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"In Rural Afghanistan, Some Taliban Gingerly Welcome Girls Schools"

This article was an interesting read because it really made me re-evaluate some perceptions that I had about what truly was going on with regards to providing education to girls in Afghanistan. I still maintain the thought that access to education will always be denied to girls because within a patriarchal institution there is no "benefit" to providing education girls. However, this article reminded me that education is not always good and when it is controlled .then it becomes a tool to inculcate ideologies and mould a person into a desired product.

"Both the Kabul government and the American negotiators made clear that such a regression would not take place, while the Taliban leadership preferred to stay vague and underlined the importance of Islamic norms in the context of women’s work and girls’ education. “We are not against female education or work. But we have Islamic norms. This is still not the West,” Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, the head of the Taliban office in Qatar, previously said in an interview. "

Female members of the Taliban fighters and now slowly being given the permission to attend school. While this may seem like a step forward, it is vital that we critically evaluate what exactly the curriculum is trying to achieve. The Taliban are an extremist group and while I don't believe in the superiority of Western education, I still find myself questioning any curriculum that leads the Taliban being comfortable enough to send their girls to schools. What are the "Islamic norms" that the curriculum is reflecting? Female education is such an important goal but in this case I don't think it's an indication of changing times. Rather I believe that the Taliban, who will soon probably be in power after the peace signing, have figured out that it would be a lot easier to send their children to approved schools where they can be indoctrinated.

The provision of education does not always lead to autonomy or some sort of transformation. It can also be used as a tool of control and ensuring everything continues as it is.

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Fascinating take! Your analysis makes me think of Pakistan and the proposed Single National Curriculum (SNC). We suffer from a problem of religious fundamentalism which is, in many cases, propagated by our curriculum. With the SNC aiming to bring such curriculum in the mainstream, it is likely that the problem of religious extremism will only get worse here. This is a sad state of affairs.


Really interesting take, and made me start thinking about this too. I feel "Islamic norms" can loosely be used to include intolerance and minority subjugation, and even go as far as to include promotions of jihad (and defining it in terms of terrorism). This is incredibly scary, and mixing this in with schools may make the access to their ideology much more widespread. I really question what they hope to achieve, given I can't imagine they'd even want to empower females or have them become independent... But I do think they can't fully control how students respond to everything they learn, so it is partially possible that girls will learn other disciplines and become more independent for it.

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