Quality education for Afghanistan
Title: Basic education programme for Afghanistan (BEPA)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Education
Overall term: 2010 to 2016
Overcrowded classrooms in dilapidated school buildings; teachers with insufficient training: a common situation in many places in northern Afghanistan. Between 2003 and 2013, the number of children enrolled in schools increased from nearly four million to over nine million, and girls now account for nearly 40 per cent of enrolled pupils. Net primary school enrolment stands at 74 per cent for girls and 98 per cent for boys, according to government statistics for 2010. This great expansion is posing a challenge for the education system, which lacks buildings, resources and, most importantly, qualified teachers. There are currently 200,000 teachers teaching around nine million students. The country needs to train about 100,000 more teachers – especially female teachers – by 2020, in order to deliver modern education of appropriate quality.
The Afghan Ministry of Education has created the conditions for high quality teacher training.
This programme supports the Afghan Ministry of Education’s teacher training department in its efforts to build up the capacity to impart learner-centred teaching methods, with a special focus on mathematics and science. It also assists with the development of teacher training curriculums for peace education, gender studies and the teaching of early grades. To introduce the student teachers to the practical work of teaching, the programme has established a system of nine-week work experience placements in a number of schools. This takes place in the final year of each teacher’s education. At present, the programme and its partners are designing a strategy for standardising such practical placements around the country.
Trainers at the five teacher training colleges in northern Afghanistan participate in additional courses in pedagogy, methodology, mathematics and science. They then pass on their enhanced knowledge to their own students. At the same time, the Ministry’s teacher training department is developing a certified course on gender equality. In conjunction with UNESCO, the programme and its national partners have also developed a course on peace education, which is being introduced in all teacher training establishments as of 2015.
The programme partners are now preparing to use a careers information component to give secondary school pupils insights into the world of work, and to help them make informed decisions on their future careers. This programme is being developed by the consulting firm GFA.
In Takhar Province, with financial support from the Swiss Government, the programme is focusing on the promotion of education for girls. It provides training for teachers and for parent-teacher associations at girls’ schools, and it provides local subsidies to improve the safety of schools. With better safety, more parents are willing to send their daughters to school.
The programme is mainly active in the provinces of Badakhshan, Takhar, Kunduz, Balkh und Samangan, as well as at the national level in Kabul. In special areas, such as peace education, it also pursues objectives nationwide.
Between 2010 and 2013, around the country, more than 45,000 students completed studies at a teacher training college. More than 50 per cent of these were women. In addition, nearly 55,000 unqualified teachers, over a third of them women, completed in-service training to acquire basic teaching skills. In 2013, nearly 22,000 women began studies at a teacher training college. This represents a further 23 per cent increase in the number of female enrolments over the previous year, following a rise of 55 per cent in 2012.
In the five teacher training colleges supported by BEPA, more than 4,000 students – almost 90 per cent of fourth-semester students – successfully completed their studies in 2013. Nearly two thirds of these graduates were women.
All the student teachers successfully completed practical teaching placements – an increase of 80 per cent on the previous year – and they expressed their great appreciation of the system.
In 2014, the five teacher training colleges piloted the new course on peace education. In 2015, it is being rolled out for use throughout the country.
In 2013 and 2014 over 700 people, including provincial education officials, national level master trainers and staff from of the Teacher Education Department, took part in further training courses. One third of these were women.
A draft strategy for integrating career guidance approaches for grades 9 to 7 has been completed and will be tested in ten schools from the end of 2015.
In order to promote girls’ education, teachers at general educational and Islamic teaching institutions in three provinces received training and advice on teaching mathematics and science subjects, and for dealing with parent-teacher councils. The result was greater community awareness and support for girls’ education and higher levels of retention at the upper secondary level.