A flood of women and men gathered outside Kabul University to take entrance exams for admission into the school. So many people arrived to take the exams that police were called in to control the crowds. But despite the chaos, people were eager to take the exams, and Gholan Manten Dariz, head of Kabul University, expressed happiness at seeing women, “half of society,” gearing up to return to the university, according to the Associated Press.
Under the Taliban, women were barred from attending schools and prohibited from working. Seventy percent of teachers in Afghanistan, however, were women, causing the Afghan education system to experience virtual collapse. “For years I couldn’t attend school. I had to educate myself illegally,” said Jalelah Salimy, a woman hoping for admission into the university, “And now, I’m very happy to be here.”
During Taliban rule, Afghan women – a great risk to themselves – ran clandestine home schools for girls. The vast majority of Afghans, however, were left without education under the regime. Thousands of Afghan girls and boys began a special school session last month to prepare them for classes that are to begin in the spring.
Media Resources: Associated Press, 2/6/02; Feminist Daily News Wire, 1/11/02; Feminist Majority Foundation