The Taliban said men and women should study apart (Picture: AFP)
University has resumed in Afghanistan but gender segregation has been strictly enforced in some classrooms.
The country’s new Taliban rulers said girls will be allowed to go to school as they seek to show they have changed since last in power 20 years ago, when girls were barred from education.
Photos of a class at Avicenna University in Kabul showed men separated by a curtain from women students dressed in long robes and head coverings.
The education rights women are given are likely to be a key indicator of how they will be generally treated with the Islamist militant movement back in charge.
Their treatment could even influence the amount of aid that pours in from Western countries.
When it last ruled from 1996-2001, the Taliban banned almost all education and work for girls.
School attendance began to rise rapidly after the group was ousted, with more than 3.6 million girls enrolled in schools by 2018.
The increase in girls in secondary education was particularly marked, with nearly 40% enrolled in 2018, compared with just 6% in 2003, according to Unicef.
Male and female students at a private university in Kabul are separated by a curtain (Picture: AFP/Getty)
This is what a class looked like at Avicenna University in Afghanistan (Picture: Reuters)
The number going to university, now in the tens of thousands, has also jumped.
Some are studying to become doctors, lawyers, scientists and journalists, and Kabul University has even launched a master’s degree in gender and women’s studies.
University lecturers and students in the cities of Kabul, Kandahar and Herat reported female students being segregated in class, taught separately or restricted to certain parts of the campus as the new academic year began.
The Taliban has said girls can only have female teachers once staffing levels are restored (Picture: AFP/Getty)
Last week, the Taliban said schooling should resume but that males and females should be separated.
A group spokesperson did not comment on the photograph of the segregated class at Avicenna University.
But a senior Taliban official said such dividers were ‘completely acceptable,’ and that Afghanistan had ‘limited resources and manpower, so for now it is best to have the same teacher teaching both sides of a class’.
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