Afghan girls opt for online classes after ban on female education

ASIA |

With meagre hopes of revival of the female education system in the country, many girls have opted to continue their education through online classes, taken secretly and without the permission or information of the Taliban, a step towards a brighter future, which may have serious life-threatening consequences.

Fatima, a pseudonym used to protect the identity of the female, and some of her friends from Herat province log into their online classes secretly every day amid the ongoing ban.

"If the Taliban get to know that I and some other girls like me are taking online lessons, they might punish me severely. They might even stone me to death," said Fatima.

"There are serious threats to girls like me," she added.

While Fatima's voice had clear signs of concerns and fears, she also had passions of learning in her eyes and strength, confidence and vision in her voice when she said: "I have not lost hope or my aspirations. I am determined to continue studying."

Fatima is among hundreds of others, who are challenging and breaking the rigid rules of the Taliban and opting to take hidden makeshift classes online.

The platform used for online classes for Fatima and others has been created by Code of Inspire (CTI), Afghanistan's first all-female coding academy, which created encrypted virtual classrooms, uploaded course content online, and gave laptops and internet packages to at least 100 of its students.

"You can be locked at home and explore the virtual world without any hesitation, without worrying about geographical boundaries. That's the beauty of technology," said Fereshteh Forough, the CEO and founder of CTI.

Stay-home order

The ground situation for females remains uncertain as the Taliban have allowed boys schools to reopen but told young girls to stay home until conditions permitted their return.

But for young girls like Fatima, history reveals that the Taliban had banned female education in the country during their previous time of ruling about two decades ago, a fact that further diminishes their dreams of education and a better future.

In the recent meeting between the Taliban delegation and the UN, it was stated that a framework was being worked on, aimed at re-structuring the rules and system of Afghanistan, in which, education gains remain among the priority topics.

"The education gains of the past two decades must be strengthened, not rolled back," said Omar Abdi, deputy executive director of the Unicef.

It is pertinent to mention that failure to let girls get educated, comes with a major cost, which includes poverty, child marriages, early childbearing and lack of understanding of basic rights for females along with access to the basic services.

Afghanistan, under the Taliban control, is seeking global recognition.

However, the world community has insisted that no recognition can be facilitated until promises made and efforts of the Taliban in creating an image of a new and transformed setup are met.

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