FILE: Kabul university students

KABUL, Afghanistan – The Acting Minister of Higher Education (MoHE) Abdul Baqi Haqqani at a press conference Tuesday they have changed university curriculum, criticizing the previous one formed by the former government. 

Earlier this month, the Islamic Emirate leadership announced its leadership has created a “directorate of academic curriculum” within the Afghan Ministry of Higher Education, which will facilitate Islamic law within the educational system.

“The education curriculum which we had in the past was weak. It was not made in a format to compete with the world,” the acting Minister of MoHE told reporters at the press conference held to provide the annual report of the ministry’s activities, as TOLOnews reported.

According to Haqqani, the new curriculum increased certain subjects’ duration from one hour to three hours, including Saqafat subject that is an Islamic religious book.

He called for the international community to support Afghanistan in its education system, exclaiming it is their duty.

“This is the duty of the international community. When it doesn’t provide aid in several areas for Afghanistan, it must provide aid for education and higher education,” he said, as quoted by local media.

Meanwhile, MoHE officials said the number of applicants for university entrance exam have increased, encouraging fresh graduates to apply for different scholarship programs to study abroad.

“Last time 200,000 participated in the university entrance examination. This time the number of participants surged. The examination would be held at the end of Sunbola (Afghan calendar),” said Ahmad Taqa, a spokesman for the MoHE. 

“Two women and 21 men have traveled to India, Turkey and Kazakhstan to get master’s degrees,” said Irfanullah, chief of staff of the MoHE. 

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Earlier, the Islamic Emirate leadership has created a “directorate of academic curriculum” within the Afghan Ministry of Higher Education amid pressures by the global leaders, including international community, on Taliban to resume girls’ education.

Previously, under the direction of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Afghan university officials would revise the curriculum of local institutions.

Ahmad Taqi, a spokesman for the Ministry of Higher Education, said the directorate is aimed at reviewing and developing the academic curriculum of all universities across Afghanistan in light with the Islamic laws. The office will have six directors and fifty-two employees.

“We created commissions to review the curriculum, invited representatives and experts from public and private universities from all over the country, held several meetings and reconsidered the curriculum,” Taqi said, as TOLOnews quoted.

Addressing the new curriculum, university lecturers said the new directorate should develop a curriculum that would separate the academic aspect from the political and other related matters.

“It should be underlined that this development should be done based on scientific criteria and free from political factors,” said Abdul Hadi Wazeen, university lecturer.

Meanwhile, a number of students expressed a mixed reaction, urging the Ministry of Higher Education to provide credit for their practical subjects in addition to religious subjects at universities.

“As law students, we should be studying subjects relating to the law, but that isn’t the case here,” said Mursal, a student. “They provide us four credits in Islamic subjects and teach us Tajweed.”

“The previous curriculum was also an Islamic curriculum, which we are also completely satisfied with, and the topic of Islamic studies has been in all of our four semesters,” said Miraj, another student.

This came at a time girls schools from grade six and above remain suspended since March this year, as the Islamic Emirate announced its leadership are developing a new educational system that is in accordance with the Islamic law.

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