AFGHANISTAN. Herat: Afghan Ministry of Education has released a statement on Wednesday to ban schoolgirls aged 12, and above from singing the national anthem or other group songs in the ceremonies of governmental and private schools. “The decisions come after families and students repeatedly asked for a ban to the program,” Najiba Arian, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Education confirmed.
Arian said that the decision was made following complaints by families over the high burden of studies on the shoulders of the students in high school and middle school. The parents want the schools to complete the studies that were pending after schools were shut down due to COVID-19 last year.
Based on the decision, schoolgirls who are over the age of 12 are only allowed to sing the anthem and other cultural songs at gatherings of women. The ban refrains the women to sing in mixed company where men are present. Meanwhile, critics have described the move as imposing limitations on the civil liberties of women and girls.
A document was released imposing the new ban. The document read, “Only ceremonies with 100 percent women participants, are exceptional and schoolgirls can perform without limitations.” Adding that the schoolgirls should not be instructed by male coaches at all. The ban would apply to all government and private schools in Afghanistan.
“A Taliban approach”
The decision has received massive backlash on social media. Some of the social media users criticized the education ministry, calling the decision a “Taliban approach”.
“The government is preparing for a Taliban enter.” A Twitter user said.
Golalal Safari, a member of the upper house in the Afghanistan National Assembly, said, “Don’t silence the voice of girls because of men.”
“If a patriotic song in the voice of a thirteen-year-old girl makes disorders someone’s faith, then they must work on their Muslim more carefully,” she said.
A group of Afghan women are planning to launch hashtags in response to the ministry plan.
Human Rights Commission reacts
Afghanistan Independence Human Rights Commission (IHRC) said in a statement on Thursday that “the right of education, freedom of expression, and access to artistic skills, are of the primary and basic rights of all children, without any discrimination to their gender and age,” saying that schoolgirls should be able to use their rights equally.
“Any restrictions in the children rights and freedom is against the general principles of human rights, and Afghanistan constitution, especially the law of supporting the children right,” the office said.
“We expect the decision is not promoting gender discrimination.”