Afghan women and girls increasingly use the internet and online courses as a last hope, but many are frustrated by the poor internet, making learning difficult.
Since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in mid-August 2021, several decrees have been issued as a result; girls and young women were restricted to high schools, barred access to universities, and banned most women from working at non-governmental organizations, citing issues related to Islamic dress.
As a result, many Afghan girls and women are turning to online as the last hope to bypass the current restrictions.
One of the most prominent changes since the Taliban’s first reign from 1966 to 2001 is the rise of internet usage. No one has access to the internet and online classes during their initial rule. However, post 2001, with the new democratic government, internet access has expanded significantly.
Now everyone, including Afghan girls and students, has access to the internet to overcome the barriers imposed by the Taliban administration and to pursue their education and careers.
One such student is Sofia, 22 years old. She uses her home computer in Kabul to sign up for an online English course Rumi Academy offers. Sofia, like many other students, has serious connectivity issues, nevertheless. She frequently questioned whether her teacher could hear her during a recent class when her computer screen froze. Her computer eventually started up again after a while, and the lesson continued.
Despite these challenges, the number of women and girls going online has increased dramatically since the Taliban barred them from schools, universities and work.
However, students still need help, including power cuts, poor internet speed, and the high cost of computers and the internet.
These challenges are severe in a country where 97% of the people live in poverty.
Despite the difficulties, online learning remains a critical lifeline for many Afghan girls and women trying to continue their education amid Taliban restrictions.