Taliban hands out university entrance exam forms to female students

File Photo.

The Taliban has distributed university entrance examination forms in a number of provinces for girls who have graduated from 12th grade at school – in a move which some say is an attempt to draw the attention of Doha meeting participants.

In Kabul, a number of female students said they went to their schools on Monday to get the university entrance exam forms.

“We have come to our school today to fill out the form. I want universities to be reopened. Last year, the exams were held but universities were closed for women and they could not continue their education,” said Yalda Jasoor, a high school graduate from Kabul.

“I filled out the form today. I had a good feeling today. I was happy. I hope I can succeed in the exam,” said Hasiba, a student.

Taliban announced in December 2022 the closure of universities for women. Meanwhile, secondary schools for girls have now been closed for over 20 months.

But some women said the move by the Taliban is aimed at getting the attention of participants at the Doha meeting which is being held on Monday and Tuesday to discuss the Afghanistan situation.

“If they were willing to reopen schools and universities, they would have reopened (girls’) schools two years ago and universities at the beginning of the (solar) year but now that the year is nearing an end, they have started distributing the forms. It is because they are trying to get some attention at the Doha meeting,” said Asma, a Kabul resident.

Taliban’s education directorate in Nangarhar said that girls who have graduated from 12th grade in the current solar year will be allowed to write the university entrance exam.

“Girls from schools in cold climate provinces attended the 12th grade exam a few months back and based on the order of the education ministry, they graduated from high school. This year, they were provided with university exam forms,” said Farhad Stanekzai, Taliban’s spokesman for Nangarhar education directorate.

“Those girls who have not attended previous university entrance exams, can get the form even if they are in warm climate provinces,” he said.

Sources in Kandahar, Helmand, Takhar, Badakhshan, Kunduz and Parwan said that Taliban has “suddenly” informed the relevant departments to allow female high school graduate students to obtain the form.

The Taliban’s decision to ban women from universities and girls from getting an education has been met by harsh criticism from the international community, but the leadership of the Taliban has not revised its decision on the matter.