Emerging reports confirm that the Taliban leadership, along with its Ministry of Education, have initiated the construction of dormitories for one religious school in every district of Afghanistan. This development was confirmed by Mawlawi Sadr al-Din Saad, the head of finance and accounting at the Taliban's Ministry of Education, during his visit to Ghor province. Local Taliban officials in Ghor have been informed about the formation of teams tasked to build a dormitory for a religious school in each district.
Propagating Religious Education
The Taliban, known for heavily restricting formal school and university education, particularly for women and girls, have shown a significant investment in religious schools over the past two years. The number of official religious schools has increased fivefold compared to the last two decades, according to the Taliban's Ministry of Education. A staggering 6,830 official schools now dot the landscape of Afghanistan.
Challenges Amidst Taliban's Educational Reforms
Despite the Taliban's fervor for religious education, the country grapples with widespread poverty and millions of Afghans face emergency levels of hunger. Since the Taliban assumed power in August 2021, state schools have been converted into Islamic seminaries, displacing many students and teachers, and sparking accusations of a 'war on education.' The Taliban's Education Ministry has converted training centers for teachers into madrasahs, while male teachers and high school students in the southern province of Kandahar are ordered to adhere to the militant group's extremist interpretation of Islamic Shari'a law.
The Taliban's educational policies have drawn widespread criticism from international quarters. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called the Taliban's education ban on Afghan girls 'unjustifiable' and a violation of human rights. The group's restrictions on women's access to education and work, including a ban on girls from school beyond sixth grade, have been denounced by the UN global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises.