Taliban revises school curriculum, omitting five subjects

Taliban has excluded several subjects from the school curriculum, including formal art, civil education, culture, and patriotism. Teachers, who requested anonymity, informed Amu that the curriculum for this academic year, particularly for grades 7-12, has seen significant changes.

Previously, formal art was taught from grades 1 to 9, encompassing art skills, sculpture, and painting. Now, this subject, along with civil education — which covered human rights, democracy, citizenship rights, the constitution, civil liberties, and elections — has been removed from the syllabus.

Moreover, the culture subject, which allowed students to explore Afghanistan’s customs and traditions, and patriotism, emphasizing the country’s freedom, historical, national, political, scientific, literary, and cultural aspects, have been eliminated from the curriculum designed by the Taliban.

Additionally, life skills education, which was imparted to students in grades 1-3 to help them navigate societal interactions, eating habits, self-confidence, and decision-making, is no longer being taught.

Instead, teachers and students have noted a shift toward increased religious sciences and Quranic studies in place of the removed subjects. While subjects such as English and modern sciences remain part of the curriculum, the teaching hours for religious studies have expanded.

The subjects removed by the Taliban were initially incorporated into the curriculum during the republic’s era. Education advocates argue that these changes pose serious challenges to Afghanistan’s educational system, as the prior curriculum was designed to meet students’ needs.

“Eliminating subjects based on a narrow-minded perspective not only fails to enhance the curriculum but also introduces serious challenges within it,” stated Basir Ahmad Danishyar, an educational activist. “Hence, we hope that Afghanistan’s teaching and learning curriculum will be addressed responsibly, and that these decisions will be revisited, considering the previous curriculum’s effectiveness.”

Mujtaba, a student, shared his experience: “In previous years, we had two hours of Quranic study and three hours of Islamic subjects each week. This year, they’ve removed three of our subjects: civic education, art, and patriotism. Now, Quranic study takes up four hours each week, and our Islamic subjects are also taught for four hours.”

In addition to curriculum modifications, the Taliban continues to bar female students above grade six from attending school for the third consecutive year.