A two-day conference that took place in Frankfurt over the weekend that involved the representatives of the Afghan education system has resulted in an opportunity for Afghan students across the globe to continue their education through a digital “university of exile.”
Sajiya Behgam Amin, a participant in the conference, was an advisor to the Afghan prime minister on women’s and youth issues up until August of this year but is now in exile after having fled Taliban rule, like many of her fellow citizens. Fortunately, she is still able to keep in touch with her former female students at Kabul University via email.
“It’s a mixture of anger, despair, fear for the future,” she says, adding that many young women feel desperate, especially considering that most secondary schools for girls have been closed once the Taliban returned to power.
“In the beginning, many hoped it wouldn’t be so bad, that the Taliban had changed,” comments the former president of Kabul University Mohammed Osman Baburi. “And they have changed,” he said, “for the worse.”
“We need to develop a long-term future perspective for Afghanistan which qualified Afghan professionals play a leading role,” says Kambiz Ghawami, a chairman of the World University Service (WUS) in Wiesbaden, the entity that organized the international conference.
The digital university is meant to be a “sign of hope for the people in Afghanistan and in the refugee camps,” and will be offered to both people in exile and those who cannot continue their studies or academic activities within Afghanistan. Organizers plan to collaborate with partner universities in Germany and other countries so that students can obtain degrees from multiple universities.