Taliban Tends to Make Money and Credit by Holding the 12th-Grade Exams for Girls

Written by Amin Kawa | Translated by English Section

The Taliban have ordered that the 12th-grade exams of female students must be held in one day. All 12th-grade girls are going to appear in the exams today without having preparation as they have only been asked to contact their schools on Monday to register for the exam along with a photograph, ID card, and 600 AFG fees.

School teachers describe the move, which leads to the graduation of all girls without attending classes and studying, as an “insult to education”, “abusing people” and “deceiving the international community”. Teachers at girls’ schools criticize the citizens’ lack of opposition to this decision of the Taliban. According to them, this action has negative consequences for society, especially for women, and does not cure the unfortunate illiteracy impacts. But students express different views on this alleged exams. Some of them say that they are surprised to hear this news, but some others are happy that they will graduate, saying that now they can confidently brace up for the entrance test to universities. Based on information provided by the Ministry of Education under the Taliban administration, students have to answer 140 questions in the form of true and false, four-options and filling the blank spaces. Meanwhile, there is no details available about the fate of female students below grade 12.

The Ministry of Education of the Taliban has announced that in order to graduate female students of the twelfth grade, these students must pass the test of all he twelfth grade subjects in a single day.

According to the Taliban’s statement, the test will be taken today (Wednesday, December 7th) for three hours and all female students will be promoted – meaning they will graduate from school.

However, some female students describe the graduation from the 12th grade without attending the classes as an “insult to knowledge” and some are happy about their graduation. From the point of view of these students, if they were not promoted, they would not be given the opportunity to study.

“Somehow, it can be said that it is our promotion,” Behnaz Karimi, student, said in an interview with Hasht-e Subh. “No pupil is prepared for this exam. A large number of students do not know about the exam process. They have no knowledge of the exam, which questions are included in the exam, or whether the questions are exclusive to the educational curriculum or not,” she added. According to her, most of the students do not know how to take the exam and there is no information in this regard.

“None of the class representatives present in the schools cooperate with the students,” Miss. Karimi added. “I visited my school several times to ask the principle and teachers, but again there was no cooperation – because they themselves did not have reliable information about the exam process.”

This school student considers the decision of the Taliban as a gamble with our future and emphasizes: “Our feelings cannot be expressed with words, because it is a game with our future and destiny – because in the span of a year, when you have not read any book, in a single day you are not going to get the grade you want. We may get a grade, but we cannot compensate for the things we did not study in the classes.”

Miss Karimi does not consider it possible to ban women from working and learning and emphasizes: “Women are the most dynamic part of a society, they cannot be ignored. In all government offices, their presence is more necessary than any necessity. Our wish is that the school doors should be opened for all female students and that the Taliban should not deny any girl from going to university.”

“The current exam creates a sense of inequality in us because all boys can study very easily while we cannot,” she said. “This caused us to suffer a lot in one year, mentally. We are under house arrest. In school, what we have learned was taken away from us. Because none of the students studied over the course of a year and none of them understand the crime of this inequality imposed on them. Maybe the issue is that we no longer know their [Taliban’s] way of thinking.”

Sadaf Ahmadi is another student who sees this decision from another perspective. This young lady told Hasht-e Subh: “I was very happy, from one angle that I look at it. Because it makes us not feel sorry for at least one year. Some students went to study for the entrance exam, worked hard, studied for the whole year or at home, but I accept that many could not study; But this action means that we will not be sorry for at least one year. We can graduate from school. This is a positive point.”

Miss. Ahmadi adds that hard work is mutual in school. According to her, students learn a lot from teachers, but there is no such environment now. She wished that girls could have even intermittent education. According to her: “I wish they would study for a month or two. When I look at it as a student myself, I spent my time on English and didn’t bother about school. The entire academic year was wasted.”

“We were in the 10th grade, it was lockdown due to Corona virus outbreak, we were at 11 grade that the Taliban reclaimed power, then we couldn’t continue our education, she said. “I haven’t read the tenth grade, nor the eleventh nor the twelfth, but I have worked a little hard on the previous grades. “For at least 70 percent of girls, not studying can be a very negative thing, but the fact that we graduate is a positive thing.”

