Taliban is trying really hard to project itself as an organization with modern outlook and thinking. Their leaders are appearing on media channels to convince the world that they have changed and they are going to treat the Afghan citizens, especially women, better from the last time they did.
But recently, when Taliban’s first ‘fatwa’ surfaced, many started doubting if Taliban has changed a bit. In their recent fatwa, they put a ban on co-education.
As per various sources, Taliban officials in the Herat province have banned co-education in government and private universities, describing it as the ‘root of all evils in society’. According to Khaama Press, the decision to ban co-education was taken after a meeting between varsity professors, owners of private institutions, and Taliban authorities.
Till recent times, Afghanistan had a mixed system of both co-education and separate classes. While schools were offering separate classes only, both government and private universities and institutes around the country were offering co-education.
As per the lecturers in Herat province, while the government universities and institutes can manage separate classes, private institutions would not be able to. Because of the limited number of female students in private institutions, the latter cannot afford to create separate classrooms.
As per the head of higher education of Afghanistan Islamic Emirate, Mullah Farid, co-education should be ended because the system is the root of all evils in society.
Farid further suggested that female lecturers or elderly male ones, who are virtuous, are allowed to teach female students. But for the co-education, he mentioned how there is neither an alternative nor any justification to be continued.
Because of this heartbreaking and regressive fatwa many young girls would be deprived of higher education. As mentioned by Lecturers in Heart, many private institutions cannot afford separate classes which would deprive thousands of girls of higher education. This province had around 40,000 students and 2,000 lecturers in private and government universities and institutions.
This news has come after a week of press conference of Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban’s spokesman. During the press conference, he had promised that the Taliban would honour women’s rights within the norms of Islamic law, in an effort to portray a more moderate stance.
Sadly, with this fatwa, the future of women education looks dim under Taliban ruled Afghanistan. This ban will make many women completely dependent on men for their survival. While we wonder how co-education could be the root of all social evils, we pray that Afghan women won’t give up on their rights so easily!