Afghanistan’s higher education system gets major Taliban shakeup

Herat University, Herat city.

Taliban higher education minister Neda Mohammad Nadeem said at a gathering in Nangarhar on Thursday that the former government’s higher education system has been scrapped and that the ministry is trying to close the gap between modern education and Islamic education.

Addressing a gathering of religious scholars, he said fundamental changes have been made to higher education and that the former government’s systems and policies have been discarded.

“We have a plan to send teachers at madrassas to university and send university lecturers to madrassas so that they will educate the students,” Nadeem said. “Our goal is to remove the gap between the modern education [system] and Islamic education.”

At another meeting, with university lecturers, Nadeem told them that all policies and systems carried over from the former government are no longer applicable.

Taliban higher education minister at a gathering in Nangarhar on Dec. 8, 2022.

Nadeem said the Taliban will implement new regulations and that “the principles and laws of the former government are absolutely invalid and are not acceptable, and they are not applicable any longer.”

He stated that the old system fostered corruption.

“The former government is over. The system was full of corruption and [it was a] slavery system. Now all the laws and principles of that system have been removed; those laws were full of corruption and their implementation is not allowed and we will not allow them to be implemented,” Nadeem said.

Nadeem added that the ministry was also formulating a single curriculum to be implemented at both private and public universities in Afghanistan.

Nadeem also urged all academic staff from universities, who fled Afghanistan after the Taliban seized control, to return to the country.

Nadeem assured them there would be a safe environment for them in Afghanistan.

This comes after Nadeem visited Herat province last week, where he told university students and teachers that the academic level of Mujahideen should be assessed according to the number of mines (IEDs) they planted.

He stated that the Taliban had been removed from education as they had been fighting a war for 20 years. “It is not his (Taliban fighter) fault that he was fighting against the infidels for the past 20 years. His score will be that the more mines he has planted; the more points he will get.”