Sept 6 – College students across Afghanistan have commenced returning to university for the 1st time because the Taliban stormed to electrical power and in some scenarios women have been separated from their male peers by curtains or boards down the center of the classroom.

What transpires in universities and universities across the country is remaining intently viewed by overseas powers, who want the Islamist militant movement to respect the legal rights of women in return for very important assist and diplomatic engagement.

When it last ruled from 1996-2001, the group banned ladies from college and women from college and work.

Even with assurances in modern months that women’s legal rights would be honored in accordance with Islamic law, it is unclear what that will mean in follow.

Instructors and pupils at universities in Afghanistan’s largest towns – Kabul, Kandahar and Herat – instructed Reuters that female students were being being segregated in class, taught individually or restricted to sure areas of the campus.

“Putting up curtains is not suitable,” Anjila, a 21-12 months-previous student at Kabul College who returned to obtain her classroom partitioned, advised Reuters by telephone.

“I definitely felt awful when I entered the course … We are little by little likely again to 20 years in the past.”

Even just before the Taliban took around Afghanistan, Anjila claimed woman students sat separately from males. But lecture rooms had been not bodily divided.

A doc outlining tips for resuming class circulated by an association of non-public universities in Afghanistan listed steps these kinds of as the mandatory putting on of hijabs and different entrances for female students.

It also reported female instructors really should be hired to train woman college students and that women should really be taught independently or, in more compact courses, segregated by a curtain.

It was unclear if the doc, witnessed by Reuters, represented formal Taliban plan. The group’s spokesperson did not right away comment on the doc, on pictures of divided lecture rooms or on how universities would be run.

The Taliban reported last week that education should resume but that males and females must be divided.

A senior Taliban formal told Reuters that classroom dividers this kind of as curtains were “completely acceptable” and that offered Afghanistan’s “limited resources and manpower” it was finest to “have the identical teacher instructing each sides of a course.”

“Keep studying”

Photos shared by Avicenna University in Kabul and widely circulated on social media, clearly show a grey curtain managing down the heart of the classroom, with woman college students donning extended robes and head coverings but their faces visible.

A number of lecturers said there was uncertainty around what regulations would be imposed under the Taliban, who have however to form a government additional than 3 months right after they seized Kabul with hardly a shot fired in anger.

Their return to electricity has alarmed some gals, who dread they will eliminate the legal rights they fought for in the final two decades, in the face of resistance from quite a few households and officers in the deeply conservative Muslim region.

A journalism professor at Herat University in the west of the place informed Reuters he decided to break up his a person-hour class into two halves, to start with teaching women and then males.

Of 120 pupils enrolled for his study course, considerably less than a quarter showed up at college on Monday. A selection of pupils and academics have fled the state,and the fate of the country’s flourishing personal media sector has all of a sudden been thrown into question.

“Students had been very nervous right now,” he claimed. “I instructed them to just hold coming and preserve researching and in the coming days the new authorities will established the principles.”

Sher Azam, a 37-calendar year-outdated teacher at a personal university in Kabul, stated his institute had specified instructors the possibility of keeping individual courses for gentlemen and gals or partitioning school rooms with curtains and boards.

But he was concerned about how several college students would occur again, provided the economic disaster the Taliban’s victory has brought on.

“I really don’t know how quite a few pupils will return to school since there are economic difficulties and some learners are coming from families who have lost their jobs”.