Susan Wardak Delhi, India MINISTRY OF EDUCATION Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Providing Access to Education Opportunities in Afghanistan October 24-26, 2007
Outline • Our commitments to Education • What are the key challenges to provision of access to education opportunities in Afghanistan • Tackling the challenges and achievement so far • How to approach quality education for all in Afghanistan
Our Commitments to Education Education is the right of all citizens of Afghanistan, which shall be offered up to BA level in the State educational institutes free of charge by the State. Article 43 of the 1382 Constitution Islamic Republic of Afghanistan “By 2020 all children in Afghanistan, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary education.” Afghanistan’s MDG for Education By 1389 (2010) • Net enrolment rate for boys and girls in primary grades will be at least 75% and 60% respectively. • Female teachers will be increased by 50%. • A new curriculum will be operational in secondary schools • 70% of teachers will pass a national competency test • National annual testing system for students will be in place Afghanistan Compact
What are the key challenges to providing access to education opportunities • Even though, student enrollment increased 500% (from 900,000 to over 6.4 million) since 2002, still more than half of the school-age children are still out of school and majority of them are girls; • Only 40% of our schools have buildings. Thousands of communities have no easy access to schools and even out of that only 25% of schools have usable buildings and most schools remain under tents or the open sky • Only 22% of the over 143,000 teachers had the minimum qualification of grade fourteen. Around 10% of teachers, who were teaching students, have no education at all. Around 38% had less than 12 years of schooling. More than 65% of teachers are untrained or unqualified
What are the key challenges to providing access to education opportunities • An estimated 11 million Afghans are illiterate. • Insecurity is a major challenge, education is used both as a target and as a tool for terrorist acts. • Since April 2006, a total of 244 schools have been burned to the ground, 342 schools have become non-operational due to direct threats to the security of property, children and staff. • Total of 145 school children, teachers, administrators and support staff have lost their lives so far.Not a day goes by when a security incident is not reported to the Ministry of Education.
What are the key challenges to providing access to education opportunities There continues to be open threats to kill teachers. A bounty of Afs 50,000 (US$1,000) for every female teacher and Afs 25,000 (US$500) for male teacher killed was announced through night letters recently in certain parts of the country. The Ministry of Education reports in its log that threats to kidnap students have led to the closure of schools in 5 provinces. MoE is attempting to tackle this problem - Temporary classroom tents are being immediately provided - When school is closed, MOE staff show up to talk to communities, mobilize and raise awareness
The Un-developed Capacity Capacity is defined as the ability of individuals and organizations or organizational units to perform functions effectively, efficiently and sustainable. This definition implies that capacity is not a passive state but part of a continuing process. Provision of several rounds training along proved in effective beyond any doubts
Key challenges to capacity development Internal or external demands to produce quick results interfere with long term needs for capacity development. Even with a minimum role for the government as non-implementing body, capacity development is vital for not only achieving quality “education for all” but also for sustaining education programs essential for reconstruction and development
First step before we embarked on tackling the challenges The development of a National Education Strategy Plan (Five Years) which has been endorsed by all stakeholders and is being implemented right now. Vision for Education in the NESP: To facilitate the development of a vibrant human capital by providing equal access to quality education for all and enable our people to participate and contribute productively to the development and economic growth of our country.
Eight priority programs • General Education (To ensure equal access to quality education for all school age children regardless of gender, ethnicity or religion) • Curriculum Development (To develop a quality modern national curriculum for primary and secondary schools built on Islamic principals that meets regional and international standards) • Teacher Education (To build a national cadre of qualified school teachers to improve the learning achievement for all students) • Islamic Education (To develop a modern broad based Islamic education system for all Afghans)
Eight priority programs • Technical/Vocational Education (To provide relevant and quality technical and vocational education opportunities for male and female Afghans in marketable skills for use in country and in the region). • Literacy & Non Formal Education (To develop a long-term literacy programme to empower communities and individuals to build a productive, secure & literate nation) • Education Infrastructure Development (To provide conducive learning environment and workspace for all students, teachers and education administrators) • Education Administration Reform (To develop Ministry of education into an effective, accountable, fully funded and functioning public institution that facilitates education for all).
Tackling the challenges and achievements so far One of the myths regarding girls’ education in Afghanistan is that Afghans do not want to send their girls to school. The strategy of the Ministry of Education (MOE) has been to recognize that supply and demand side issues intermingle. Poor Families send children to school for better future 500% increased, regardless of security, no easy access and poor quality
MOE is attempts to tackling the supply side issues with the support of donors: More than three thousand schools were rehabilitated or newly built during the past years and 1000 more are in the plan for 2007-08, • Priority in school construction is given to: • (i) girls schools; • (ii) schools with boys and girls’ sections/shifts; • (iii) boys schools who will open up sections/shifts for girls • Trained teachers—with IDA and USAID support, the MOE has launched a district based teacher training system that will provide both training and in classroom academic support to teachers in the system
Tackling the challenges and achievements so far A new curricula for secondary schools (for the first time in decades) has been developed and the textbooks will be written in the next six months Supported by German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) and UNICEF, the Teacher Education new curriculum has been developed in a time-efficient manner and being reviewed, as we speak at the NCERT in Delhi The MOE has also with support from the GTZ, Japanese and Iranian governments upgraded the pre service teacher training system in the Teacher Training Colleges
Tackling the challenges and achievements so far Establishment of new Teacher Training Colleges (TTC) in 11 provinces Recruitment of 9420 student teachers in TTCs Construction of teaching facilities and female dormitories for TTCs Decentralization of teacher recruitment is part of the structural reform that is fully designed and in the loop for implementation
Tackling the challenges and achievements so far A cross cutting and overarching objective that the MOE promotes in all its activities, has been the promotion of girls’ education and increasing the numbers of trained female teachers and principals. Program design included the following elements: (i) prioritization of girls’ schools; (iii) strong element of social mobilization to motivate and encourage local communities to send girls to school; (iv) female representation in the establishment of SMCs and PTAs; and (v) emphasis on recruitment and training of female teachers.
Tackling the challenges and achievements so far Due largely to this prioritization of increasing female participation, the trend in national enrolment for girls has been highly satisfactory with an unprecedented number of girls in school. Program performance data show that of the students enrolled in 2007, 45% are girls and that 35% of teachers in IDA program provinces (at that time this was 12 out of a total of 34 provinces) are female (in 2003, it was 14%). The MOE’s tactics in gaining support for girls’ education and school protection recognizes that there is a need to look beyond providing for the supply side constraints. There is recognition that households have traditionally had limited control over the school authorities and teachers in their children’s schools
Tackling the challenges and achievements so far • Through social mobilization campaigns, establishing School Management Committees (Shuras) in every school in the country and strengthening existing associations. • It is mandatory that SMCs should have at least one female member. • This modality of devolving power to the school level is an administrative reform the government is fully committed to and in the process of implementing country wide. • The IDA funded EQUIP for example supports the modality of disbursing school grants for infrastructure and quality (separately) directly to the School Management Committee which then decides how and where to spend the grant money.
Tackling the challenges and achievements so far Most rural schools are being built through community contracting for example. This gives communities are sense of ownership towards their schools and is enhancing community ownership, increasing accountability and transparency and allowing communities to manage resources and make decisions that directly affect their children. A crucial aspect of the above is that increased community ownership will also lead to communities protecting schools from attack and violence. The communities will no longer see the school as a symbol of the state but as something that belongs to them and their children, an entity they have control over
How to approach quality education for all in Afghanistan • How to increase access and improve quality currently? • How to prioritize when everything is priority? • How to start from scratch and at the same time cutch up with the rest of the world?