Taliban add more compulsory religion classes to universities

August 17, 2022 12:00 am | Updated 05:38 am IST - Kabul

Five more religious subjects to be added to existing eight

Afghan university students will have to attend more compulsory Islamic studies classes, education officials said on Tuesday while giving little sign that secondary schools for girls would reopen.

Many conservative Afghan clerics in the hardline Islamist Taliban, which swept back into power a year ago, are sceptical of modern education.

“We are adding five more religious subjects to the existing eight,” said Abdul Baqi Haqqani, Minister for Higher Education, including Islamic history, politics and governance. The number of compulsory religious classes will increase from one to three a week in government universities.

He told a news conference that the Taliban would not order any subjects to be dropped from the current curriculum. However, some universities have altered studies on music and sculpture while an exodus of Afghanistan’s educated elite, including professors, has seen many subjects discontinued.

Officials have for months insisted that schools will reopen for girls, swaying between technical and financial issues as reasons for the continued closures.

Abdulkhaliq Sadiq, a senior official at the Education Ministry, on Tuesday said families in rural areas were still not convinced of the need to send girls to secondary school.

“We are trying to come up with a sound policy in coordination with our leaders... so that those in rural areas are also convinced,” he said.

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