Connect with us

International

Education: Afghan Universities Deserted As Taliban Impose New Rules

Published

on

Classroom conditions at Avicenna University in Kabul, Afghanistan
Share

As curtain divides male, female students

classroom conditions at Avicenna University in Kabul, Afghanistan

classroom conditions at Avicenna University in Kabul, Afghanistan

Universities in Kabul were almost empty on the first day of the Afghan school year, as professors and students wrestled with the Taliban’s restrictive new rules for the classroom.

The Taliban have promised a softer rule than during their first stint in power from 1996-2001, when women’s freedoms in Afghanistan were sharply curtailed and they were banned from higher education.

This time, the hardline Islamist group have said women will be allowed to go to private universities under the new regime, but they face tough restrictions on their clothing and movement.

Women can only attend class if they wear an abaya — a flowing robe — and a niqab — a face veil with a small window to see through — and are separated from men, the Taliban said.

“Our students don’t accept this and we will have to close the university,” said Noor Ali Rahmani, the director of Gharjistan University in Kabul, on an almost empty campus on Monday.

“Our students wear the hijab, not the niqab,” he added, referring to a headscarf.

The Taliban education authority issued a lengthy document on Sunday outlining their measures for the classroom, which also ruled that men and women should be segregated — or at least divided by a curtain if there are 15 students or less.

“We said we didn’t accept it because it will be difficult to do,” Rahmani told AFP.

“We also said that it is not real Islam, it is not what the Koran says.”

From now on at private colleges and universities, which have mushroomed since the Taliban’s first rule ended, women must only be taught by other women, or “old men”, and use a women-only entrance.

They must also end their lessons five minutes earlier than men to stop them from mingling outside.

So far, the Taliban has said nothing about public universities.

– ‘Let’s engage’ –

For some students, however, it was a relief that women would still be able to attend university at all under a new Taliban regime.

Zuhra Bahman, who runs a scholarship programme for women in Afghanistan, said on social media she had spoken to some of the students.

“They are happy to go back to university, albeit in hijab,” she said.

“Taliban opening universities for women is a key progress. Let’s continue to engage to agree on other rights and freedoms.”

Jalil Tadjlil, a spokesman for Ibn-e Sina University in the capital, said separate entrances had already been created for men and women.

“We didn’t have the authority to accept or reject the decisions that have been imposed,” he told AFP, blaming the “ongoing uncertainty” for the lack of students.

The university posted a picture online of male and female students separated by a curtain.

Images shared on Facebook by its department of economics and management showed six women wearing the hijab and ten male students with a grey curtain running between them, as a male teacher wrote on a whiteboard.

– ‘Everything changed’ –

Usually, campus corridors on the first day of the term would be packed with students catching up after the summer.

But on Monday, there was a strikingly low turnout at Kabul’s universities, leaving education leaders wondering just how many young, talented people have fled the country as part of the “brain drain”.

Rahmani said only 10 to 20 percent of the 1,000 students who enrolled last year came to Gharjistan University on Monday, although there were no classes scheduled.

He estimated up to 30 percent of the students left Afghanistan after the Taliban seized control in the middle of August.

“We have to see first if students come,” he said.

Reza Ramazan, a computer science teacher at the university said women students were particularly at risk when travelling to campus.

“It can be dangerous at checkpoints,” he said. “The Taliban can check their phones and computers.”

For 28-year-old computer science student Amir Hussein, “everything changed completely” after the Taliban takeover.

“Many students are not interested anymore in studying because they don’t know what their future will be,” he said.

“Most of them want to leave Afghanistan.”

AFP

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

International

UN Secretary-General visits Buhari At State House

Published

on

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio
Share

 

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday paid visit to President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House in Abuja.

He was received by top government officials.

Buhari’s conversation with Guterres centred on the need to ensure peaceful and democratic elections as well as the robust participation of women and young people in all areas.

President Buhari also thanked the UN boss for the visit, stressing that it came at a time when the world is focussing on the Russia/Ukraine crisis. Buhari also believes that the visit underscores the assurance that the world is with Nigeria.

