Afghanistan

Taliban Ban Women’s Pursuit of University Courses

As Taliban regulations continue to cripple the rights of women in Afghanistan under their regime, it continues to oppress, with their gender-bias policies implemented not just in the central city but in other provinces in Afghanistan. With this year’s national university entrance exam, the Taliban further restricted girls’ education in Afghanistan by forbidding them from selecting certain courses.

According to information obtained by the VOA Afghanistan Service, female students were not given the option to select civil engineering, journalism, veterinary medicine, agriculture, or geology on the exam paper provided to them. This forbiddance simply means that these women in Afghanistan are losing fundamental rights. Even so, aside from this ban, under the Taliban regime: girls are prevented from attending school, obligations are imposed to wear the Burqa, long-distance traveling has been banned, and access to public facilities has been curtailed.

Haseena Ahmadi, 19, who took the university entrance exam this year in the western Herat province, said, “I wanted to pursue journalism and looked to pick it, but it was not a possibility.”

On the latter, some female students were permitted to return to institutions and finish their studies in gender-segregated classes even though the Taliban, who took control of the nation last year, outlawed girls’ secondary education there. But this ban on other courses only dismantled these women’s dreams of pursuing higher education.

According to the BBC, there are differences between universities and regions of the country in the options available to female students. In some provinces, women are permitted to pursue careers in teaching, nursing, and Islamic studies.

But options for women to pursue a degree in journalism are exceedingly scarce, while fields like veterinary science, engineering, economics, and agriculture seem to be off-limits to them nationwide. 100,000 students, including 30,000 women, are anticipated to take university entrance examinations in Afghanistan this year, according to officials.

The beginning of the academic year is either in March or August, and it often takes two to three months for the results of the entrance exams to be released. No one is certain when the results will be announced now that the Taliban are back at the helm.

According to Taliban regulations, male and female students have been taking tests separately. For example, male students have been taking exams in the morning while female students have been taking exams in the afternoon. Entrance tests were held over two or three days in some provinces where there were a lot of applicants.

“I have no option,” says Fatima, one of the entrance exam takers this year, but she hasn’t yet given up on her ambition. “I can only study what they offer me, and I will choose journalism if the government alters its policy the following year.” But if that doesn’t happen, she and other females like her will be forced to continue their education by studying whatever the Taliban allows.

On the other hand, even that option to study might not be available in the future for the tens of thousands of young girls who are currently being denied secondary education by Taliban regulations.

Kristian Rivera, Counter-Terrorism Research Fellow.

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