Female university graduates create school app to fill education void for girls

By Omar

A group of young Afghan female university graduates in Herat province have launched an online schooling programme for girls amid the existing ban on their education. The online education programme is accessible on smartphones and offers learning for all subjects based on Afghanistan's curriculum for secondary education. [Omar/Salaam Times]

HERAT -- A group of young female university graduates in Herat province have launched an application for online schooling for girls amid the existing ban on their education.

The online tool, dubbed Maktab, was developed by a group of computer science graduates at Herat University and was launched last week at the start of the school year.

Maktab is accessible on smartphones and can be downloaded for free from Apple Store and Google Play. It offers lessons in all subjects based on Afghanistan's secondary school curriculum

The purpose of launching Maktab was to ensure that girls would always have access to education, said Mariam Monib, the executive director of the online school programme.

A team member of the Maktab online school is pictured at her office March 25 in Herat city. [Omar/Salaam Times]

A team member of the Maktab online school is pictured at her office March 25 in Herat city. [Omar/Salaam Times]

A team member of the Maktab online school checks out content on her phone March 25 in Herat city. The Maktab app can be downloaded for free from Apple Store and Google Play. [Omar/Salaam Times]

A team member of the Maktab online school checks out content on her phone March 25 in Herat city. The Maktab app can be downloaded for free from Apple Store and Google Play. [Omar/Salaam Times]

"Our aim is to never let education for girls stop. This is an open school programme and will always be available for girls."

"Education materials are available in various formats, including video, audio and text. The app has a dashboard that allows private schools, educational institutions and other learning centres to upload their teaching materials," she said.

As many as 30,000 students follow the programme online and some 10,000 actively use its educational content, she said.

The number of followers, who are mostly girls, continues to increase daily, she added.

"We want to provide more education opportunities for girls. We are trying to expand the programme and plan to offer English language and computer science lessons" in the future, she added.

At the end of the school year, a certificate of completion will be issued to each student who has pursued the training courses, Monib said.

Filling a void

The programme aims to fill a void and to provide education opportunities for girls when schools and other education centres are closed to them, said Muzhda Paiman, a member of the online school team.

"Learning centres for face-to-face education have all remained closed for girls, and we wanted to find a solution to overcome the problem. We launched the online school programme so that girls who are deprived of school can study."

Online education is the best way to educate girls in the current situation, Paiman said, urging the international community to use its influence to re-open schools for Afghan girls.

The purpose of the programme was to "give hope to girls who are deprived of schooling so they would not feel disappointed anymore", Fatima Rezaie, another member of the online school team, said.

Now more than ever, "women need support and motivation so that they can continue to study", she said.

Online programmes have brought school to girls' homes and have been very effective, said Khadija Mokhtarzada, a lecturer at Herat University.

"Launching the school app is a very good initiative, and it allows girls to increase their knowledge and stay connected with books. It is indeed a form of fighting the restrictions," she added.

"The time has come to turn our homes into schools. In the current situation, no one can prevent anyone from seeking knowledge," she said.

Girls who live in the same neighbourhood and have access to the online school programme can study together and share learning materials with each other, she said.

Hope for girls

Sana Afzali, 16, an 11th-grade student in Herat city, said she joined the online school on March 20.

The programme will revive hope among girls and will have a positive effect on girls' education, she told Salaam Times on March 27.

"The online school programme has filled the gap created by the closure of schools for girls," she said, adding that "most girls have access to the internet and can easily take online classes".

Still, "we hope that our schools will open soon. The academic year has started, and we should not waste any more time," she said.

There is no logical reason to suggest schools should remain closed for girls, said Sana.

Sama Hasanzada, 15, a 10th-grade student in Herat city, said she has joined the online school programme with much enthusiasm and hopes to resume her studies like before.

"Schools have been closed to us, and we are deprived of face-to-face education. The online school programme is a new initiative available to girls where we can communicate and share our knowledge with each other," she added.

"We were hoping to go back to school [this year], but schools have remained closed and our dreams were shattered once again," she said.

The online school programme has become a reasonable substitute for in-person schooling and has created a sense of hope among girls, she said.

