Quality education for Afghanistan's students

Project description

Title: Basic Education Programme for Afghanistan
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Afghanistan
Lead executing agency: Afghan Ministry of Education
Overall term: 2010 to 2014

Basic Education Programme for Afghanistan. Young Afghan schoolboy writing on the blackboard. © GIZ

Under the Taliban regime, the Afghan education system was almost completely destroyed. There has been remarkable success in recent years in rebuilding it. More than eight million children, of whom over three million are girls, now attend schools providing a general education. They are taught by about 200,000 teachers.

However, nearly half the children and young people of school age still do not attend school, and only about a quarter of the teachers have the requisite qualifications. For the coming years, more than 110,000 additional teachers are still needed for primary and secondary schools.

The quality and relevance of basic education have improved in the course of implementing the National Education Strategic Plan for Afghanistan (NESP II 2010-14 and its updated version to 2018).

On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), GIZ is supporting the Afghan Ministry of Education in implementing its National Education Strategic Plan.

The Basic Education Programme for Afghanistan (BEPA) contributes to improving the quality and relevance of general education and is engaged in four priority provinces of German Development Cooperation in Afghanistan: Badakhshan, Balkh, Kunduz and Takhar, as well as Sar-e-Pul. In these five Northern provinces, the programme supports a total of six Teacher Training Colleges (TTCs) and 43 Satellite TTCs with 580 lecturers (21% female) and 15,100 students (65% female), as well as 41 experimental schools with 2,770 teachers (71% female) and 88,300 students (47% female). More than 1.4 million students in 2,300 schools benefit from programme activities.

In the context of a co-financing agreement with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) focusing on the provinces of Balkh, Badakhshan and Takhar, BEPA also supports girls’ education and the promotion of women in teacher education. The teachers at nine girls’ schools (318 teachers, 86% female and 11,300 female students), and five Islamic Education Institutions (73 teachers, 41% female and 2,050 students, 52% female) received training in methodology and pedagogy, maths and science in 2013. The parent-teacher committees of the girls’ schools also benefited from BEPA’s activities in the region. Their 138 members – 42 of whom were women (approx. 30%) – participated in workshops on gender awareness and school development and implemented school development plans. Gender-awareness campaigns reached over 8,000 community members in six districts.

Results achieved so far
The programme advises the Education Ministry on implementing the second National Education Strategic Plan (NESP II). BEPA has submitted a detailed commentary on the draft of the third National Education Strategic Plan (NESP III).

BEPA provided the Ministry of Education with extensive strategic support in designing a comparative learning assessment study. The study was piloted in 2013 and is being implemented by the Education Quality Improvement Program (EQUIP) of the Ministry of Education.

Between 2010 and 2012, a total of 31,341 student teachers completed their studies at a teacher training college (44.3% women). An additional 39,047 teachers without qualifications already working in schools (34.3% women) completed their course of study, so that they now fulfil the minimum requirements for teachers.

Towards the end of 2011, 95.4% of the student teachers who registered for the final exam successfully completed their course of study.

In 2012, 17,531 women began their studies at a teacher training college. This represents a 55% increase in the number of female enrolments over the previous year. No reliable figures are yet available for 2013, but the Education Ministry states that 19,500 new enrolments is a realistic estimate.

From 2009 to 2011, more than 90% of the 175,105 teachers (33% women) passed the nationally administered teacher’s competency test.

The skills and effectiveness of the Teacher Education Directorate have been strengthened. Teacher education curricula developed with the programme's support are being used in all teacher training colleges and making a substantial contribution to improving teaching quality.

Teaching practicums for student teachers in schools have been supported to provide future teachers with teaching experience. The schedule has been optimised and new materials developed. In 2013, more than 3,000 student teachers (77% women) participated in teaching internships lasting several weeks. A manual with a follow-up training cycle is currently being drawn up for nationwide implementation.

In cooperation with UNESCO, an accredited course on peace education and human rights has been developed. The curriculum was drawn up, translated into Dari and reviewed by the lecturers working in teacher training colleges. A team of core trainers is currently being trained for nationwide implementation.

BEPA supported the development of a gender strategy for the Teacher Education Directorate and the establishment of a gender team. Workshops on gender awareness and gender mainstreaming have been implemented for the staff of the Ministry of Education to qualify them as trainers and multipliers in their own working units.

The programme is also involved in developing an accredited course on gender and human rights for teacher education in the teacher training colleges.

The support in six districts in three northern provinces to implement the gender strategy of the Teacher Education Directorate includes training sessions for lecturers at teacher training colleges, girls’ secondary and Islamic schools, as well for community and parent-teacher committee members. It also supported 20 educational institutions by supplying them with teaching and learning materials, including computers, materials for science experiments, furniture, library equipment and energy supply.

To mobilise community support, more than 8,000 people were sensitised regarding girls' education using various formats such as gender days at schools, roundtable discussions in the communities and speeches after Friday prayers in mosques.

School boards have been trained in developing quality improvement plans. They have successfully implemented their initial activities with an emphasis on gender equality in cooperation with the school administrations.

Basic Education Programme for Afghanistan. Afghan girl at school. © GIZ


Elke Krause-Hannak