Girls renew calls for reopening of secondary schools

Girls in Kapisa province, July, 2021. File photo.

With just three days before the start of the new academic year, female students beyond grade six once again urged for the reopening of their schools.

They voiced concerns over being denied education, asserting that access to schooling is a fundamental human right.

Mahtab, a student, expressed her longing to return to school, keeping her uniform ready in the hope that schools will soon reopen.

“It’s been more than two and a half years since I last attended school. With schools reopening on March 22, I hope we, like the boys, will be allowed to attend,” she said. “I wish for us to participate in our educational classes to prevent our futures from worsening. This hopelessness is exhausting. My situation reflects the struggle of all girls denied education.”

Since assuming control of Afghanistan, the Taliban has shuttered all schools for female students above grade six. Sadaf, another student, shared her anticipation for the reopening of schools. “I’ve finished grade six and am set to enter grade seven. Although schools are reopening on March 22, our futures remain uncertain. We don’t know if the Taliban will permit us to attend school. We urge the government to allow us the same opportunities as boys to pursue our studies,” she stated.

The Taliban’s prohibition on girls’ education has drawn widespread criticism both within Afghanistan and internationally. Nearly 1,000 days have passed since female students were barred from attending schools beyond grade six.

The United Nations reports that the Taliban’s restrictions have affected over 2 million female students, depriving them of their right to education.