On his part, the UN scribe called for developed nations to ramp up vaccine support to countries in the global north, halt the asymmetrical distribution and reform the global financial system.

Earlier in the day, he visited the UN House in Abuja alongside some top officials and diplomats of the agency.

Guterres is on a two-day official visit to Nigeria – the first of such.

The UN chief had arrived in Nigeria on Tuesday and also visited Borno State where he proposed the reintegration of repentant terrorists. This, he said, is key to the restoration of peace in the North East region.

“The best thing we can do for peace is to reintegrate those, that in a moment of despair, became terrorists but want to become now citizens and to contribute to the well-being of their brothers and sisters,” he told a gathering at an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp.

The UN scribe is also expected to perform the wreath-laying ceremony in honour of the August 26, 2011, suicide bomb attack victims.

Continue Reading

International

Ukraine : UN Agencies Condemn Attacks On Health Care Facilities

Published

on

UN logo
Share

 

UN agencies on Sunday called for an immediate ceasefire and an end to attacks on healthcare professionals and facilities in Ukraine, describing such incidents as acts of “unconscionable cruelty”.

Since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, 31 attacks on health care have been documented via the WHO’s Surveillance System for Attacks on Health Care (SSA), the heads of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN Population Fund and the World Health Organization said in a joint statement.

“To attack the most vulnerable -– babies, children, pregnant women and those already suffering from illness and disease, and health workers risking their own lives to save lives –- is an act of unconscionable cruelty,” they said, calling for an immediate ceasefire.
In 24 of the reported attacks, health care facilities were damaged or destroyed, while in five cases ambulances were hit. A total of 12 people were killed and 34 injured, according to the UN agencies’ statement.

“Humanitarian partners and health care workers must be able to safely maintain and strengthen essential health service delivery, including immunisation against Covid-19 and polio, and the supply of life-saving medicines for civilians across Ukraine as well as to refugees crossing into neighbouring countries,” said the statement, signed by UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell, UNFPA counterpart Natalia Kanem and WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

At least three people were killed, including a young girl, in an attack Wednesday on a children’s hospital in Mariupol in southern Ukraine.

According to the United Nations’ reproductive health agency two other Ukrainian maternity hospitals had already been attacked and destroyed before that strike.

“Attacks on health care and health workers directly impact people’s ability to access essential health services -– especially women, children and other vulnerable groups,” the UN agency chiefs said in their statement on Sunday.

“We have already seen that the health care needs of pregnant women, new mothers, younger children and older people inside Ukraine are rising, while access to services is being severely limited by the violence,” the statement added.

Oxygen and medical supplies, including for the management of pregnancy complications, are running dangerously low, they warned.

“The health care system in Ukraine is clearly under significant strain, and its collapse would be a catastrophe. Every effort must be made to prevent this from happening,” the UN agencies warned.

“We call for an immediate ceasefire, which includes unhindered access so that people in need can access humanitarian assistance. A peaceful resolution to end the war in Ukraine is possible.”

AFP

Continue Reading

International

Yoon Suk-yeol wins South Korea’s presidential election

Published

on

Yoon Suk Yeol
Share

 

Yoon Suk Yeol, a conservative former top prosecutor, has been elected South Korea’s new president, defeating his chief liberal rival in one of the country’s most closely fought presidential elections.

With more than 98 percent of the ballots counted, Yoon had 48.6 percent of the votes against his rival Lee Jae-myung’s 47.8 percent.

Yoon said on Thursday that he would honour the constitution and the parliament and work with opposition parties when he takes office as the country’s next leader, calling the election result a “victory of the great people”.

“Our competition is over for now,” he said in an acceptance speech, thanking and consoling Lee and other rivals.

“We have to join hands and unite into one for the people and the country.”

At a separate ceremony with supporters, Yoon said he would put top priority on “national unity,” adding all people should be treated equally regardless of their regional, political and socioeconomic differences.

“I would pay attention to people’s livelihoods, provide warm welfare services to the needy, and make utmost efforts so that our country serves as a proud, responsible member of the international community and the free world,” he said.

Yoon is to take office in May and serve a single five-year term as leader of the world’s 10th-largest economy.

 

Continue Reading