Higher Education for Afghan Girls- A Chimera

Higher Education for Afghan Girls- A Chimera

Author: Kumar Vaibhav
V Year | Central University of South Bihar, Gaya


Everyone has the right to receive a quality education. Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights also states that everyone has the right to education[2]. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory, technical and professional education should be generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all based on merit.

Education without discrimination is a universal human right. The importance of education becomes more essential to developing countries like Niger, Guinea, South Sudan, Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan. These countries are still developing and therefore, need more literate people to make their countries stable and capable in different criteria.

In some countries, children lack education because of fewer resources from the government. However, in places like Afghanistan, things are different as the recent authority “Taliban” imposed a ban on higher education for Afghan girls[1]. Access to secondary schools is still a chimera for girls in Afghanistan, as schools have opened up only for boys. The ruling authority is stopping only girls from getting an education and that’s why it is more dangerous as they are targeting a particular section and this should not be acceptable.

Higher Education for Afghan Girls and Sharia law:

Before the Taliban’s rule, girls had the right to education and they could study according to their choice. But now the scenario is completely different as the Taliban uses sharia law as an excuse. According to them, higher education for Afghan girls is against sharia or Islamic law. This has turned access to higher education into a chimera for girls in Afghanistan.

However, this contention seems to be irrelevant as other sharia countries like Saudi Arabia allow education to a girl child. Also, they are opening doors for girls in universities that were especially regulated for boys to impart discrimination-free education. Advancements in girls’ education in Saudi Arabia have indeed empowered women to pursue their potential[3].

Beyond secondary school, many Saudi women earn advanced degrees. Statistics from 2015 show that women account for 51.8% of students at Saudi Universities. Around 551,000 women are studying in undergraduate programs, with 24,498 in graduate programs and 1,744 pursuing PhDs. An additional 35,537 study abroad in 57 countries[4].

Deploration of Higher Education for Afghan Girls:

The main issue with the Taliban is that they don’t want to provide an education to girls and the reason is their conservative mentality. They have categorically denied access to higher education for Afghan girls. This has nothing to do with sharia or Islamic law.

Today we can see many countries along with different international organizations criticizing the Taliban government but the Taliban is listening to no one. Due to this, only girls who once had a dream to get an education are suffering.

Impact of Denying Access to Higher Education for Afghan Girls:

Access to education opens the door for the all-round development of any society. It serves as a tool to upgrade the status of human life and the standard of the nation. It also helps in curbing the menace of gender discrimination.

Importance of Education:

Education is the sole weapon, especially for girls in a country like Afghanistan which is deprived of opportunities. It serves as a tool by which they can do better and improve their condition. This ban on education may further degrade their situation. A country cannot become prosperous without promoting girls. There are many countries where women are doing tremendous work and contributing to their country’s welfare and economy. European countries and New Zealand are the best examples where the head of the country is a woman[5].

Impact of Denial:

Prohibiting girls from receiving an education is not a new thing in Afghanistant, but the way the Taliban did it is different and scarier. Afghanistan’s education system has been devastated by more than three decades of sustained conflict. The socio-political and humanitarian crises that Afghanistan faces critically affect a fragile education system. Natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, and landslides exacerbate the situation for all children[6].

These factors raise parental safety concerns and can prevent them from sending their children to school. That’s why in a report of UNICEF it was found that an estimated 3.7 million children are out-of-school in Afghanistan – 60% of them are girls.[7]

Economic Repercussions of Denying Access to Higher Education:

A country’s economy will prosper only if the whole population will come together after breaking the barrier of gender discrimination.  Restricting girls’ access to school is already causing harm.

With young girls blocked from continuing their education, many families are already marrying off teenagers to shift their support to husbands[8]. If the ban on girls’ high school education becomes permanent, it would eventually exclude women from all sectors of society under the cover of religion[9].


The international community should pressurize the Taliban regarding all these important issues and counter such acts by not giving recognition to their government.

For sustaining any government and working well, funding is required.  Thus all different countries should stop funding and break bilateral and multilateral relations with Taliban.

UN bodies, such as UNICEF and UNESCO must engage in dialogue with the Taliban authorities and ensure Muslim scholars from Afghanistan and other countries are present in the dialogues to make the Taliban understand the importance of girls’ education in Islam.


Till now Afghanistan has witnessed many miserable things because of which the whole country suffered, especially the children. Ban on girls’ education is a devastating thing. It will completely break the dream of thousands of girl children. It is a violation of human rights. It is the duty of different international organizations and developed nations to take appropriate measures. The international community should come together to support girl children who are unable to get an education otherwise it will be a defeat for the civilized world.

[1] Taliban ban girls from secondary education in Afghanistan, The Guardian (Aug 21, 2022, 10:31 AM), https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/sep/17/taliban-ban-girls-from-secondary-education-in-afghanistan

[2] UDHR. art. 26,  https://www.un.org/en/about-us/universal-declaration-of-human

[3] Madeline Forwerck, NEW STRIDES IN GIRLS’ EDUCATION IN SAUDI ARABIA, THE BORGEN PROJECT (Aug 20, 2022, 05:45 PM),  https://borgenproject.org/girls-education-in-saudi-arabia/

[4] Id.

[5] Women in politics in New Zealand: here’s what they are doing right, Inter-Parliamentary (Aug 18, 2022, 01:24 AM), Unionhttps://www.ipu.org/news/case-studies/2021-03/women-in-politics-in-new-zealand-heres-what-they-are-doing-right

[6] Education Providing quality education for all, UNICEF AFGANISTAN FOR EVERY CHILD (AUG 19, 2022, 02:42 Am), https://www.unicef.org/afghanistan/education

[7] Id.

[8] Robyn Huang, ‘I’ll be sacrificed’: The lost and sold daughters of Afghanistan, Aljazeera (Aug 21, 2022, 02:53 PM), https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2022/8/14/ill-be-sacrificed-the-lost-and-sold-daughters-of-afghanistan

[9] Belquis Ahmadi;  Asma Ebadi, Taliban’s Ban on Girls’ Education in Afghanistan, The United States Institute of Peace( Aug 21, 2022, 01:53 AM),  https://www.usip.org/publications/2022/04/talibans-ban-girls-education-afghanistan

Editor: Ashish Ranjan

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