmad Khan, who is a teacher in Nangarhar province, said that three of his daughters were students at the department of Agriculture, Engineering and Literature at Nangarhar University, but for months the doors of public universities have been closed to them.
Kerishma, a 20-year-old woman living in the Shiwa district of Nangarhar, told TOLOnews that she and her younger sister (Zala) had passed the entrance exams for the engineering and literature departments at Nangarhar University last year, but had not yet been able to join their classes.
“I succeeded in the engineering department. The year ended and I could not go to university, I’m very worried when I look at my empty notebooks that I have not written anything,” said Kerishma, a student.
“Since the universities have been closed, our dreams and aspirations have been reduced. All girls like me are worried about our future, I hope the educational institutions open for girls,” said Zala, Kerishma’s sister.
Ziba, who is a second-year student in the Agriculture department in Nangarhar University, and is the elder sister of Kerishma and Zala, said that she has faced many challenges during her schooling, but due to the outbreak of COVID-19 disease and the collapse of the previous government, universities have been closed twice to the students.
“Public and private universities must be opened. This is very important for women because a number of women do not have breadwinners, they have studied, graduated and are working to support their families,” she said.
Ziba urged the Islamic Emirate to let women continue their education.
Ahmad Khan, the girls’ father, said that despite economic challenges, he is trying to help his daughters continue their education. He called on the Islamic Emirate to provide educational opportunities for girls and women in the country.
“Education is the basis of the progress of a society and a country. When the process of education stops, the development of a society stops,” said Ahmad Khan.
Based on available statistics, over 15,000 students were studying at Nangarhar university, and nearly 3,000 of the were female students.
This comes as the acting Minister of Higher Education said in a press conference in Kabul two days ago that public universities would soon be reopened for all students, including women.