Miss. Ahmadi calls it questionable that schools are closed to girls due to problems in the educational curriculum. She says: “The closure of school doors for girls is very questionable. If they [Taliban] say that there is a problem with the curriculum, it is not compatible with the Islamic system, then this should be the law for boys as well. “Curriculum cannot be a problem only for girls.”

“Currently, the only feeling I have is the exam that I don’t know about,” she said. “I feel a huge void inside me. It is strange to me. I have worry, anxiety and confusion. Most of all this bothers me. “I can’t really say it’s a positive or a negative.”

What Teachers of Girls’ Schools Think?

Aqila (pseudonym) teaches in a public school in Kabul. In an interview with Hasht-e Subh, she suggested that the promotion exam for 12th-grade female students is actually a “hijab examination”. According to her, she came to such an opinion in the meetings she participated in regarding the exam for girls. This teacher considers taking the exam of 12th-grade girls as inconclusive and emphasizes: “One-day exam has neither results nor meaning. The Taliban change their decision from moment to moment. Maybe it is because if they don’t hold the exam, no girl will participate in the next Kankor examination.”

Mrs. Aqila considers this move to be profitable for the Taliban and says: “They [the Taliban] are extremely in fond of money. They are money lovers. They made the passport valid for 10 years, the money was collected, then they closed the gate of the passport [office], this exam is the same thing in nature. They get 600 AFG from each student, while normally no one is given a certificate within two years, let alone in this situation.” According to her, in this decision of the Taliban lies “a money and credit issues”. According to this teacher, the Taliban want to show the world with this exam that they have allowed girls to take the exam.

“Students have not studied for three years, or studied for two or three months in each year,” she continues to add. “They have not studied any lessons this year. What do they test? I think that they [the Taliban] are testing girls’ hijab to see to what extent the girls have observed their desired hijab. In our opinion, this exam is a hijab exam. In the meetings, we have understood that they say let’s see if they observe the hijab or not.”

“The questions are arranged through the ministry,” Mrs. Aqila said.

Mrs. Haidari is one of the teachers in western Afghanistan. In the report, due to security threats, only her last name is mentioned. “In my opinion, the promotion of the twelfth grade girls is considered a big gap in the education process,” she said. “How can students who have not used even one day of the academic year take an exam? Even the 140 questions that are going to appear in the exam, all of them have four answers, it is still difficult to answer them.”

“I am surprised that the families, I mean the parents of the students, have not once expressed their opposition to this decision, but have accepted the situation very normall,” the teacher added.

Mrs. Haidari calls the assignment and reminders of the Taliban, which they gave to the students for taking the exam, psychologically and mentally disturbing. “There are mental and psychological limitations,” she stated. “Two or three times they have asked and warned the students to observe the Islamic hijab. We have never seen an Afghan girl in schools without a hijab or with a bad hijab, but they have observed the Islamic hijab. Our students have not had any problems in this regard.”

This teacher adds: “The most emphasis is put on the student to use a black mask and black scarves. It is very worrying. From a psychological point of view, I think if the student was motivated, it would be much better than if we wanted to pressure the student mentally and psychologically.”

According to this teacher, “students were deprived of education in the past year due to the restrictions of the Coronavirus outbreak, the next year they were deprived of lessons due to security problems and the following year due to the Taliban decision. I’m worried that what happened to me twenty years ago and I stayed at home for eight years, now won’t happen to my students. History will repeat itself.”

Mrs. Haidari considers the examination of the twelfth grade students of girls’ schools to be a promotion and believes that this does not create hope for the improvement of the situation of girls and women in the country.

Meanwhile, some women protestors have condemned this decision of the Taliban and said that they stand against it. According to them, Afghanistan needs practical knowledge and actual education, and there is no justification for obtaining a graduation certificate without education. According to women protestors, “passing from one academic year and having a document is an implicit concept of insulting the society and does not reduce the burden of the damage of closing school doors.” These girls asked the students to “request a certificate with education, not a wind-up certificate.”

This is despite the fact that about 16 months have passed since girls’ high schools were closed, and during this time, the Taliban did not give in to any of the internal and external pressures. This group has already given many reasons and excuses for the closure of girls’ schools.

Previously, Hasht-e Subh had obtained information indicating that the Taliban has decided to keep school doors closed to girls forever in their regime.