Bans Don’t Work in an Open World: Afghan Women Find Educational Opportunities in Bangladesh

Silver Lining for Learning

Feb 18 2023 • 1 hr 6 mins

Since the Taliban took over Afghanistan in 2021, higher education has become increasingly limited for young women and often suspended and banned. According to a January 24, 2023 article in Inside Higher Ed, Reviving the College Dreams of Afghan Women, by Liam Knox, there are several initiatives currently underway to help Afghani women get access to educational opportunities, from online experiences at the University of the People to residential ones at higher education institutions in the United States like Arizona State University (see “61 young Afghan women arrive to begin new life as Sun Devils” ASU News, December 16, 2021 and the ASU Foundation for Afghan refugees). Enter the Asian University for Women in which has opened its doors to Afghani women to come to Chittagong, Bangladesh and enroll in a Master’s of Arts in Education. The Asian University of has Women Teaching Women, Women Learning from Women (WTW-WLW) initiative that is intended to nurture the next generation of woman leaders through a network of secondary schools for young women and girls who are refugees and located in displaced communities (website).

The Asian University for Women (AUW) Masters of Arts in Education is a unique program launched with aspirations to empower women in education, particularly the brightest young female reformists/educational entrepreneurs dedicated to creating an impact through educational development and their leadership in society. The majority of the students are Afghan evacuees and/or belong to minority communities seeking reform in education. As Israt Jahan Oeeshi, a Teaching Fellow in the Graduate Program in Education at AUW, explains, “I chose this particular program to begin my academic career because it allows me to improve my pedagogical skills and provides me with a purpose: assisting an exceptional cohort of students.” Attend this episode of Silver Lining for Learning and learn firsthand from the Founder of AUW, Kamal Ahmad, as well as one of the instructors, Dr. Stefanie Panke, and three Afghani graduate students who had been evacuated with the help of Asian University for Women in 2021 and are currently in a Master’s of Education program in Chittagong, Bangladesh. All their bios are below. They will discuss their class project with Dr. Panke which was a Pressbook titled “Strong Schools.”