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Washington State University Afghan eQuality Alliances Project. January 25, 2011. Afghan eQuality Alliances. Afghan eQuality Alliances (AeQA) was a USAID-funded project of Washington State University to help build the capacity of higher education institutions in Afghanistan.
Washington State University Afghan eQuality Alliances Project January 25, 2011
Afghan eQuality Alliances • Afghan eQuality Alliances (AeQA)was a USAID-funded project of Washington State University to help build the capacity of higher education institutions in Afghanistan. • The goal of the project was to provide equal access to quality education and e-education resources for faculty members and students. • AeQA partnered with Ministry of Higher Education, Afghan public universities, U.S. and international universities, and other organizations to implement activities and achieve project outcomes. • Total funding for the project was $12.3 million USD. • The project started on June 16, 2006 and completed operations on December 31, 2010. • Selected activities will continue under a new Afghan eLearning English Support Project (AeLESP) funded by the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.
AeQA: Program Areas • Master’s in Public Policy and Administration Program at Kabul University • Study Abroad Programs at UW and WSU • Alternate Programs at Kabul University and the Asian Institute of Management • Graduate Degree Programs in engineering, international studies, public administration, and computerscience • Graduate Certificate Programs in engineering and geosciences • Study tours to the U.S. and third countries • Afghan Next Generation eLearning (ANGeL) Centers. • IT courses • English courses • eLearning training • Internet access at selected public universities • Selection, cataloguing, and bar-coding of library materials • Access to online databases and electronic journals • Training programs for library staff, professors, and students • Infrastructure development
AeQA: Results Baseline Currently 7 ANGeL Centers established at Kabul University, Kabul Polytechnic University, Balkh University, Herat University, Nangarhar University, Sheikh Zayed University, and Kandahar University 3 ANGeL Centers at Kabul Medical University and the Faculties of Education at Herat University and Balkh University were transferred to the AED Higher Education Project in 2010 AeQA ANGeL Centers have trained more than 1,500 faculty members (>30% of all faculty members) and 10,000 students in basic IT and English language programs Internet access provided at 7 public universities where AeQA is active via local Internet Service Providers and the NATO Silk Afghanistan Network • Few training centers or programs for IT or English language instruction were available on university campuses in Kabul or in the provinces • Low level of IT and English language skills among faculty members and students • No Internet access on university campuses; many professors and students had never used the Internet before
AeQA: Results Baseline Currently 35 professors from Herat University, Kabul University, and Kabul Polytechnic University have completed or will complete graduate programs in the U.S. or other countries by 2011 Implemented the Master’s in Public Policy Administration (MPPA) Program at Kabul University 60 junior and mid-career government and NGO professionals graduated from the MPPA Program and received Master’s Degrees in December, 2010 58 professors from Kabul University trained as MPPA thesis advisors and readers More than 20,000 hardcopy materials selected and catalogued at Kabul University Library AeQA partnered with more than 35 organizations in the U.S. and other countries to build the capacity of higher education institutions in Afghanistan • Few Afghan professors had Master’s Degrees or had completed graduate-level study abroad programs • No Master’s in Public Policy and Administration Program in Afghanistan • Low level of capacity among government and public sector employees • KU professors had limited experience advising graduate students • Hardcopy materials at university libraries were not catalogued or organized • Few linkages existed between Afghan higher education institutions and universities or organizations in the U.S. and third countries
“When I started teaching, I was told not to be nice to the students or they would make trouble for you. Not listen to what you say. Now I know that I don’t have to be so harsh. I enjoy teaching more now.” Professor of Engineering and AeQA Merit ScholarKabul University
MahsaKhatibi, Professor of Engineering, Herat UniversityMaster’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Ohio University “When I was a student, the professor would give us an assignment and then go to his office. He only checked our work at the end of class. I try to help my students as much as I can. I help students who are having problems, and I give extra work to students when they finish early.”
