Iranian universities offer education to Afghan girls

January 1, 2023 - 18:25

TEHRAN – Three universities have expressed readiness to enroll hundreds of Afghan girls after the Taliban banned female students from higher education.

Female-only centers of Alzahra University of Tehran, Kosar University of Bojnurd, and Hazrat-e Masoumeh University of Qom will accept Afghan girl students, deputy science minister for international affairs Vahid Haddadi-Asl announced.

Alzahra University announced readiness to admit up to 50 students, but the quota will be increased if more dormitories become available, he added.

Hazrat-e Masoumeh University of Qom will also accept at least 300 Afghan female students, both in offline and online courses, according to Haddadi-Asl.

The Taliban-run higher education ministry has announced that female students would not be allowed access to the country’s universities until further notice.

“You all are informed to immediately implement the mentioned order of suspending the education of females until further notice,” said a letter issued to all government and private universities, signed by the Minister for Higher Education, Neda Mohammad Nadeem.

Iran is home to over 800,000 registered refugees and some 2.6 million undocumented Afghans. Today, more than 500,000 Afghan children- including undocumented Afghans and those who have newly arrived in Iran following the Taliban-takeover-are benefitting from Iran’s inclusive education policies, one of the most progressive in the world.

Many of the refugees living in Iran are second and third-generation, according to the UNHCR.

Some 108,000 students from 117 countries have enrolled in Iranian universities for the current academic year (started September 23), Mohammad Mohammadi Masoudi, an official with the Ministry of Science, has said.

Twenty-five percent of the foreign students studying in Iranian universities are Afghan nationals, he added.

The students are studying in different fields of science, research and technology, health and medical education, and also in the fields of humanities, Islamic sciences, Persian language and literature, law, fundamentals of Islamic law, management fields, economics, psychology, social sciences, as well as engineering, agricultural sciences, animal sciences, and basic sciences.

In the current school year which began on September 23, about 300,000 new foreign students enrolled in Iranian schools.

For the time being, 560,000 foreign students are studying in schools across the country, Education Minister Yousef Nouri said.


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