German university wants to set up an online university in Frankfurt for Afghans in Afghanistan

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With the help of Afghans exiled in German, the University of Kessel want to set up an online university in Frankfurt for Afghans stuck in Afghanistan.

The universities in Afghanistan are closed, and young women in particular have little hope of studying under the Taliban regime. Could a digital university be the solution? A professor from the University of Kassel now wants to set up an online university for Afghans in Afghanistan and in exile.

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Most universities in Afghanistan are closed

Since the Taliban came back to power in Afghanistan, hardly anything has been the same in the country. This also applies to the around 370,000 young students in the country. Because the Taliban have temporarily closed many of the 150 universities. Women must fear that they will no longer be allowed to go back to university.

So how can young Afghans continue to take advantage of educational opportunities? Scientists from Afghanistan and Germany will discuss this with politicians in the European Parliament.

The idea: an online university where Afghans can study in their home country, but also in exile. The finding conference will take place this Friday and Saturday in Frankfurt.

“No hope” of education among the Taliban

Although the Taliban has said that women will be banned from teaching or studying at public universities in Afghanistan until they can be segregated from men, students of both genders at the Kabul University have been sent home.

The new Taliban minister of higher education stated flatly, “We will not allow coeducation.” Some private universities have already switched to divided classrooms.

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Male and female students attend class separated by a partition at private Mirwais Neeka University in Kandahar, Afghanistan, on Sept. 20. (EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

3,000 study places planned

If students are denied access to education, could one solution be to bring education to students? Ulrich Teichler is convinced of this. The retired university researcher from the University of Kassel wrote the first concept for an Afghan online university.

He was commissioned by Kambiz Ghawami from the German Committee of the World University Service in Wiesbaden (WUS), who invited to the conference. The non-governmental organization advocates the human right to education and, according to its own statements, promotes international cooperation between teachers and students at universities in around 50 countries.  

Millions of Afghans have lived abroad for a long time, for example fled to neighboring Iran, says Ulrich Teichler. They should also be able to apply to the digital university. The concept provides for the university to enter into partnerships with existing universities in order to gain admission and offer double degrees.

Financing open

Afghan scientists in Germany could offer humanities and social sciences there, which the Taliban abolished. But also subjects such as business administration and computer science, which would be needed to build a liberal Afghanistan in the post-Taliban era. At the conference in Frankfurt, concrete plans for the design of the study program and the statutes of the university in exile should be formulated.

How all of this should be financed, however, is open. Teichler has set a budget of 25 to 30 million euros per year for a total of 3,000 study places. That corresponds to the costs of comparable universities in Germany, he says. The money should come from Western governments and international organizations. In return, they would then get the trained specialists.

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Money against a guilty conscience?

The chances that this could work are not bad, says Nicola Beer. The FDP politician was the Hessian minister of education and is currently Vice President of the European Parliament. 

The West’s “guilty conscience” for abandoning the Afghans this summer could help raise money, says Beer. She sees the Europeans as an obligation: “I find it disastrous the way we got out of Afghanistan.” Beer took part in the conference in Frankfurt.

But would the Taliban allow young Afghans to receive Western education online? Nobody can predict that at the moment. For the young participants, however, an online university would mean that their dream can continue for the time being.


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2 COMMENTS

  1. Taliban can not prevent us from online eduaction.
    Everyone has access to the internet and can pursue online studies.
    I hope the plan would start soon, because we have already wasted a lot of time.

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