Merit Scholar Programs: Results Afghan professors who participated in USAID-funded Merit Scholar Programs: • Are able to update critical professional and technical skills. • Correct deficiencies in undergraduate coursework and take new graduate-level courses. • Participate in modern teaching and learning environments. • Improve English language skills: listening comprehension, speaking, and technical writing. • Can audit courses at no additional expense to universities or donors. • Integrate into regular campus environment. • Take classes with other U.S. and international students. • Access to libraries, field work, and laboratory equipment. • Learn about American culture and society. • Benefit from formal and informal “faculty-to-faculty” exchanges in the U.S. • Afghan professors received extra materials including lecture notes, course syllabi, textbooks, PowerPoint presentations, and online resources that they use to create new courses when they return to Afghanistan. • Are able to develop new curricula more quickly and more easily. • New Faculty of Computer Science established at Kabul University. (2008) • New Architecture and Mechatronics Programs proposed at Herat University. (Proposed, 2011) • New Transportation Program in Civil Engineering at Kabul University. (Proposed, 2011) • Updated or are updating more than 40 existing courses. • Created or are creating more than 12 new courses. • Collaborate with other Afghan faculty members and universities. • Engineering Development Conference at Herat University (July, 2010). • Afghanistan National Engineering Policy Workshop at Kabul University (August, 2010).
Merit Scholar Programs: Challenges • Low English levels • Weak academic and technical backgrounds • Communication issues between partners and students • Different academic terms and schedules • Family pressures • Security situation • Absconders • Distance learning models have been problematic • Teaching responsibilities • Registration difficulties • Shipping textbooks/customs • Oversight and advising
Merit Scholar Programs: Lessons Learned • Many professors require additional English language preparation before they begin their graduate studies • Pre-departure advising can help but does not eliminate adjustment issues • Coordination/academic advising is a critical component for success – need someone to keep students on track and monitor their progress • Need engaged and committed university partners • Faculty-to-faculty exchanges impact how new knowledge is learned and applied when participants return to Afghanistan • Afghan professors also benefit from their experience as graduate students • Positive changes in course development and institutional capacity start to occur before faculty members return to their teaching positions • Distance learning programs should be refined before expanding to other areas
2. MPPA Program: Overview • Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Administration at Kabul University • Designed to teach practical skills and build the capacity of junior and mid-career professionals in the Afghan government and non-governmental organizations • 62 MPPA candidates (21% female) • (8 ACSI employees) • (42 Afghan government employees) • (18 NGO employees) • Structure: 10 core courses, 2-3 month study abroad program in the U.S., and thesis requirement with original research • English medium of instruction • International and Afghan instructors • Study abroad programs at the University of Washington or Washington State University • Alternate Programs at Asian Institute of Management in the Philippines and Kabul University in Afghanistan for students who couldn’t study in the U.S. • Master’s Degree granted by Kabul University
MPPA Study Abroad Program at Washington State University4th of July Parade in Pullman, WA “If I am a good leader or a good organizer, it is because of this program. I think of the lessons that I have learned in class when I am discussing policy or in meetings at the ministry.” (MPPA Student)
MPPA Program: Results MPPA Skills In Practice(Survey of MPPA candidates) Job Promotion and Career Advancement 80% of MPPA candidates report that they have received a promotion, new job, or increased work responsibilities as a result of their participation in the MPPA Program. 62% of MPPA candidates report that they have conducted training at their workplace based on course content or skills acquired in the MPPA Program. • 90% Strategic Planning • 86% Policy Analysis and Development • 79% Human Resources Management • 79% Monitoring and Evaluation • 79% Data Analysis • 72% Critical Thinking • 68% Program Design • 62% Gender Equity Issues • 55% Financial Management • 45% Economic Development
MPPA Program: Sample Thesis Paper Topics • The Impact of Foreign Aid in Afghanistan Since 2001 • The State of Regulation of Medical Practice in Afghanistan • Domestic Violence Against Women: A GoIRA Policy Analysis • The Effect of Public Reform and the New Pay and Grade System in the Ministry of Public Works • The Coordination of Food Security in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock • Strategies to Increase the Income of Small Business Owners in Afghanistan • An Impact Study of Afghan Civil Service Institute Training Methodology on the Civil Service of Afghanistan
MPPA Program: Challenges • No Faculty of Management at Kabul University • Few public administration instructors at KU • Administration of degree • Sustainability issues • Inadequate AeQA staffing at the start of the program • Length of student time in the program • Selection of MPPA students • Screening and prerequisites • English language requirement • Study abroad component • Visa applications • Absconders • Thesis requirement • Limited research experience of students and advisors
MPPA Program: Lessons Learned • Training of faculty advisors is essential • Thesis process should be structured and monitored • Hiring of full-time Program Manager, Program Coordinator, and KU Faculty Liaison positions • Admissions process was redesigned in partnership with KU and MoHE • Short, intensive courses: pros and cons • High-intensity management is advantageous to students • Ongoing instruction in research methodology and English is necessary
3. Digital Libraries: Overview • Implemented through a subgrant with University of Arizona Library (UAL) • Provided training, technical support, and resources to develop the technical and professional capacity of Afghan librarians to work with an open source, open code digital libraries platform and to catalog open content and educational materials that all Afghan universities can share and use
“I used to use Google, but digital library sites like HINARI make it easier to find good information.” Professor of GeologyKabul University
Library Staff MemberKabul University Central Library “Now we have a modern library. We can check out books and use computers to help students find the materials they need for their classes.”
