An Afghan town gets its first female high-school graduates

Mujib Mashal – Al Jazeera America – Thursday, 13 February 2014 (originally 08 Feb)

Old Aqcha first female graduating class
The first female graduates in the history of Old Aqcha pose with the school’s founder, Mohamed Ishaq, back row, third from right, and the school’s current principal, Mohamed Ibrahim, back row, fourth from right. Image: Mujib Mashal

OLD AQCHA, Afghanistan — Twelve years ago, Mohamed Ishaq — “Ishaq, the teacher,” as he is known — gave two rooms in his house to start a girls’ school in this small village in northern Jawzjan province. He moved his family to the remaining two rooms.

By 2008, the number of students had grown to more than 150, and the girls’ school was relocated to the campus of the local boys’ high school. Now the school operates in two shifts: The boys are taught in the morning, and the 620 female students are taught in the afternoon by eight teachers, six of them male and two female.

On a cold morning this December, the female school graduated its first class of 16 girls; for the first time in its history, the village had female high school graduates. But the historic occasion was overshadowed by the boy’s graduation that day . . .

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