Modern teacher training in Afghanistan

Teacher training is vital to a modern Afghan society. The professionalisation of training improves the career prospects of young Afghans.

Learning to read and write is key in determining an individual’s life prospects, but it cannot be taken for granted everywhere. In Afghanistan, about nine million children go to school; more than one in three are girls. While only half of all young Afghans attend secondary school, almost all children receive primary education. However, they have not previously been taught by teachers trained to impart basic reading and writing skills. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is therefore developing a course for primary school teachers. ‘It is not appropriate for children to be taught to read and write by teachers of other subjects,’ explains Dieter Goepfert. He is managing the project in collaboration with the Ministry of Education in Afghanistan.

There is a great need for this sort of teacher training: when the Taliban regime ended in 2001, many more children were suddenly able to go to school and the need for teachers therefore rose sharply. The Afghan Ministry of Education had to train a large number of teachers in a short time, and it has done this by running courses at teacher training colleges that last just two years. To enable teachers to continue developing their educational and teaching skills, GIZ and the Afghan Ministry of Education have also developed further training courses for primary school teachers of science and mathematics. So far, more than 22,000 teachers have received basic and/or further training. Courses for teachers of other subjects are currently being developed.

The training of teachers is making an important contribution to improving the career prospects of young Afghans and enabling them to find a way out of poverty. ‘The initial qualification can be gained after the 9th grade and it opens the door to formal vocational training. Most boys use the qualification as a starting point for learning a trade, such as joinery or welding. For girls the opportunities for real vocational training are significantly more limited,’ explains Goepfert. Typical jobs for women are still sewing and carpet weaving. With a school-leaving qualification, girls have better prospects to enter higher-qualified professions.

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