New standards for teaching staff and new curricula are improving school education

Project description

Title: Basic and secondary education programme for Afghanistan (BEPA)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development(BMZ) 
Country: Afghanistan
Lead executing agency: Afghan Ministry of Education (Teacher Education Directorate)
Overall term: 2017 to 2021

Afghanistan. Afghan trainees in a workshop, where they learn to use scientific experiments to illustrate natural phenomena. © GIZ

Context

Afghanistan is in an education crisis. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), 3.7 million school-age children do not attend school, 60 per cent of whom are girls. War and armed conflicts have left deep scars. Overcrowded classrooms in dilapidated school buildings and teachers with little or no training are common in many parts of Afghanistan. The resulting lack of education continues to hamper the country’s development. 70 per cent of women and around half of all men can neither read nor write. 

Nevertheless, the primary school enrolment rate is increasing from year to year. Afghanistan’s education system cannot meet the huge demand for qualified teachers. Although access to school education has improved significantly in the last ten years, pupils in Afghanistan are not receiving adequate education. Lessons are poorly prepared, too theoretical and mainly involve rote learning. Particularly in primary school, only a few children acquire the skills that form the basis for further learning. Teaching staff in higher years also often lack the knowledge needed to put across their subject appropriately as they are either poorly trained or are required to teach subjects they are unfamiliar with.

Objective

Initial and in-service training for teachers is improving in the provinces of Badakhshan, Balkh, Herat, Kabul and Samangan which is in turn increasing the quality of education and pupil achievement.

Afghanistan. Teachers receive training in using student-centred teaching methods. © GIZ

Approach

The project advises the Ministries of Education on reforming teacher training and introducing a diploma course for new primary school teachers. The main focus is on establishing primary school education as a firm fixture and modernising the way subjects are taught at teacher training centres and university teacher education faculties. The priorities are specialist teaching methods, a pupil-centred approach and class and lesson management. Beyond individual disciplines, teaching staff are also to be better trained in gender and human rights issues. 

The project is designed to strengthen the entire education system in order to ensure the quality of teaching. Support is directed at teacher training centres, education authorities and primary and secondary schools so that all those involved can ensure that reform measures are implemented in their institutions and specifically in their lessons for the long term. One of the measures defines the characteristics of good quality teaching and establishes uniform criteria for lesson observations. In order to be able to conduct and evaluate these observations effectively, the project provides appropriate training.

Results

  • In 2018, 20 employees of the Teacher Education Directorate took part in a five-day workshop on curriculum development. 
  • 25 lecturers from teacher training centres were trained as master trainers in learner-centred teaching methodology. 
  • In 2019, 163 lecturers from seven provinces, as well as other teaching staff, attended workshops on learner-centred teaching methodology. 
  • With project support, the Ministry of Education has introduced mandatory in-school placements lasting several weeks for trainee teachers in the final term of their course. 
  • Together with the Teacher Education Directorate, a curriculum for the specialised training of primary school teachers has been developed. 
  • Materials and a training strategy for the subject of peace education are now a compulsory part of teacher training at national level. 
  • The Teacher Education Directorate has adopted a gender strategy and set up gender teams.