University Entry Prohibition: Female Graduates Encounter Challenges in Processing Their Documents
The Taliban are still imposing restrictions on women through the Ministry of Higher Education. In the latest development, female graduates from state universities are facing a ban on obtaining their academic documents. As per the directive, these graduates are now required to be accompanied by male family members for administrative procedures at the university. Despite several weeks passing since the implementation of this decision, some female students are unable to access their documents due to the absence of their fathers, brothers, or male family members who possess the necessary literacy skills. These students find the Taliban’s actions unjustified and argue that they have missed out on numerous scholarships and job opportunities that necessitate academic qualifications.
Sharifa, a graduate of Kabul University, denounces the Taliban’s directive as a grave injustice against female students’ rights. She strongly believes that they are now being barred from accessing educational opportunities solely based on their gender, which she considers the height of absurdity. For the past two weeks, Sharifa has been struggling to complete the documentation process. Unfortunately, due to her father’s migration to another country following the Taliban’s rise to power, and her brother’s demanding full-time job, she has been unable to obtain her documents. Sharifa has made multiple visits to the university and explained her situation to the officials, but the Taliban have remained unyielding in their stance, disregarding her pleas.
This graduate is seeking educational opportunities at the postgraduate level and intends to apply to several universities. However, she has not been able to submit her application due to not having her academic transcripts. She adds, “Nothing works here; I don’t even have permission to go to the university to get a document. That’s why I’m looking for a scholarship, and so far, I have missed out on many opportunities because of not having my grades to prove my eligibility for a scholarship.”
Zakia, another graduate from Kabul University, has faced similar obstacles in her quest to complete the documentation process. Despite multiple attempts, the Taliban have refused her entry to the university. Consequently, Zakia has resorted to sending her illiterate father to handle the documentation on her behalf. Expressing her frustration, she remarks, “I find it unjust that I am unable to access the institution where I spent five years of my life just to obtain my transcripts, solely because I am a girl. It is illogical that I had to rely on my father to navigate this process. Where is the rationale in all of this?”
The father of this graduate has encountered significant challenges in navigating the university environment due to his lack of familiarity and limited literacy skills. Completing a task that would normally take one day has become a daunting three-day ordeal for him. Moreover, he is now compelled to allocate an additional two days to rectify his daughter’s transcript, causing further hardship. Zakia further explains, “Given my father’s illiteracy, he struggled to locate the student affairs office. They mistakenly directed him to the bank, resulting in a series of mishaps. Instead of accurately recording my name and surname, they entered someone else’s information, and even my date of birth was registered incorrectly.”
Furthermore, female students highlight that the Taliban strictly restrict the individuals authorized to accompany them during the document verification process. Only the student’s father and brother are permitted, while uncles and cousins are denied access. These students explain that Taliban members scrutinize both the student’s ID and the ID of their father or brother upon entering the university to prevent girls from substituting someone else in lieu of their father or brother.
Shafiqa, a graduate of Kabul Polytechnic University, shares her experience of being denied entry by the Taliban for the purpose of obtaining her transcripts and certification. She recounts being repeatedly expelled from the university gate by members of the group. Expressing her frustration, she says, “Whenever I went, they insisted that my father or brother should come. However, my father is illiterate, elderly, and disabled. How can he manage the document verification process?”
According to this graduate, their presence is necessary for the document verification process because they are familiar with the number of subjects and course credits. In case of any inaccuracies or deficiencies, they can address them promptly. She explains, “The grade transcript is in English. If I send my father or brother, they won’t be able to read it, and I’ve heard from many classmates that inaccurately reported subject credits have adversely affected their grades. Unfortunately, these challenges are not comprehended by the Taliban members.”
On the other hand, Shafiqa is eagerly awaiting her four-year transcript of grades to apply for scholarships to pursue her postgraduate studies at universities abroad. However, obtaining her certification and transcript poses a significant challenge. She expresses, “It appears that the Taliban consider it a favor to allow our male guardians to handle the documentation process, but what about those of us who lack a male guardian or whose guardians are currently abroad?”
The response from the Taliban regarding female graduates is deemed unreasonable. According to these graduates, the Taliban have asserted that the number of individuals without a male guardian is minimal. Shafiqa also expresses her viewpoint: “Even if there is just one person, shouldn’t she have the right to receive the results of four or five years of academic endeavors? This is truly unjust towards girls.”
Simultaneous with the closure of universities for girls by the Taliban, the Ministry of Higher Education issued instructions to all public and private universities. These instructions stated that the graduation documents of female students who completed their studies in the educational year (2022-2023) should not be processed, and no graduation certificates should be issued to them until further notice.
Hawa, a graduate of Kabul Polytechnic University, has once again traveled from Bamyan province to Kabul with the purpose of obtaining her graduation documents and sending job applications to organizations that have advertised vacancies. However, she highlights that to be considered for employment in organizations that require academic credentials, she must include at least one university document demonstrating her graduation with her job application. She expresses, “Considering our challenging economic situation, I have paid for transportation to come to Kabul, hoping to have my graduation certificate or transcripts in hand for job applications. Unfortunately, I am denied entry to the university.” According to Hawa, she cannot ask her disabled father to accompany her to Kabul, as they lack the necessary resources, and the cost of accommodation is unaffordable in the current circumstances.
Less than two years have passed since the Taliban assumed power, yet they have not made any efforts to reopen universities and schools for girls. The deprivation of Afghan women and girls in areas such as employment, social participation, and particularly education is escalating day by day. Despite condemnation from the international community and human rights organizations regarding the misogynistic actions of this group, it appears that the Taliban are disregarding the aspirations of women in Afghanistan and the international community.