The Taliban have closed universities since taking power. They went on to allow private universities to open, but despite the opening of these universities, the weak economy of the people has caused most students to refuse to study at private universities, at least for now. However, public university students are still in a quandary. They do not know how long they will wait for the opening of their educational institutions. Interruptions and closures have caused most of these students to become discouraged from continuing their studies.
Taliban officials initially announced that they were working to open educational institutions that would comply with the laws they had set. It has been more than two months since the declarations were made, but no action has been taken yet. Even university professors are not given clear instructions on whether or not to receive their salaries. Universities are now closed for nearly three months and may take several months. The reopening of private universities and the closure of public universities clearly show that there are economic reasons.
Due to the current situation, it is not possible to reopen public universities. On the one hand, the winter is approaching, and on the other hand, the Taliban do not have the budget to pay the teachers, let alone to heat the classrooms for the students. Realizing this, most students have gone to work in other parts of the country and even in neighboring countries. They are waiting for the assignment of public universities to be determined next spring and then return to continue their studies. Meanwhile, university professors are in complete uncertainty and do not know how to make a living.
In addition to public universities, girls’ schools face a similar situation. In some provinces, these schools have reopened, but in most provinces, girls have still been denied from school. The Taliban have not yet commented on their plans to reopen girls’ schools. They did not even share their views on girls’ education levels to inform people about the possibility of schools opening or not. In the coming winter, it is also impossible to reopen schools in cold provinces.
The delay in reopening government universities and girls’ schools and the uncertainty of their future show that Taliban officials are not honest with the people. If the Taliban’s goal in delaying the start of classes is next spring, they should make it clear to the public so that students can escape uncertainty. Keeping students’ situations vague makes them unplanned. It is clear that the Taliban do not have the economic ability to heat university and school classrooms in the coming winter, but they should not make the fate and future of millions of students worse. They should appear in front of the media cameras as responsible people and explain to the people so that the duties of students, university professors, and teachers become clear.
The policy of ambiguity pursued by the Taliban-led government in education adds to the people’s distrust. This ambiguity eventually makes more students think about dropping out. Even now, most students have concluded that it is unreasonable to continue their studies in Afghanistan in the current situation, trying to use every possible means to leave the country. University professors are in a similar situation and do not know what the future holds.
The situation requires the authorities to understand the facts and to tell the truth to the people without compromise. If they are unable to pay the salaries of university professors and girls’ school teachers, they will have to admit this inability to seek help from aid groups. The deliberate delay in reopening government universities and girls’ schools distracts people from studying in Afghanistan. Maintaining ambiguity in cases where the fate of millions of people depends can have dire consequences.