Girls’ schools closed due to ‘cultural constraints’



During his visit to the province of Khost, Noorullah Munir, the acting minister of education, stated that girls’ schools had been shut down due to cultural constraints. He expressed his hope that the Islamic Emirate’s leaders and the elders would agree to reopen girls’ schools.

“People are not sensitive to the education of their girls, but to their girls leaving the house, and the culture of Afghans is quite sensitive in this area. You know better that the Islamic Emirate is attempting to reach an agreement with the people and start this process,” he said.

Munir denies reports that the closure of the girls’ schools was caused by the change in the curriculum. He said that the Afghan curriculum has issues and that there is currently no plan to change it.

“We have never said that we would begin working on the curriculum right away. Bringing changes to the curriculum is the right of every nation, people, and every government,” he stated.

On Sunday, the Deputy Minister of Education said that the delay in reopening girls’ schools was caused by problems in the curriculum for girls.

“Three times work has been done on the available curriculum, still this issue has not been completed. God willing, we are responsible to our people over this issue, whether it is a man or a woman,” said Sayed Ahmad Shahidkhail, deputy of the Ministry of Education.

The Acting Minister of Education admits that more than 5,000 of the 20,000 schools in the country do not have buildings and need reconstruction and renovation.

Facing international and domestic pressure over the closure of girls’ schools above the sixth grade, Ministry of Education officials now say that issues with the girls’ educational curriculum are the cause for the delay in reopening girls’ schools.

The deputy minister said that the decision to close girls’ schools isn’t just related to the Ministry of Education, it’s also linked to the Islamic Emirate’s policy of opening girls’ schools in accordance with Islamic principles.

“In the light of Quran and Sunnah the schools will be reopened. They should give the Islamic Emirate time, they will reopen,” said Saeed Ahmad Shahidkhail, the deputy of the ministry.

He added that they intend to include the studies of ethics, belief, family life, child raising, and husbandry in the curricula for girls, and that one day the schools will reopen for female students free from outside pressure and within the framework of Islamic Sharia.

However, some university professors do not consider the delay in reopening girls’ schools to be in the benefit of the current government.

“It is not in the government’s best interest to deprive a generation of education. We ask the Islamic Emirate to reopen the schools,” said Fardin Ayar, a university lecturer.

“Depriving girls of education has negative consequences in society,” Muhsina, a school teacher, told TOLOnews.

Meanwhile, officials of the Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission announced at a press conference that they have signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Education to simplify work processes and will work on areas to improve services to the public.

“We will work on any education department that … takes a lot of time, consumes a lot of resources, and slows down work processes,” said Baryali Ahmadi, an official of the commission.

It has been almost a year since girls’ schools have remained closed, and it is not clear when they will reopen as no clear answer has been given by the officials of the current government.—Tolonews

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