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Afghans offered courses at digital university in exile

dpa
Frankfurt
A digital university in exile is to offer Afghan students worldwide a chance to continue their education.
This concept was the focus of a two-day conference attended by representatives of the Afghan education system in the German financial hub Frankfurt on Friday and Saturday.
Participant Sajiya Behgam Amin was an advisor to the Afghan prime minister on women’s and youth issues until August. Like many of her compatriots, she is now in exile, having fled Taliban rule, but she keeps in touch with her former female students at Kabul University by email.
“It’s a mixture of anger, despair, fear for the future,” she told dpa. Many young women are desperate, she said.
Since the hardline Islamist Taliban returned to power in August, most secondary schools for girls have been closed. Many thousands of Afghans have fled.
“In the beginning, many hoped it wouldn’t be so bad, that the Taliban had changed,” said Mohammed Osman Baburi, former president of Kabul University. “And they have changed - for the worse.” He said the situation was reminiscent of the Taliban’s previous rule, “but more catastrophic.” Of the 900 university staff, more than 150 have fled abroad, he said.
“We need to develop a long-term future perspective for Afghanistan in which qualified Afghan professionals play a leading role,” said Kambiz Ghawami, chairman of the World University Service (WUS) in Wiesbaden, which organized the international conference.
“This is the only way to build a democratic society in the country that will last,” he argued.
He said the university should be a “sign of hope for the people in Afghanistan and in the refugee camps.” The digital offer is aimed both at people in exile and at those who cannot continue their studies or academic work in Afghanistan.
Organizers are planning to cooperate with partner universities in Germany and other countries so that students have degrees from two universities.

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