Taliban to ‘allow girls` education`: Minister
Last Updated: Saturday, January 15, 2011, 00:37
  
London: The Taliban is to drop its opposition to the education of girls in Afghanistan, the country's education minister has told British media.

Farooq Wardak said in an interview with the TES (Times Education Supplement) that a "cultural change" meant the Taliban were no longer opposed to girls going to school. He said an agreement had been worked out in discussions with the Taliban.

Afghan women were banned from working or getting an education under the Taliban regime which was overthrown in the 2001 US-led invasion of the country.

Wardak told the TES: "It is attitudinal change, it is behavioural change, it is cultural change.

"What I am hearing at the very upper policy level of the Taliban is that they are no more opposing education and also girls' education."

He added: "I hope, Inshallah, soon there will be a peaceful negotiation, a meaningful negotiation with our own opposition and that will not compromise at all the basic human rights and basic principles which have been guiding us to provide quality and balanced education to our people."

The minister, who spoke to the TES at the Education World Forum in London, claimed there had been significant shifts in attitude towards education since the Taliban was toppled and insisted that they would not be reversed.

"In the deepest pockets of our society, not only the Taliban, there was not very friendly behaviour with education," he said.

"That is the reason that in many provinces of Afghanistan we do not have either male or female teacher.

"During the Taliban era the percentage of girls of the one million students that we had was zero per cent. The percentage of female teachers was zero per cent.

"Today 38 per cent of our students and 30 per cent of our teachers are female."

However, he conceded that Afghanistan had a huge task ahead. In more than 400 districts and urban centres in Afghanistan, 200 still have no girls enrolled in high school, he said.

PTI


First Published: Saturday, January 15, 2011, 00:37


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