CAPTION ADDITION – updated information – Girls arrive at their school in Kabul on March 23, 2022. – The Taliban ordered girls’ secondary schools in Afghanistan to shut on March 23 just hours after they reopened, an official confirmed, sparking confusion and heartbreak over the policy reversal by the hardline Islamist group. (Photo by Ahmad SAHEL ARMAN / AFP) / CAPTION ADDITION (Photo by AHMAD SAHEL ARMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Kabul, Afghanistan – While the door for girls’ high school is kept shut since March, the Afghan Deputy Minister of Education Sheikh Ahmad Shahidkhail calls learning a “vital need for humanity”.

Speaking at a gathering in Kabul Tuesday, Shahidkhail said access to education is essential for the development of society, exclaiming everyone, including “men, women, children and elderly”, should benefit from such a basic right.

He made the remarks at a gathering held by the Asia International Development Research and Study Center to evaluate the ongoing status of Afghanistan’s education and poverty level across the country.

“Education is a vital need for humanity,” Shahidkhail said, as TOLOnews quoted. Every living individual in a society, including “men, women, children and elderly”, should have access to such a basic right.

Criticizing the former government, the officials of the Ministry of Education said funding projects were embezzled during previous leadership, affecting the overall performances of the ministry.

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“This project was brought to the Ministry of Higher Education based on a decree of the former president but it was used for military purposes and this caused all the projects for infrastructure to be halted,” said Lutfullah Khairkhwah, deputy Minister of Higher Education.

Although, the so-called Islamic Emirate government and respective department officials repeatedly gave hope on education in Afghanistan, the high schools for girls remain suspended despite a widespread objection by world leaders and international allies.

Education Under the Taliban Rule in Afghanistan

In August 15, 2021 the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, rolling back the foremost achievements of the post-2001 reconstruction efforts on overall growth of the country, including the education sectors.

In March 2021, the Islamic Emirate on a formal decree banned female students of grade six and above from attending classes in schools across the country. 

“On 2 of Hamal [March 23], we were ordered by the office of the Islamic Emirate’s leadership to suspend the girls’ classes from grade 7-12 for a temporary period of time and until a general decision is made. As long as I know, efforts are underway in this regard,” Riyan said.  

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education (MoE) expressed preparedness to comply with the final decision made under the current leadership should they announce reopening of secondary and high school for girls.

“This is in the authority of the Islamic Emirate’s leadership. The Ministry of Education has made preparations—whenever the leadership of the Islamic Emirate orders, the schools for female students from grade 7-12 will be reopened,” said Aziz Ahmad Riyan, a spokesman of the MoE, as TOLOnews quoted.

Despite pressures by the international community to reopen girls’ schools, female students ranging from secondary to high schools are yet to be allowed to attend classes.  

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