Supporting technical and vocational education and training in Afghanistan

Programme description

Title: Support to technical and vocational education and training in Afghanistan
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Afghanistan
Lead executing agencies: Afghan Ministry of Education / Deputy Ministry of Technical and Vocational Education and Training
Overall term: 2010 to 2020

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Context

An estimated 3.3 million young people in Afghanistan are old enough to start vocational training. According to a study by the Asia Foundation, over 70 per cent of Afghan youths cite unemployment as their biggest problem. But there is insufficient capacity in the country for high-quality vocational training. What is more, few families can manage without their adolescent children contributing to the family income. It is even more difficult for young women to learn a skill or pursue a career because of sociocultural reservations. While around one million young people between the ages of 15 and 19 receive general education in a mainstream school, only 56,000 young adults undergo formal vocational training with a strong theoretical component.

In 2017, around 2,700 teachers were teaching young people at just under 300 state vocational schools throughout the country. However, the majority of the teachers lack professional experience. There is no standardised curriculum content or assessment framework. What is more, the vocational schools are poorly equipped and do not work with business and industry. This results in a situation where young people are completing their formal vocational training without really being able to practice their trade.

An estimated 20 to 30 per cent of the young people undergo traditional vocational training in companies in the informal economy without the support of the state and society. These job entrants often lack the modern technical background knowledge to work effectively and efficiently.

Another 50 per cent of the young people aged between 15 and 19 have never attended a school or have dropped out of school and work as day labourers or street vendors.

Objective

The Afghan education system improves the future prospects of young people by aligning education and training more closely with the labour market and specific target groups and with TVET aspects that are relevant to the economy. The management and governance structures of the Deputy Ministry of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (DM TVET) have been improved.

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Approach

Together with the Deputy Ministry of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (DM TVET), the project will develop initial and further training courses for teachers, final examinations of vocational qualifications, and occupations requiring formal training geared to the needs of the economy which will be tried out at 51 pilot schools. The project will provide the pilot schools with the necessary equipment for practical training. Training courses will enable the employees at the Deputy Ministry – with involvement of the education authorities at provincial level – to improve their administrative and management skills.

Apprentices, skilled workers and owners of companies in the informal sector will be provided with access to modern technology and contemporary knowledge at four pilot schools. Apprentices who were in mainstream education until year nine and obtained the relevant school-leaving diploma will be offered a three-year work-based learning course leading to a qualification equivalent to full-time vocational training.

Ustad Shagerdi Apprentice Exam Day in Kabul

Results

More than 9,000 apprentices – 25.4 per cent of them women – completed a four-week internship at Afghan companies in 2017. Courses in educational theory and practice for teachers were further developed at pilot schools. Almost 8,000 teachers benefited from these between 2014 and 2017. The master trainers required for these courses received prior training in seminars, with 83 master trainers (approximately 20 per cent women) duly qualifying by 2017.

Since the end of 2014, all 34 provinces have been working intensively with the education authorities responsible for vocational education and training at provincial level in order to enable better follow-up of change processes which have been initiated and improvements in the operation of vocational schools in some areas. Strengthened by the input from a total of eight training courses, a joint strategy for quality assurance at school level was developed. It is used for monitoring and evaluation purposes, and touches on areas such as building management, budgeting and the procurement of consumer goods. In addition, eight advanced training courses were held with the heads of the 51 pilot schools, closely related to the problem situations identified by the education authorities.

The first TVET teacher training academy opened in Kabul in 2011 and another one opened in Mazar-i-Sharif in 2012. Nearly 3,400 students had enrolled at both locations by 2017, almost 39 per cent of whom were women. In 2016, 370 students, 47 per cent of whom were women, completed their training.

The agreement for the modernisation of traditional apprenticeship training signed in 2014 between the Deputy Ministry, the Federation of Afghanistan's Craftsmen & Traders and the project will enable more than 500 apprentices to attend vocational school in their second year. Starting in 2017, an institutionalised approach based on initial experiences was tested at four pilot schools which the Afghan government would like to roll out nationwide from 2018 onwards. It is the first time that the contribution of the informal economy to TVET has been recognised by society as a whole and capitalised on for the development of the TVET system.