Female students despair over long-closed schools

A class held for girls who are deprived of education. File photo,

Girls from primary schools have expressed frustration over the prolonged closure of their schools, saying they are losing the motivation to survive.

Amidst the Doha meeting, they anticipated the international community would consider measures to compel the Taliban to reopen female schools and universities.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres emphasized the necessity for the Taliban to reverse its decisions that bar girls and women from education and work. He made this statement following a two-day meeting of special envoys on Afghanistan.

Shabana, an 11th-grade student when the Taliban banned girls’ schools after regaining power in August 2021, shared her despair. “Before the Taliban came to power, I was going to school. I had a lot of motivation to bring my dreams to life,” she said. “Now, I don’t have any motivation, even to survive, because the schools have been closed, and life is just meaningless to me.” She called on the UN to address the challenges of closed schools for girls in Afghanistan.

As girls who have been deprived of attending universities voiced their frustration, they hoped the Doha meeting would lead to the reopening of universities. “It has been around a year since I have not gone to university. This caused me depression,” one student noted. “I hope the UN and representatives of women discuss the removal of restrictions on the education of girls.”

According to 2022-2023 data from the Ministry of Education, a state educational entity under Taliban control, over 10.5 million students were registered, including 4 million girls. Following the Taliban’s rise to power in August 2021, over 3.2 million girls have been barred from attending schools above sixth grade.

Lamiya Shirzai, another student, said, “The girls’ students are expecting the Doha meeting to seriously discuss universities and schools for girls. The Taliban should come under serious sanctions if it refuses to accept it.”

It has been over 800 days since girls above sixth grade have been deprived of their education, leaving many coping with mental pressure and facing an uncertain future.