This year’s university entrance exam was held in all provinces except Kabul on Thursday but the participation was significantly lower than expected, especially in the number of female students.
Organizers of the exam told reporters that the number of absentees is expected to be between 8,000 and 10,000.
“At least 120,000 students have applied for the exam, but the number of male students is significantly low due to migrations, but the number of female students is high,” said Abdul Haq Rostazada, a member of the organizer team.
The next round of the annual university exam will be held in Kabul on Oct. 13 and 14 where at least 35,000 to 40,000 students are expected to attend.
A second exam for absent students and applicants has been canceled for this year, Rostazada said.
Taliban officials in the ministry of higher education said that at least 95,000 students will be enrolled in higher education institutions and universities this year.
But Ahmad Taqi, a Taliban spokesman for the higher education ministry, has said that female students will not be enrolled in certain colleges and departments.
Quoted by local media, Taqi named the agriculture and medicine departments that have been considered for female students, but he did not provide further details in this regard.
Concerns over lack of transparency
Students who attended the exam said they expect relevant institutions to ensure transparency in the process.
“I hope there is transparency in the entire process, including the results,” said Abdul Khaliq, a student.
“I had fully prepared for this year’s exam and I urge relevant officials to pay attention to the process as the fate of thousands of people is dependent on their decisions,” said Mohammad Mahdi, a student.
Initial figures from various provinces show a significant reduction in the number of participants in the annual university exam.
According to figures provided to Amu, in Bamiyan, the number of participants was over 5,200 students last year, but it was nearly 3,200 students this year.
In Badghis province, 291 students attended the exam, of which 60 were women. Last year, the participants in the province were 890 people.
In Daikundi province in the central parts of Afghanistan, 2,331 students had applied for the exam, but 1,734 of them attended. Last year, over 4,000 students attended the annual university exam in the province.
In Herat province in the west of Afghanistan, 11,400 students attended last year’s exam, which was nearly 7,000 this year.
Badakhshan, Ghor, Kapisa, Panjshir, Parwan and Farah provinces also saw a significantly lower number of participants in the exam.
In Kandahar province in the south, journalists were not allowed to cover the exam.
The results of the exam will be announced on Nov. 6, according to the exam organizing committee.