| 29 May 2024, Wednesday |

Afghan female students not allowed to sit university entrance exam

Underscoring its goal to bar women from postsecondary education, the Taliban-run Ministry of Higher Education in Afghanistan has instructed private universities not to allow female students to sit university admission examinations the next month.

Institutions in Afghanistan’s northern regions, including Kabul, where exams are scheduled to begin at the end of February, received a letter from the government. According to the letter, any institutions breaking the restrictions would be subject to legal action.

The Higher Education Ministry in December told universities not to allow female students “until further notice”. Days later, the administration stopped most female NGO workers from working. Most girls’ high schools have also been closed by authorities.

The restrictions on women’s work and education have drawn condemnation internationally. Western diplomats have signaled the Taliban would need to change course on its policies towards women to have a chance of formal international recognition and an easing of its economic isolation.

The country is in the midst of an economic crisis, partly due to sanctions affecting its banking sector and a cut in development funding, with aid agencies warning tens of millions are in need of urgent aid.

However, a World Bank report this week also said the Taliban administration, which has said it is focused on more economic self-sufficiency, had kept revenue collection strong last year and exports had lifted.

  • Reuters