Are all women deprived of education in Afghanistan?

Published On: June 5, 2023Categories: Fact Check

Bakhtar News Agency, operating under the Taliban’s supervision, has reported in a news article on June 03 that 200 female and male students have graduated from the Ghazanfar Medical Sciences Institute. These students have completed their studies in nursing, medical technology, physiotherapy, and radiology.

Selective education for women

The spokesperson for the Taliban de facto government, Zabihullah Mujahid, has stated that educational opportunities for women have been provided in the fields of healthcare and religious schools called Madrasas, and women can continue their education in these sectors. Mujahid confirms that women pursue their education in these fields and emphasizeds that the necessary infrastructure for their education has been established, with separate facilities for women’s education to proceed in these circumstances. 

Zabihullah Mujahid also said that the number of these women is few.

Fact check

Not all women are deprived of higher education in Afghanistan. The Taliban de facto government is selectively permitting education beyond grade six is accessible to women in two areas: medical institutes and religious Madrasas. 

Chalawsaf had previously established that there are seemingly no restrictions on religious education for girls and women in Madrasas, but now official sources confirm that women also receive education in short-term and medium-term programs in medical educational institutions. 

Comment

However, the question remains – if the Taliban de facto government acknowledges the need for women’s education in the medical field and has provided the necessary infrastructure for this, why are the doors of universities still closed to women? The optimistic outlook of providing educational opportunities for women in medical institutes could be a starting point for creating educational opportunities for girls in high schools and universities.

The challenge of differing perspectives among the Taliban regarding women’s education

Among the Taliban officials, individuals like Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, the Taliban Minister of Foreign Affairs, have defended girls’ education. However, some officials, especially those close to the Taliban leadership, have opposed girls’ education. It has been said that Abdul Hakim Haqqani, the Taliban’s Chief Justice, Sheikh Mohammad Khalid Hanafi, the Taliban Minister of Vice and Virtue, Mawlawi Habib Agha, the Minister of Education, and Neda Mohammad Nadeem, the Minister of Higher Education, are among those who oppose women’s education.

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