Pajhwok Afghan News, Feb.23, 2006

In Herat, curbs on sports perturb girl students

"Just like my school subjects and lessons, I evince a keen interest in games too"

By Sattar, CIJ Workshop Trainee in Herat

HERAT CITY, Feb 23 (Pajhwok Afghan News): Girl students in the western Herat province grumble in spite of their enthusiasm they are not allowed by school administrations to do take part in sports and recreational activities.

As a result, they are left with no option but to join private sport clubs. But the director of the provincial education department says there is no hitch in female sports if Islamic veil (hejab) is observed and appropriate playgrounds are provided to schools.

Farima Saddiqi (17), a student of 11th class at the Amir Ali Sher-i-Nawai High School, told Pajhwok Afghan News, just like other students, she considered sports an integral part of her daily routine. However, she is upset by restrictions placed on her by the school authorities.

"Just like my school subjects and lessons, I evince a keen interest in games too, but reluctance on the part of the administration is the spoil-sport," remarks Siddiqi. Nasima, another student, also laments: "Since the school administration has imposed curbs on female sports, we have to go out and join private clubs."

The provincial education department director contends: "Naturally, girl students would be prevented from sports at schools lacking appropriate recreational areas that conform to the Afghan culture." He maintains almost 24 volleyball and basketball courts were built, especially for girl athletes, last year and also they can use the larger city gymnasium, with a capacity for 5,000 spectators.


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