99 per cent of Afghans back
reopening of girls’ schools

KABUL (Pajhwok): About 98.8 percent of Afghans support the reopening of schools for girls above sixth grade, finds an online Pajhwok Afghan News survey. Only 1.2 percent of respondents opposed girls’ return to school.
In March, the caretaker government shut all secondary schools for girls — hours after reopening them. The authorities promised to reopen the schools once a plan in this regard was devised. But a year on, the plan is yet to be unveiled.
Earlier, Education Minister Maulvi Noorullah Munir visited Uruzgan province and said residents of remote areas were against girls’ education as they did not want their adult daughters to go to school.
Zabihullah Mujahid, spokesman for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), said on Tuesday night that Maulvi Habibullah Agha, the Kandahar provincial council head, had replaced Education Minister Munir.
A list of changes ordered by Taliban’s supreme leader Haibatullah Akhundzada on Tuesday was released by the IEA spokesman.
Pajhwok conducted an online survey on the issue of reopening girls’ schools from September 18 to 21.
Respondents were asked whether they supported or opposed the reopening of girls’ schools above sixth grade. About 17,502 people participated in the poll.
About 17,288 (98.8 percent) of respondents backed the reopening of girls’ schools while 214 (1.2 percent) opposed calls in this regard.
Conducted online, the survey may not fully meet criteria and standards. It was thrice published on Pajhwok’s Facebook page, with 13,000 people commenting on it.
Abdul Rahim Qayyumi, a Facebook user, wrote: “All of us agree, but who can be convinced into accepting this decision?”
Alam Gul Sahar wrote he agreed with calls for reopening girls’ schools. He remarked: “Is this question important? Look at the 21st century and what are we discussing?”
Saleh Mohammad Saleh asked: “If people did not agree, why did they send their daughters to school to study until six grade or to universities?”
Sayed Bashir Basharmal commented: “The new generation, born in the middle of war, needs food, water and education before anything else. The current government must reopen schools for girls as soon as possible.”
Muzamil Hamidi, said: “What will be the result if we agree… if you really seek the view of a large group of people, then go to Kandahar and talk to Amir-ul-Momineen and convince him into inking a decree to settle the issue.”
Hamidullah Himmat and some others wrote: “Agree but within the framework of Islam.” Sana Mazari said: “We agreed but (girls have to wear) Islamic hijab.”
Sahil noted: “So far, there is no curriculum that is based on Islamic laws. The curriculum prepared by America is being followed. First, an Islamic curriculum must be developed and then Afghanistan’s assets should be released so that teachers could be paid.”
Offering different comments, some respondents wrote: “We agree” but a handful of people are opposed to the reopening of girls’ schools.
According to reports, different quarters within the country, the UN and some other international leaders have urged the reopening of girls’ schools above sixth grade.