KABUL (Reuters) – Hundreds of Afghan girls took entrance exams for a Turkish foundation in Kabul that runs some of Afghanistan’s top schools on Friday, despite the Taliban’s delay in allowing 13-year-olds to return in class.
Some 3,500 students took the highly competitive exams of the Afghan-Turkish school system, with girls making up nearly 40 percent of applicants, said Reza Parsa, a school official.
The move came despite the Taliban government’s delay in allowing girls above grade 7 – aged around 13 – to return to school following a ban imposed when the movement took power. in August.
“We want all girls to go to school. This is the wish of our president and our government and that of the Afghans,” said education adviser at the Turkish embassy in Kabul, Changez Idmir, at the meeting. ” a press conference on the occasion of the entrance tests.
In the face of growing global pressure, the Taliban said they will allow older girls to return to school once arrangements are made to ensure they can do so according to what the movement sees as norms. appropriate Islamic.
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Afghan-Turkish schools are considered among the best schools in Afghanistan and admission is very competitive.
Unofficially, many parts of the country have seen older girls return to school, while officially the Taliban say they are still working on a national system.
A Taliban-led Education Ministry official Ehsan Khateb also attended the ceremony and thanked the Turkish government.
Afghan-Turkish schools have had to change their curriculum, shutting down music, drama and dance departments at the behest of Taliban officials, Turkish Education Foundation director Salleh Saghar told Reuters.
The foundation has respected the rules and culture of the host country, he said.
“Like the music, theater and dance department… based on the Taliban’s demands, we closed the departments,” he said, and it was up to the Taliban government to decide whether they would reopen.
(Reporting by Gibran Peshimam; Editing by Giles Elgood)
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