Girls from sixth grade express concerns over ‘uncertain future’

As the school year nears its end, sixth-grade girls said they are worried about their educational prospects for the upcoming year. Some students in Badakhshan have resorted to intentionally failing in order to extend their time in school for at least another year, defying the Taliban’s decision to close secondary schools for girls.

For these girls, continuing their education remains a priority, prompting them to view repeating the sixth grade as a means to overcome the barriers imposed by the Taliban. They are keenly aware of the restrictions placed on students beyond their current grade level.

While attending school brings them joy, they understand that their access to education is not guaranteed indefinitely.

Najla, a 13-year-old student in the sixth grade, expressed concern about her future, fearing she may not be permitted to attend school in the coming year.

“I’m worried about not being allowed to continue my education next year, so I have made the decision to intentionally fail and repeat the sixth grade,” shared Najla.

The unwavering determination to pursue education is evident among these students, as they strive to overcome the educational obstacles in Afghanistan. Yalda, another student, confided that the thought of not being able to attend school haunts her.

“When I return home from school, the number of days left to attend school decreases, and it deeply worries me,” reveals Yalda.

Having been deprived of education for nearly two years, female students said they also grapple with mental health issues and express concern for their younger sisters currently in the sixth grade – the last year for primary schools in the country.

Khadija, a resident of Badakhshan, shared her sadness, saying, “It pains me to witness my sister’s situation. She is a sixth-grade student filled with countless aspirations, but she fears that she won’t be able to continue her education next year.”

Afghanistan remains the only country where girls are systematically denied access to education.

Shamayil, a student from Badakhshan, said, “I eagerly attend school, but I fear that my education will abruptly end after the sixth grade.”

It has been 661 days since the closure of secondary schools for girls, triggering widespread domestic and international condemnation. Even religious scholars have criticized the Taliban’s decision, deeming it contradictory to the teachings of Islam. However, the Taliban leadership remains steadfast in their stance, shattering the dreams of over one million girls in Afghanistan who yearn for a brighter future.