Despite the ban on education for girls in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime, India’s only Afghan educational institution, Sayed Jamaluddin Afghan High School, is providing quality education to the refugee children of Afghanistan. Located in Delhi’s Jangpura Extension, the Afghan high school runs on a rented building with more than 30 teaching and non-teaching staff members, most of which are women.
Challenging the Taliban ban on girls’ education, the Afghanistan Ambassador to India, Farid Mamundzay, said in a tweet, “Young Afghan girls who want to be educated will not be stopped, at least in New Delhi. These girls will one day contribute to a stronger and more prosperous Afghanistan. Women share this planet 50/50 however over the past 15 months harsh and unnecessary restrictions have been put on.”
Sustaining Since 1994
Women’s Federation of World Peace, a women’s nonprofit organization, set up the Sayed Jamaluddin Afghan High School in 1994 for refugee children from Afghanistan living in New Delhi. The then government of Afghanistan, Prime Minister Ashraf Ghani, started funding the school at a request from the center. This educational center expanded to become a primary school in 2008 and then a high school in 2017. The school is a hope for more than 250 students, of which 65% are girls, according to India Narrative.
The medium of instruction comprises three different mediums, namely, Farsi, Pashto and English. The school is culturally rich and provides the students with all necessary extracurricular activities. It has more than 10 clubs that work to enrich the knowledge and intelligence of students with practical skills and experience.
The Taliban Takeover and Pandemic Setback
The Afghan high school struggled with funding when the pandemic hit the nation in 2020 and imposed a country-wide lockdown. The Taliban overtake in Afghanistan affected the high school in Delhi enormously as the newly built government of the Taliban stopped the smooth flow of funds. The school failed to pay rent for the school premises due to which they had to vacate the space and hold classes online. They were out of salaries to pay to the teaching staff, The Indian Express reported.
However, India’s Ministry of External Affairs stepped in and helped the school in times of difficult situations. Afghan Ambassador Mamundzay expressed gratitude towards the Ministry of External Affairs on Twitter.
Currently, the Afghan school holds offline classes in two shifts as the space does not allow all the students to study at the same time. The school successfully conducted its mid-term exam for the academic year 2022-23 in December 2022. The school is also looking for various private and municipal schools which can provide them with 14 to 15 classrooms to hold evening batches.
– Aanchal Mishra