On Saturday, April 1, 2023, the BBC launched a new educational program called “Dars” (lesson) aimed at teaching 11- to 16-year-old Afghan students, particularly girls, who have been barred from school. The program is presented in both Farsi and Pashto languages and is available via the BBC Afghanistan satellite, BBC Persian TV broadcasts, BBC radio, and BBC Dari and Pashto Facebook pages.
According to the BBC World Service announcement, the program is presented by four female presenters from BBC Afghanistan: Sahar Rahimi and Aalia Farzan in Persian (Dari), and Shazia Haya and Malaika Ahmadzai in Pashto. In addition, several other female BBC employees also serve as teachers in the program.
This educational program covers topics in mathematics, history, science, information technology, and English language. The contents are taken from the BBC Bitesize, an online study resource for school-age pupils in the United Kingdom.
In response to Nimrokh’s question about why Afghanistan’s education system was not utilized in the program, the BBC stated that “Dars is an educational program aimed at supporting school-age students, and it has been adapted specifically for audiences in Afghanistan. Afghan educators served as consultants for the BBC World Service program to modify and organize pre-existing BBC educational content on important subjects such as mathematics, history, science, information technology, and English Language”.
According to the information provided by the BBC, they are looking forward to further developing the Darsa program as it continues.
The program’s first series, which will feature educational content, current affairs, and inspirational material, will be presented by BBC journalists and run for 12 weeks.
These journalists were evacuated to Britain after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan.
“When I am working on this program, I picture myself as a 16-year-old, and I wish there was a TV program such as Dars back then…,” expressed Shazia Haya, one of the program’s presenters in Pashto. “I hope that, as they study with the help of our program, they also learn that they should not give up on education.”
Aalia Farzan, one of the presenters of the program in Dari, says: “Sometimes I ask myself, if I were a teenage girl in a country where I can’t go to school, wouldn’t I be very happy if someone helped me, if someone came and taught me? It’s such a privilege for me to be able, through Dars, to encourage people to choose their own life. I want to help them believe that one day you can choose what you are going to be.”
Sahar Rahimi, another presenter of the Dars program in Dari, stated that while the program may not fill the gap left by the lack of formal education for Afghan girls, she hopes that it will at least help them maintain hope for the future.
According to the BBC World Service announcement, each half-hour episode of the first series of the program will be broadcast four times a day on various platforms, including the BBC News Afghanistan channel, BBC Persian TV, BBC News Pashto and BBC News Dari Facebook pages, and BBC FM transmitters in Afghanistan. The program is also available on the short and medium waves of the BBC in Afghanistan.
The program’s editor and the BBC World Service News Controller, Fiona Crack expressed her hope that the Dars program would inspire the young audience of this media.
Since the Taliban terrorist group’s takeover of Afghanistan, they have banned girls above the sixth grade from attending school and have also prohibited women from going to universities and private educational centers.
In response to this ban, many online schools have been established to educate girls in Afghanistan, and numerous teachers have volunteered to teach various subjects to female students in these schools.