Photo by Mohammad Husaini.
Last month, the Taliban banned all women in Afghanistan from attending universities, effectively cutting off hope for girls and women to pursue higher education in their country. Institutions like Bard College are fighting not only to offer educational resources to Afghan women, but to ask other colleges and universities to do the same. “We also know with the emergence of Ukraine, Afghanistan was already becoming old news soon after it began,” Jonathan Becker, vice president for academic affairs, said to Inside Higher Ed
. “We’re trying to fight to keep its importance alive.” Online classes, like those provided through the Open Society University Network (OSUN), are an immediate help to women who have had their education curtailed, but concerns regarding internet access and other restrictive measures by the Taliban remain. The answer may prove to be a combination of online offerings and in-person education, connecting students worldwide not only to resources and opportunities, but to each other. “Our programs began as virtual international exchanges for people from around the globe to work with and for each other,” Becker said. “Now we’re having to adapt to their very great challenges, be they in Myanmar or Ukraine or Afghanistan.”