The closing of schools for girls from grades 7-12 faced strong reactions by the international community including the UN.
The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, said that the “failure by Taliban authorities to reopen schools for girls above 6th grade is profoundly disappointing and damaging for Afghanistan.”
“The start of the new school year has been anticipated by all students, girls and boys, and parents and families,” Guterres said in a statement.
The Islamic Emirate earlier announced that it would reopen all schools for male and female students across the country but on Wednesday—the first day of the school year—students beyond grade six were not allowed to attend their schools and were told to remain at their homes until further notice.
“The denial of education violates the human rights of women and girls – beyond their equal right to education, it leaves them more exposed to violence, poverty and exploitation,” said Ravina Shamdasani, a spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
“This is a major setback for children across Afghanistan and UNICEF is deeply worried about the impact of this decision on girls, on their learning and mental health,” said Sam Mort, Chief of Communication, Advocacy and Civic Engagement of UNICEF Afghanistan.
US Secretary Antony Blinken reacted to the closing of schools for girls above grade sixth and called education a basic human right. “The United States rejects the Taliban’s excuses for reversing their commitment to the people of Afghanistan that all Afghans would be able to return to school at all levels today,” he said.
In addition to Afghan politicians and world officials, people close to the government also suggested that education is a fundamental right of humans.
“The girls must be immediately allowed to go to school. Education is an Islamic, human and fundamental (right),” said Malala Yousafzai, an education rights activist.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education said on Thursday that it sent a plan for the Prime Minister’s approval about the education of girls in grades 7-12.