(CTN NEWS) – According to a spokesman, the Taliban strengthened their prohibition on women attending universities on Saturday by reminding private universities that Afghan women are not permitted to participate in university entrance tests.
The letter was sent despite weeks of worldwide outrage and pressure for a change in laws restricting the rights of women, including two back-to-back trips this month by three top U.N. representatives.
It also raises doubts about promises that the Taliban will soon take action to change its edicts.
Last month, the Taliban forbade women from attending private and public colleges.
Nida Mohammed Nadim, the Taliban-controlled government‘s minister of higher education, has insisted that the restriction is vital to stop the mixing of sexes in colleges and because he thinks some courses being taught go against Islamic values.
He had stated in a TV appearance that efforts were being made to address these problems, and once they did, universities will open to women once more.
The Taliban have given similar assurances regarding girls’ access to middle and high school, stating that these levels of education will resume after “technical concerns” relating to uniforms and transportation have been resolved.
But after the sixth grade, girls are still not allowed in the classroom. aid workers
Ziaullah Hashmi, a spokesman for the Higher Education Ministry, reported on Saturday that private universities had received a letter advising them not to allow women to appear for entrance examinations. He said nothing more in-depth.
The letter cautioned that women could not take the “entrance test for bachelor, master, and doctoral levels” and that any university that did so would face legal repercussions.
A copy of the letter was provided to The Associated Press.
Mohammad Salim Afghan, the government representative managing student matters at for-profit universities, signed the letter.
In certain provinces, entrance tests begin on Sunday; elsewhere in Afghanistan, they start on February 27. Due to seasonal variations, there are distinct term schedules followed by universities throughout Afghanistan.
Private university union spokesman Mohammed Karim Nasari stated that the organisations were concerned and saddened by this most recent development.
“We only held out a glimmer of hope for potential advancement. But regrettably, there has been no indication of improvement since the letter, he told the AP. “The whole sector is struggling.”
He voiced concern that, if education for girls did not resume, there would be so few students that nobody would take entrance tests.
Nasari added that because private colleges are experiencing significant financial losses, they request that the government waive land taxes for institutions built on public property and general taxes on universities.
With almost 200,000 students, Afghanistan has 140 private universities spread across 24 regions.
Approximately 60,000–70,000 of them are women. About 25,000 people work for the universities.
Following a delegation led by the highest-ranking female official in the UN, Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, who visited Afghanistan last week.
U.N. humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths and the heads of two significant international assistance groups did the same this week.
The same goal of each tour was to attempt to undo the Taliban’s oppression of women and girls, including their ban on Afghan women working for domestic and international humanitarian groups.
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