The Taliban-run ministry of education has directed provincial education directorates to distribute registration forms for Kankor university entrance examination to female students, sources familiar with the matter said.
A source from the Balkh provincial education directorate, told Amu TV on condition of anonymity, the ministry sent a letter to all the provincial education directorates and directed them to distribute the entry forms to 12th-grade female students.
The source added that a separate test will be held for girls who have not received the forms so far.
Meanwhile, students from Balkh, Takhar, Herat, Jawzjan, and Badakhshan provinces told Amu TV that they have received Kankor registration forms.
Amu TV could not reach the spokesperson of the ministry for comment despite numerous calls.
Provincial governors of six provinces out of 34 had allowed schoolgirls to attend classes during the last school year in Afghanistan – ignoring the group’s order to ban girls from schools above grade six.
Meanwhile, a number of girls in Takhar province, who received the Kankor registration notice, said they hoped the Taliban’s move was not “political and dramatic.”
Maryam Sadat, a 12th-grade student in Takhar, said: “Kankor test is currently being considered [for female students] but it has no effect on the fate of students. Because they (girls) were denied education rights under the Taliban rule for two years.”
Meanwhile, a number of students also raised their concerns about the change in the academic curriculum by the Taliban.
Benafsha Mohammadi, a student, said: “The Taliban want to take the Kankor exam from the 12th grade [students], we Afghan girls will never want Talibanized education. I am worried about my future and Afghan girls, what will happen under the Taliban regime, and I am not optimistic about the opening of schools and universities.”
The Taliban has banned teenage girls from school for more than a year. In March last year, the Taliban-run Bakhtar news agency quoted the group’s education ministry as saying that female secondary and high schools are closed for girls “until further notice.”
The Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Human Rights Council Richard Bennett, meanwhile, said in his latest report, delivered on Monday, that the Taliban’s treatment towards Afghan women is “horrible” and an example of “gender apartheid.”This comes as the Taliban began the new academic year on Monday, however, no girls were allowed to enter Afghan universities.