Digital Libraries: Results • Created digital library reference guides and tutorials in English and Dari • Translated 14 Library and Information Science course modules into Dari for Afghan university libraries • Scanned and digitized 34 volumes in The Afghanistan Yearbook or DaAfghanistan Kalany (Kalani) from 1932-1990 • Negotiated free access to scholarly materials from various vendors valued at over $200,000 per year • Introduced the Library of Congress system at Kabul University and Kabul Polytechnic University • Trained 97 faculty members and 168 students to use digital libraries, scholarly journals, and online databases • Trained 23 library personnel from seven Afghan public universities to use the KOHA open source Integrated Library System • Selected and catalogued more than 20,000 bibliographic entries at Kabul University Library and 1,000 entries at Kabul Polytechnic University Library
Digital Libraries: Challenges • Lack of trained library personnel • Lack of awareness about library and information sciences • Fragmented funding/resource environment • Lack of computers and Internet access on campus and at university libraries • Moving from training to implementation cannot be assumed • Access to resources does not automatically lead to their adoption or use
Digital Libraries: Lessons Learned • Need full-time Afghan coordinator to oversee in-country training and development activities • Expertise in library science/Master’s in Library Science (MLS) Degree is critical • Short training programs can be effective • Long-term project with long-term benefits • Need to build capacity of library staff and universities to sustain the digital libraries programs
4. ANGeL Centers: Overview • Classes for professors, university staff members, and students • Emphasis on female participants • All classes are free and voluntary • Focus on basic and intermediate skills • Use open source software (Ubuntu, OpenOffice, and Chisimba) • Internet access and open labs for faculty members and students • Transitioned to the International Computer Driver’s License (ICDL) testing and training curriculum in March, 2010 • Other courses include: • eLearning • Digital Libraries • Auto-CAD • Medical IT • Server Management • Web Design • Web Development with Joomla • Computer-based English
“Some people say you are lazy if you use a computer for calculations, but it is not true.” Professor of PhysicsKabul Polytechnic University
Hamida, Professor of Biology and Pharmacy, Kabul UniversityANGeL Center Courses: OpenOfficeWriter, Presentation, and Internet Skills “Now I can make presentations and course materials for my students, and I can get specific information from the Internet in Dari and English much easier.”
Number of ANGeL Center Completions by Quarter(Includes participants who completed more than one training in the fiscal year) Improved data collectionbeginning in Quarter 14
2010 AeQA Survey of Faculty Members • 55% of faculty members (384/704) have taken at least one class at an ANGeL Center. • 22% of faculty members (157/704) have taken at least one IT or English class offered by another organization on campus. • 15% of faculty members (109/704) have taken at least one IT or English class offered by an “off campus” location.
Faculty members who took ANGeL Center classes reported better IT skills than their peers Direction of Change
Survey Findings: Faculty members who used ANGeL Centers were: More likely to use MS Word or OpenOffice Writer to … More likely to use MS Excel or OpenOffice Calc to … Keep track of student grades (34% vs. 21%) Do other work (19% vs. 15%) • Make reading assignments for students (52% vs. 42%) • Make quizzes and tests for students (62% vs. 48%) • Write official letters or documents (46% vs. 36%) • Do other work (35% vs. 33%) More likely to use MS PowerPoint or OpenOffice Presentation to … More likely to use e-mail applications to … • Communicate with other lecturers and colleagues at work (60% vs. 45%) • Communicate with students (38% vs. 31%) • Give presentations in class (45% vs. 39%) • Give presentations at meetings or conferences (37% vs. 34%)
ANGeL Centers: Lessons Learned • Continue IT and English courses for faculty members • Digital libraries • Advanced IT courses • English for Specific Purposes • Minimum TOEFL scores and preparation courses for faculty members who want to study abroad • Continue IT and English courses for students • Computer Assisted Language Learning • Open Source Software can provide effective, affordable, and adaptable tools for IT teaching and learning • More high-speed Internet access for faculty members and students on university campuses