Ministry: Girls’ schools closed to ‘cultural constraints’

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Noorullah Munir, the acting minister of education, said that all girl’s schools above sixth grade would shortly reopen across the country, but there are cultural sensitivities the ministry is taking into account.

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan does not have any issues (based on Sharia) regarding the education of girls, but the culture of Afghans is such that it has forced us to be fully prepared to start women’s and girls’ schools in such a way that it does not raise protests,” he said.

“The right to education is recognized among the basic rights of all human beings regardless of gender, color, language … This is true in terms of human rights agreements as well as in terms of Islamic Sharia,” said Muhsina Subor, a schoolteacher.

The closing of girls’ schools in the past year has raised national and international concerns.

Girls who have been barred from attending school asked the Islamic Emirate to reopen schools for them as soon as possible. Farkhunda, a student in the 12th grade, said it was painful and demoralizing when schools were closed.

“While I was heading to school, on the way to school, I saw my classmates. They informed me: ‘Farkhunda, schools are closed,’ at that moment I cried a lot and lost my hope,” she said. “It has been over a year since I have attended school; I ask the Islamic Emirate to reopen schools for girls over sixth grade,” said Tamana, a student.

Meanwhile, a Turkish charity foundation (IHH) signed an agreement for the construction of an educational complex worth two million dollars with the Ministry of Education.

The closing of girls’ schools has been a main concern since the Islamic Emirate takeover last August. UN Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown, asked the Islamic Emirate to listen to the people of Afghanistan.

“We will fail Afghanistan if we do not stand up for Afghanistan’s girls now. We call on the Taliban to listen to their own people; to build a bridge with the rest of the world and with all other Muslim countries, who understand that knowledge is at the heart of Islam,” Brown tweeted.

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