The prevention of female students in grades 7-12 from going to school is considered one of the most important events of the year in 1401, as was the more recent decree barring females from attending universities.
On March 22, 2022, thousands of girls went to schools but were turned back by the Islamic Emirate.
“When I heard about the news yesterday, I was so happy that schools would reopen. I shed tears and I was very sad,” said a student at that time to a TOLOnews reporter.
“The schools of boys and girls will be separate. If there is a complex problem or an economic one, then shifts should be changed. Female teachers should wear hijab. Female students should be taught by female teachers,” said Aziz Ahmad Riyan, a former spokesman for the ministry of education.
On May 26, a committee of eight religious experts under the leadership of Supreme Court chief Abdul Hakim Haqqani was formed to look into the reopening of girls' schools, but the committee has yet to make clear its achievements.
“The committee has eight members. It includes religious scholars. The committee has done some work to reopen the girls’ high schools. We hope it can be solved in the near future,” said Inamullah Samangani, former deputy spokesman of the Islamic Emirate.
Regarding the closure of girls' schools, Islamic Emirate officials have expressed a variety of opinions.
Zabiullah Mujahid, in an interview with RTA TV on August 10, 2022, said that girls' schools are closed due to religious issues.
Later, the acting minister of education made some remarks that sparked widespread reactions. He said that girls’ schools were closed over cultural issues and that people are not willing to send their daughters to schools.
“If (we) were acting on Pakistan’s instruction, the problems of the schools and other problems would have already been solved. This is a religious issue and it needs Islamic clerics' agreement,” said Zabiullah Mujahid, the Islamic Emirate spokesman.
“You wouldn’t need to ask me the same question if you ask how many people in this mosque are willing to send their 16-year-old daughter to school. You and I both grew up in the same Afghan society, and the culture is clear to everyone,” said Noorullah Munir, the former minister of education.
The closure of schools faced reactions at the national and international level.
Education has been an issue. Along with domestic and global reactions, it also sparked reactions from a number of current government officials.
“Education is obligatory for both men and women and here are some religious scholars. No one can deny it. And no one has an Islamic reason for closing schools for girls. We have hundreds of clerics here and everyone agrees with the reopening of schools for girls. So we want to reopen schools for everyone in Afghanistan,” said Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, the deputy minister of foreign affairs.
“Education is permissible, but when there is a conflict between the permissible and the leader, the order of the leader is obligatory, and education for men is also permissible," said Khalid Hanafi, the acting minister of vice and virtue.
The Ministry of Education held a test on December 7, 2022, for female students in the twelfth grade, who were not permitted to attend their classes, and they graduated from school.
“It is a positive step for us that the schools have opened for us. We can take our exams in one day. In the past years, we could pass our exams separately and we could study properly,” said Tamkin, a student.
"We learned at the start of the week that they would hold an exam on Wednesday, and we are not as prepared compared to previous years,” said Rukhsar, another student.
In addition to closing girls' schools, the Islamic Emirate's government also banned female students from continuing their education in universities.
“We ask the acting government to open universities to all female students because we are facing an uncertain future,” said a student.
This came as an exit exam for graduate medical students was held at Kabul University only for male students.
More than 7,000 graduates of the School of Medicine from various provinces took part in the test, according to Gul Mohammad Osman, director of the Afghanistan Medical Council. No female students were present.
The Afghanistan Medical Council officials said that when the procedure was approved, female students would also be permitted to take the test in the second round.
"This test is conducted in two rounds, the first round is for males, and the second round is for women," Osman said.
However, the fate of the schools for female students --medical students and otherwise--has not yet been clarified.
The Ministry of Education announced that more than 19,013 religious seminaries would be formed.
The Ministry of Education said that it is working on a standard education method.
"Education is the legal and natural right of the country's residents, thus closing educational institutes for girls cannot have any legal justification,” said Sayed Muqadam Amin, a university lecturer.
On the eve of the education year, many families of female students called on the Islamic Emirate to reopen schools above grade six.
“I have four grandchildren who have been deprived of school and are now at home. There should be a decision for them that they should go to school,” said Abdul Jalil, a resident of Kabul.
“I have two daughters. One of them is in grade 8 and another one is in grade 10. We are calling on the Islamic Emirate to allow them to go to schools,” said Raziq, a resident of Kabul.
It has been more than one and half years since the schools were closed for female students above grade six.