Ahfad University for Women is a privatewomen’s university in Omdurman, Sudan that was founded in 1966, by Yusuf Badri, son of the Mahdist soldier Babiker Badri. The university began with only 23 students and 3 teachers. It was the first Sudanese women’s college. The current president is Dr. Gasim Badri, Yusuf Badri’s son.
History of Ahfad University for Women
Ahfad University for Women is the direct result of the steadfast vision of two men, Sheik Babiker Badri (1860 – 1954) and Professor Yousif Badri (1912-1995). Sheik Babiker combined the traditional Islamic devotion to learning with his own- then radical -notion of providing secular education in addition to religious instruction for both boys and girls. Babiker Badri established the first secular school for girls in Sudan at Rufa’a in 1907. In 1951, the Ahfad Girls’ Intermediate School was established in Omdurman, and in 1955, his son Yousif Badri established the Ahfad Girls’ Secondary School. Ahfad University College for Women was later founded at the School’s sites in Omdurman in 1966. The Ministry of Education granted the new College the right to confer diploma certificates upon completion of its four-year program.
In 1984, an act of the National Council for Higher Education authorized Ahfad University College for Women to confer Bachelor of Sciences and Bachelor of Arts degrees. In 1995, the President of the Republic signed a decree to elevate the college to University status which was named Ahfad University for Women (AUW).
The University is situated in Omdurman, Sudan. Spreading over around 80,000 square meters, the campus has 21 buildings, including faculty and administrative buildings, one library, and the Medical Center.
The Ahfad University for Women was founded in a familial tradition of educating girls in Sudan. After the battle of 1898 when Sudanese Mahdist forces were defeated by the Anglo-Egyptian Army, Babiker Badri — a Sudanese survivor — settled in the village of Rufu’a. It was there that he opened a secular school for boys. In 1904, he asked the British authorities for permission to open an elementary school for girls — who he believed also needed to be educated. His request was denied twice, before it was finally granted by James Currie, the Director of the Educational Department of the British administration in Sudan. In 1907, Babiker Badri opened his secular school for girls in a mud hut with nine of his own daughters along with eight neighborhood girls.
The Badri family carried on this tradition of private education for three generations in Sudan. Babiker’s son Yusuf established Ahfad University in 1966, and it started with only 23 students and three faculty members, including Yusuf.
The university was granted full university status in 1995 by the Sudan National Council for Higher Education, due to its expansion of curriculum and student body. It is the oldest and largest private university in Sudan to date.
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