Empty University Classes in the Western Provinces of Afghanistan

Many professors and students in the western cities told 8 Subh that students at private institutions in the west of the country have quit schools. Students apparently decided not to continue their education after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan. Many of these students have given up their education due to the harsh conditions imposed by the Taliban.

Students who have just quit schools say that they are no longer motivated to continue their education. Some students also consider financial problems as the reason for their motives. Some emphasize that because of the recent developments in the country, their sources of income have been cut off and they cannot pay for their education.

Civil rights activists and university professors in the five western provinces believe that the new situation, also rising unemployment have led to large numbers of male and female students giving up on their educations.

Some private institutions in the western provinces have reported that more than half of the students have given up their studies, calling the trend frustrating. According to private educational institutions in Herat, more than 70 percent of students at some private universities have left. University professors in Herat emphasize that restricting laws for female students and rising poverty in the families have forced many to quit universities.

Unofficial records show that more than 70% students have already given up their educations. Sources in Herat province, who want to remain anonymous, told 8 Subh that there can possibly be many reasons. These include the outbreak of the coronavirus, socio-political developments, and an uncertain future.

According to a source, who is one of the senior officials in educational institutions in Herat, after the reopening of private universities in the province, less than 30% of students attended their classes.

Civil rights activists in five western provinces are still concerned that more students will gave up, saying it is disastrous for the future of the nation. Basira Taheri, a civil activist in Herat province, told 8 Subh that many students, especially girls, have dropped out of school and are no longer interested to pursue their education. According to her, in one of the private universities where 19 girls were studying in the same class, only one of those girls was present in the class for a few days. She says that she also left her class witnessing that 18 of her other girls’ classmates do not attend the class.

Some students in Herat province emphasize that they have no motivation to continue their education and see a dark and uncertain future. Ms. Eqbali, a student who has just given up her education, told 8 Subh that she left school because her girls’ classmates had already given up their education.

Ms. Eqbali was studying Dental Prosthesis, in which she had fifteen girls’ classmates and four boys. Now, the class is empty of girls.

Arezoo Gholami is another student from Herat province, who is in a state of uncertainty due to the ambiguous situation in the country. She is still wondering whether to stay or leave the country. She is worried about her future. Ms. Gholami is a student of economics. she hoped to start her own business and stand on her feet after receiving her bachelor’s degree. Now, due to the current crisis, she had lost her motivation, she is frustrated and see a blurry, uncertain, and dark future. Eleven of her classmates – five girls and six boys – have left university and now she studies in a gender-segregated classroom with only eight of her classmates.

Many civil society activists in Nimroz province also say that many students fled to Iran on the first days of the fall of the province.

Many students at private universities in Farah have also given up their education and are trying to find out ways to continue their education. Ms. Shogufa Nasri, a law student in Farah province, told 8 Subh that she had recently left school and her family had moved to another province to make a better living. She hopes to be able to study in the new province, but worries about a future in which there is still no hope for women’s participations.

Officials in Badghis province also report some students giving up education in this province. They emphasize that a large number of students have been forced to leave school due to restrictions.

Wahid Hamidi, deputy director of student affairs at Hanzala University in Badghis province, told 8 Subh that many students had not attended their classes and were worried of an uncertain future. He adds that about 60 percent of the university’s students have left due to economic problems and restrictions. Hamidi says that at Hanzaleh University in Badghis, more than 1,000 students were studying law, political science, and other majors, but now about 40 percent of students attend their classes.

In Ghor province, although the public institution has not been reopened yet, there are alarming reports of students leaving education centers. “Every day, I receive calls from students informing me that they will not attend their classes any more, and also many students are trying to illegally go to the neighboring countries for work. ,” Amirdad Parsa, a student representative at Ghor University, told 8 Subh.

He emphasizes that out of more than two thousand students at Ghor University, a large number of them are disappointed about their future and some have either left the country or are planning to leave. Mr. Parsa calls on the Taliban to reopen public universities to end this uncertainty.

At Ghor University, more than 2,000 students, including girls and boys, are studying in the fields of agriculture and computer science. In response to the restrictions on girls, students had previously protested.

Meanwhile, many university professors explain the new instructions made by the Taliban as not interesting. They say that in such a situation, more facilities are needed to implement the Ministry’s instructions.

Faisal Karimi, a professor at the faculty of Journalism at Herat University, believes that the plan to separate male and female students is not practical. Speaking to 8 Subh Daily, Karimi argues that currently, the country’s private universities do not have the facilities to implement the instructions. According to him, the institutions need more facilities in terms of infrastructure.

It should be noted that the statistics used in this report have not yet been officially confirmed by the government.