Kabul: The Ministry of Education of Afghanistan, led by the Taliban has said that all secondary schools will resume from Saturday. However, the Taliban’s directive only mentions male students, making no reference to when girls can return to schools. This is contrary to promises made by outfit after assuming power in Kabul last month.Also Read - Black Market Thrives as Foreign Embassies Remain Closed in Taliban-Controlled Kabul

“Hereby, students and teachers of all private and Emirati (governmental) secondary, high schools, and religious schools are asked to return,” Khaama Press quoted the official directive. Also Read - Pak PM Imran Khan Bats for Taliban, Says Incentivise Them on Women's Rights, Inclusive Govt

The Taliban announced an interim government last week, with a slew of promises, assuring not to repeat the policies of the previous Taliban regime (1996-2001). Also Read - Afghanistan Women Football Team Escapes Taliban, Reaches Pakistan: Confirms Information Minister

However, reports coming from the ground say differently. According to media reports, women are being barred from going to work, and scores of them have demonstrated to demand their rights to employment and education.

Experts and members of the international community have raised concerns about the future of female teachers and students. The newly appointed education minister Shaikh Abdulbaqi Haqqani has said that education activities will take place according to Sharia Law.

A week ago, private universities and other higher education institutions were reopened but the classes were divided by gender. Many people have decried this move, which is set to deprive girls of higher education as major universities in the country cannot afford to provide different classes due to a dearth of resources.

UNICEF says Afghan girls must not be excluded from schools

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has welcomed the reopening of schools in Afghanistan but stressed that girls must not be kept away from the classroom.

“We are deeply worried”, UNICEF chief Henrietta Fore said in a statement on Friday, “that many girls may not be allowed back at this time”.

“Even before the most recent humanitarian crisis, 4.2 million children were not enrolled in school. Around 60 per cent of them are girls. Every day that girls miss out on education is a missed opportunity for them, their families and their communities,” she added.

“Girls cannot, and must not, be left behind. It is critical that all girls, including older girls, are able to resume their education without any further delays. For that, we need female teachers to resume teaching,” Fore added.

(With inputs from ANI)