Afghanistan: Schools start without classes as students remain unaware, girls barred
The schools reopened in Afghanistan on Tuesday for the new academic year but classes were not held because students were unaware and thousands of girls were not allowed to enter. Afghanistan is the sole country where girls have been barred from attending secondary school and university.
No public announcement regarding the reopening of schools was made by the education ministry, parents and teachers said to CBS News, and since the date was marked as the beginning of the new year under the Persian tradition of Nowruz, many people assumed that the public holiday was still going on.
As per reports, the official celebrations of the holiday were stopped by the Taliban but the families of students were not notified about starting of classes in schools.
"A letter issued by the minister of education was given to us by our principal to reopen the school today, but since no public announcement was made, no students came," stated Mohammad Osman Atayi, who works as a teacher at the Saidal Naseri Boys High School in Kabul.
"We did not send children to school in Kabul today because it's the new year holiday," said Ranna Afzali, a TV journalist who lost her job after the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan. "In the past, the new year used to be a public holiday all over Afghanistan, but the Taliban terminated the holiday, so the schools were open but attendance was almost nil," Afzali added.
Schools were also re-opened in other provinces including Ghazni, Badakhshan Kunduz and Herat but no classes were held there either, AFP reported.
Meanwhile, thousands of teenage girls remained barred from entering secondary school.
"The Taliban have snatched everything away from us," said Sadaf Haidari, a 15-year-old resident of Kabul. "I am depressed and broken," she added.
The government imposed a ban on female students attending schools in March last year, hours after the schools were reopened for both girls and boys by the education ministry.