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Human existence has two parts; one part is a man, and the other part is a woman. The Holy Qur'an says, `هن لباس لکم و انتم لباس لهن [Translation]: "They are clothing for you, and you are clothing for them." This means that you (male and female) are covering each other. If one is not there, the other is like being naked, and nakedness is a defect for a human being. If only men are educated in society, half of the community is educated, but if women are also educated, then it means that the whole society is educated. Not only in Herat but in all parts of Afghanistan, girls have the right and the ability to learn. We want the brutal Taliban regime to end the mission of Pakistan's intelligence agencies, keeping Afghan women uneducated. Pakistan represents British colonialism in the region, which does not want Afghanistan to develop. During the time of Ghazi Amanullah Khan, the British prevented progress and development in Afghanistan. They appointed some ignorant Mullahs to avoid the education of girls. For this purpose, they incited people against King Amanullah Khan. Pakistan's reprehensible intelligence agency repeated the same game during the 20 years of the republic and before that in the period of jihadist organizations in the 1980s and 1990s and employed various militias against Afghan women, resulting in millions of Afghan women being killed and deprived of education. Through Salam Times magazine, I request the leaders of the Taliban that governance is not the leadership o


The United Nations should try hard on the Taliban to open the gates of women's universities for the women. Not all girls can buy a smart phone and benefit from this online school program. Most of the students' parents have a bad economy. They don't have enough to eat, how can they buy phones for their daughters so that their daughters can benefit from this online school program. The United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Countries should put more pressure on the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan as soon as possible as they open the gates of universities and schools to girls. This long wait has caused most of the female students to suffer from mental illness.


That is the favor of educating the girls sitting at home and truly understanding their problems. The authorities should learn from this that girls have talents in every field, and if the restrictions are removed, it will show them that they can play a good role in the country's development. This sends a message to the Taliban that you can never stop the advancement of women. The people of Afghanistan want their sisters, daughters, and other female family members to be educated like men and have a good life. May God help them make further progress in their work, and may God not let this process collapse due to the lack of possibilities. Success in...


This is a shame for the Taliban. Although the Taliban, with all their stupidity, stopped education in Afghanistan, these girls proved that women could do a lot. Unfortunately, under the rule of thieves under the name of the Republic, some powerful people committed atrocities, and the people were forced to prefer the Taliban. More than 90% of people were involved in administrative and moral corruption, from the minister to the manager. The global coalition did not allow the power holders to be removed, and the whole country became one hand and united. Everyone was busy looting their homeland. The system was so weakened that the government sent a governor to Faryab, where Dostum's militia opposed the governor and returned him. Panjshir, originally a district, and Karzai turned it into a province to please [Qasim] Fahim and the Northern Alliance, had its independent government. No Pashtun was allowed to work in Panjshir. Whoever went to Panjshir, his documents were checked at the gate of Panjshir. Bamiyan was the kingdom of the Hazaras. Whatever the Hazaras wanted, especially their powerful leaders would happen. An irresponsible militant named Alipur shot down a plane of the National Army, but the government did not do enough to bring him back and execute him. Now that the government is united, unfortunately, the rulers are stupid. They do not know their interests nor respect the interests of the country or the people. Currently, there is no country where girls are not educated,


Afghan girls must turn to such online centers or software for education. Still, in the last two years, most of the online centers that have started their activities, most that we see here, say that because of the lack of resources and budget, they cannot provide adequate services as required. That is because the center is forced to provide enough materials, and workers provide these materials. Workers then have expenses and need tools. 97 percent of people in Afghanistan live below the poverty level; most students are not able to provide the necessary laptop, internet, and other necessary facilities for online learning; however, these girls still really tried instead, and this work is commendable, but without regular support, I don't think they can go forward. Even if you leave other stuff aside, the Internet prices in Afghanistan are also high enough to cost more, but may God help these girls to serve. Another thing is that online education is not as effective as face-to-face lessons, but online education centers are still a good opportunity for girls. If it is true that the Taliban are the children of this soil, they should fulfill the wishes of the girls and let them study.


This is a very good news and development and at least helps women to have access to education and become literate. Educated women can raise their children well. The more literate mothers are, the more literate their children will be, which will reduce illiteracy and ignorance in the Afghan society, but I want to mention a few other points too: - This Application can never take the place of formal education, i.e. studying at school; therefore, more focus should be placed on reopening girls' schools. - This Application works through smart phones and high speed internet. Women in the villages and provinces of Afghanistan do not have access to the Internet and smart phones, and due to their high prices, even people in the cities cannot use these applications. - The budget of these Applications is high and they are prepared with high costs. Therefore, my suggestion is that efforts should be made to develop informal schools established by UNICEF in the provinces and work on their quality.