The Bleak Future of Education in Taliban-Occupied Afghanistan

The education sector in Afghanistan is affected in the worst way possible after the Taliban takeover of the country. The Taliban has closed the school doors to girls above sixth grades and the school curriculum has undergone through an unprofessional and radical changes.

Today, there is a worldwide consensus on the importance of education and its goal. Education’s goal is defined to equip the individuals with required skills and knowledge that can be effective in today’s fast growing and competitive human societies.  Improvement without an efficient education system that is based on scientific standards is not possible. To play politics and mislead public opinion, Taliban leaders emphasize the importance of knowledge and education; while, the group’s view of knowledge is a mismatch in the global consensus and it is completely different from what the world wants. The group’s views on the subject are summarized in a chapter on education in a book published by the Taliban.

The author states in parts of the book:

“In the Islamic state, the preference of religious education over modern education is a must, that is, modern education must be thought as a complementary to religious subjects and topics. The weakness of the Islamic state is found in the dominance of non-religious sciences. (P. 242) It is necessary for the Muslim rulers and the religious scholars to strictly forbid the people from these highly promoted schools, because they are the influence of the infidels who try to corrupt the morals of the Muslims and deviate from the religion of God. (P. 243) According to Mufti Shafi’i, it should be feared that those who promote and encourage Muslim children to attend the schools created to teach modern science without religious knowledge thought to children before attending the modern schooling would lead the children to grow critical thinkers and gradually question the values of the religious education.  It leads to the subjugation of religion and its sciences.” He believes.

“Some people who are ignorant of the religion of God argues that learning modern sciences would help them build a better life and have better income,” the author of the Taliban continues. “Anything done out of fear of poverty is forbidden, said Mufti Jamil Ahmad Tahanavi. (P. 244) The purpose of the science of the book and tradition is to obtain the knowledge about God. The purpose of modern science is to obtain material benefits that perish. (P. 245) If a student spends one hour, learning arithmetic and agriculture and alchemy, he should spend at least two hours learning religious sciences, not the other way around. The educational process will cause severe damage, like the schools and faculties of modern science that have been established in our time in Islamic countries in imitation of Western nations in Europe and America. (P. 246) Student councils in schools are councils of immorality and atheism, and the wise and prudent scholars must supervise the schools from moment to moment,” the author adds.

The quoted paragraphs clearly show that the Taliban group has no other mission but to promote ideological extremist curriculum, using vague and baseless religious arguments. Taliban’s strategy towards education is to eradicate independent thinking and eradicate self-centered wisdom with the goal of turning students into fanatical and commanding soldiers so as to spread religious tyranny, an educational system that has no role in opening the economic, social, cultural and managerial knots of the country. The group’s pessimism approach on modern schools and sciences indicates their  deep resentment towards specialists, intellectuals and educated people in fields other than their defined religion.