Afghan Universities Reopen for Female Students With Strict Rules

Some public universities in Afghanistan reopened on Feb. 2 with some female students allowed to attend classes for the first time since the Taliban takeover last year.

However, education officials said that women were only allowed to attend classes if they were separated from the male students.

Wearing the hijab was also mandatory for female students, education officials said.

“Many things felt normal, like they were before. Women and men were in the same class because our university is small — boys were sitting at the front and we were sitting at the back,” Rana told BBC.

Rana also said that the Taliban were guarding the building when students arrived.

The Taliban did not allow the media to cover the opening ceremonies of the universities, Rukhshana Media reported.

Shaker Wahidi, an official at the Afghanistan Ministry of Higher Education, told CNN that public universities in warmer provinces — Nangarhar, Paktia, Paktika, and Kandahar — resumed classes to male and female students on Feb. 2.

Meanwhile, universities in the colder areas would open for both men and women in March, Wahidi added.

Some private universities have also reopened, but female students in many cases have not been able to return to class.

Nicolette Waldman, a human rights lawyer and researcher with Amnesty International, said that the reopening of universities is “welcome.”

“Now waiting for similar news on secondary schools, which the vast majority of Afghan girls are still blocked from attending,” Waldman said.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said it was “so crucial that every young person has equal access to education.”

Taliban Deputy Spokesperson Bilal Karimi confirmed to CNN that the Afghanistan Education Ministry was working on a plan to restart secondary education for girls for the new school year on March 21.

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