Confusion prevails in Afghanistan after Taliban ordered school girls, who have been kept out of power for several months, were suddenly asked to take graduation exams.
It is still not clear how many teenage girls would be able to take the exam. (Photo: AFP)
By India Today Web Desk: Taliban Ministry of Education has allowed girls to take their high school graduation exam this week even though they have been kept out of classrooms since last year. Chaos and confusion prevailed as school girls, banned from attending classes, were suddenly asked to take their tests.
The decision applies to 31 out of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces where the winter school break starts in late December, AP reported.
According to The Independent, girl students of a school in Kabul were asked to take their graduation exams on Wednesday, months after Taliban closed school gates on them and their futures when they took over the reins of the country.
“These girls have been fighting for months to attend school and this is a moment of shock even for them,” a school official was quoted as saying by The Independent.
It is still not clear how many teenage girls would be able to take the exam.
The three provinces — Kandahar, Helmand and Nimroz — where this decision does not apply have a different timetable for the school year and high school graduation exams typically take place there later.
“This is ridiculous. We spent a whole year under tension and stress and haven’t read a single page of our textbooks,” 18-yer-old Najela was quoted as saying by the AP.
Taliban overran Afghanistan in August 2021 as US and Nato forces were in the final weeks of their pullout from the country after 20 years of war. Despite initially promising more moderate rule and women’s and minority rights, they have restricted rights and freedoms and widely implemented their harsh interpretation of Islamic law or Sharia.
They have banned girls from middle school and high school, restricted women from most employment, and ordered them to wear head-to-toe clothing in public. Women are also banned from parks, gyms, and funfairs.
Women have not been denied access from universities under the Taliban and the implication of the latest development is that Afghan girls who obtain a high school diploma after Wednesday’s exam would be able to apply for universities.
Girls who cannot attend or who fail Wednesday’s exam would be allowed to retake the test in mid-March, after the winter vacation. The Taliban treatment of women and girls in Afghanistan has come under heavy criticism. Earlier this month, a team of UN experts said it may amount to a crime against humanity and should be investigated and prosecuted under international law, an allegation rejected by Taliban.