Afghan universities reopen with a ‘curtain of separation’

New Delhi: Private universities resumed functioning in war-torn Afghanistan with the Taliban – which has given assurances of human rights, particularly those concerning women and children – allowing female students to attend classes.

The hardline Islamist group has still, however, imposed restrictions on the clothes they may wear, where and how they are seated in class, who can teach them, and even the length of their classes.

Photographs by the Aamaj News Agency reveal the ‘new normal’ for Afghan college students – divided classrooms, literally and figuratively.

A document issued by the Taliban’s education authority, prior to the resumption of classes, ordered women to wear an abaya robe and niqab (that covers most of the face) and that classes must be segregated by sex – or at least divided by a curtain.

The document also ordered that female students should only be taught by other women. If this is not possible then “old men of good character” can fill in. “Universities are required to recruit female teachers for female students based on their facilities,” the education authority said.

Among other decrees from the Taliban are that men and women must use separate entrances and exits, and female students must leave five minutes earlier to stop men and women from mixing.

Female students must stay in waiting rooms till their male counterparts have left the building.

Image courtesy of (credit: Twitter/Aamaj News)

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