Modernising university education in Afghanistan’s mining sector

Project description

Title: Consolidating Academic Mining Education in Afghanistan (AMEA)
Commissioned by: German Federal Foreign Office
Country: Afghanistan
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE)
Overall term: 2014 to 2019

Context

Afghanistan possesses a wide variety of natural resources, but has not yet been able to utilise them sufficiently to generate state revenue. One reason for this is the shortage of well-trained technical experts and managers. At present, Afghan universities with mining and geology departments are unable to train these much-needed experts to a high standard. The study programmes are not practice-oriented nor do they focus on labour market needs. After decades of violent conflict, the universities have lost their specialist laboratories, as well as their international contacts. Libraries remain at 1970s standards and many teachers and students have virtually no access to up-to-date knowledge. Teaching methods are also often outdated and the university management lacks international experience and competencies.

Objective

Mining education in Afghanistan has been modernised, providing the Afghan private sector and administrative bodies with trained experts and managers.

Approach

The Academic Mining Education in Afghanistan (AMEA) project advises the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) on introducing standards of quality for courses related to the mining sector. Together with the authorities of Afghanistan’s top universities, they work on modernising university education and revising the four-year undergraduate courses based on international standards, paying particular attention to the needs of Afghan employers. The focus is not only on professional and educational reforms, but also on enhancing practical relevance and providing insights into the specific day-to-day work of the private sector and administrative bodies. Teaching staff are therefore taking part in technical, practical and methodological training sessions both in Afghanistan and abroad. A modern laboratory is also being established at Kabul Polytechnic University (KPU). The project is developing mining-related elective subjects for courses on public administration, economics and law at selected universities, thus extending the training opportunities in the field of raw material extraction. Modernised and practice-based training will improve a graduate’s career prospects and, by developing its own expertise, Afghanistan will become less dependent on external know-how in the extractive sector. In using its own experts the country will be able to organise the extractive sector more sustainably. Through close cooperation with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Freiberg University of Mining and Technology (TU Freiberg), Ruhr University Bochum and universities in Iran and China, both the teachers and students of Afghan universities have access to up-to-date knowledge and innovative teaching methods. In cooperation with Montanuniversität Leoben, 13 teachers from Afghan universities will be able to obtain a master’s degree in mining at TU Freiburg to raise training levels to minimum standards. In particular, trained undergraduate students in their seventh semester will have the opportunity to undertake an internship in Afghanistan or Iran. In addition to winter schools, conferences and symposia on topical issues, the project also includes excursions and practical training measures. Guest lectures at the universities given by representatives from international and national companies will supplement the training programme in future.

Results

A comprehensive academic exchange is now taking place at national and international level. Close cooperation with foreign universities, state-owned and private mining companies, as well as authorities provide a network for the previously isolated Afghan mining departments.

The curricula of five undergraduate courses (open pit mining, underground mining, geology and exploration, exploration of oil and gas mines, hydrogeology and engineering geology) at KPU have been modernised and are going through the accreditation process at MoHE.

A new laboratory for the Geology and Mines Faculty at KPU has been purchased and is awaiting installation.

138 students took part in internship programmes in Iran.

215 teachers participated in training courses and training measures.

358 employees from universities and public authorities attended networking events (conferences, study trips, symposia, etc.).

76 teachers were awarded short-term scholarships and completed further training programmes in Germany.

13 teachers received a scholarship for a Master’s course in Germany, which they will complete in 2018

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