Support Nonviolent Protests for Reforms
Eventually, hunger strike of Kabul University students forced the officials of Higher Education Ministry to act and dismiss the dean of the Social Science Faculty of Kabul University. Yet, the protest is not over and the students are pressing for more reforms in the higher education system of Afghanistan.
As the strike is being extended to its eighth day, hundreds of academics, writers, artists and poets have joined with thousands of other students across Afghanistan to support the move for reforms in Afghanistan’s higher education system. Though, many doubted the move in initially, but eventually is proving to be successful and a right move as many civil organizations and academics join the civil protest to pressurize government officials for reforms in the universities of Afghanistan.
The move by the Ministry of Higher Education in removing the dean of the faculty is a right decision, but too late. The ministry should have acted more decisively and in time to respond to the right demands of the students. Now, as the dean of the Social Science Faculty is dismissed, the students seem more resolved for fundamental reforms in the higher education system. Perhaps, this is the main cause for extensive support to the strikers in various cities of the country and many civil organizations. Hopefully, as the protest for reforms are taking momentum, the government and officials at the Ministry of Higher Education is facing more pressures to take measures for far-reaching and long-term developments in the educational system.
The common narrative about the universities among students is that the system of higher education in Afghanistan is outdated and non-standard, while behaviors of professors are far from being based on academic standards. Perhaps, this is one of the main reasons behind the failure of higher education system in Afghanistan. During the last decade, many other sectors have been transformed but the higher education is underdeveloped and are systematic failures in the system to an extend that it is not able to produce the professionals that Afghanistan helplessly needs.
Maybe there are many flaws in the move for reforms by Kabul University students. But what is clear is that it is a civil protest and their demand the way they are protesting is democratic and rational.
The protestors believe in Afghanistan’s democratic system, the constitution, democracy and equality. So, the motives of the hunger strikers are based on the collective values that we all have to cherish. Obviously, what we need, among many, is that to express our protests in a civilized manner and to abide by the constitution and the national interests of Afghanistan. For this, everyone has to support such peaceful moves that eventually result in a more tolerant and non-violent society.
In addition to the civil organizations, the national and privately-owned televisions can play a crucial role in supporting the peaceful protests to nurture a culture based on non-violent methods for expressing protests and raising demands.
The government needs to not lose the opportunity to heed non-violent street protests. In the past, we have seen many violent demonstrations leading to deaths and destructions. But enough is enough. The government desperately needs to support peaceful and democratic protests and implement bold measures for long-standing reforms in the higher education system of Afghanistan.