Taliban announces new segregation policy for female students

The Taliban announced on Sunday that women will be allowed to attend school under the conditions of gender segregation and a new Islamic dress code.

Higher Education Minister Abdul Baqi Haqqani indicated women would be allowed to study, but not alongside men.

He also announced a review of subjects taught.

The policy marks a significant change from the accepted practice before the Taliban takeover. Universities were co-educational, with men and women studying side by side, and female students did not have to abide by a dress code.

The new conditions comes less than a week of school resumption under the new Taliban rule, when women already had to be taught in classrooms divided curtains.

Women and girls were banned from schools and universities under Taliban rule between 1996 and 2001.

When the Taliban took over U.S assisted Afghan government on August 15, the group reassured the international community that they would not prevent women from having a job and being educated.

Haqqani was unapologetic though about bringing gender segregation to the system, “we have no problems in ending the mixed-education system,” he said,  “the people are Muslims and they will accept it,” the BBC reported.

Despite this, all Afghan women, except in the public health have been instructed to stay home until the security situation improves.

Sunday’s announcement of the higher education policy comes a day after the Taliban raised their flag over the presidential palace, signalling the beginning of their administration. They seized control from the elected government a month ago.

Some have suggested that the new rules will exclude women from education because the universities do not have the resources to provide separate classes.

However, Mr Haqqani insisted there are enough female teachers and that where they are not available alternatives will be found. He suggested that male lecturers could also teach from behind a curtain or technology use could be adopted.

Girls and boys will also be segregated at primary and secondary schools, which was already common throughout Afghanistan.

Women will be required to wear hijabs, however Mr Haqqani did not specify if additional face coverings would be made compulsory.

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