Taliban add more compulsory religion courses to Afghan universities

Afghan university students will have to attend more compulsory Islamic studies classes, education officials said on Tuesday while giving few signs of the reopening of secondary schools for girls.

Many hard-line conservative Afghan clerics from the Islamist Taliban, who returned to power a year ago, are skeptical of modern education.

“We are adding five more religious subjects to the existing eight,” said Abdul Baqi Haqqani, minister of higher education, including Islamic history, politics and governance.

The number of compulsory religion classes will increase from one to three per week in public universities.

He told a press conference that the Taliban would not order the removal of any subject from the current curriculum. However, some universities have altered music and sculpture studies – highly sensitive issues under the Taliban’s harsh interpretation of Sharia – while an exodus of Afghanistan’s educated elite, including professors, has seen many abandoned subjects.

Officials have insisted for months that schools reopen for girls, oscillating between technical and financial issues as reasons for continued closures.
Abdulkhaliq Sadiq, a senior education ministry official, said on Tuesday that families in rural areas were still unconvinced of the need to send girls to secondary school.

Under the last Taliban regime, between 1996 and 2001, primary and secondary schools for girls never reopened. “We are trying to come up with a strong policy in coordination with our leaders… so that those in rural areas are also convinced,” he said.

Since taking power on August 15 last year, the Taliban have imposed severe restrictions on girls and women to conform to their austere vision of Islam, excluding them from life. public.

Although young women are still allowed to attend university, many have dropped out because of the cost or because their families fear they will be in public in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, without a high school certificate, teenage girls will not be able to take future university entrance exams. The international community has made the right to education an essential condition for the formal recognition of the Taliban government. Although he has been in power for a year, no country has so far recognized the government.

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