If girls in remote places are provided with access to education close to their homes and in a context which recognises community values and concerns, they are more likely to go to school, stay in school and learn. Across 16 provinces in Afghanistan, AKDN is employing this community-based approach to help tens of thousands of girls to gain access to quality education.
AKDN / Kiana Hayeri
If girls in remote places are provided with access to education close to their homes and in a context which re...
AKDN / Kiana Hayeri
Since 2008, AKDN has worked to improve education for girls and women in 24 districts in four provinces of Afghanistan. Girls were kept in school by improving the quality of facilities and teaching, while building parent, community, and government support. To date, 175,000 Afghan girls have been able to attend school and keep up their studies.
AKF Afghanistan / David Marshall Fox
Since 2008, AKDN has worked to improve education for girls and women in 24 districts in four provinces of Afgh...
AKF Afghanistan / David Marshall Fox
AKDN is engaged at all levels of education, from pre-primary through to university. Attention to quality is central, and learning achievement is improving significantly. More than 313,000 students and 5,800 teachers and school heads benefited from these education activities in 2020.
Our education activities reached more than 313,000 students in 2020
The Aga Khan Education Services (AKES) has worked in Afghanistan since 2004. AKES operates non-formal education programmes in Badakhshan, Baghlan, Balkh, Kabul, Kunduz and Samangan, often in remote villages. These serve over 18,800 students per year, 50 percent of them female. All the staff are local and 69 percent are female.
The 73 pre-primary units, for three-six year olds, offer a programme based on the internationally recognised HighScope preschool curriculum. Pre-primary teachers also provide support by phone to a small group of parents, in collaboration with the telecommunications provider Roshan. This began as a response to the COVID-19 closures, when AKES implemented a learning programme by phone. In this way AKES could continue to offer families learning and support for ECD, pre-primary and supplementary education programmes.
AKES offers Supplementary Education Programmes for primary and secondary students aged seven or older. These cover tutorial assistance in English, maths and science to supplement what is learnt in school, and Kankor (university entrance) examination preparation.
Continuing Education programmes in ICT and English help students aged 16 and over to improve their employability and access to higher education. ICT programmes include the internationally accredited International Computer Driving License (ICDL) certification for ICT (AKES is an accredited ICDL testing and learning centre). The English programme follows the Oxford and Cambridge English curriculum.
The Aga Khan Foundation’s (AKF) education programme aims to equip children and young people with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that help them interact effectively with the world while contributing to society. In 2003, AKF began implementing a range of interventions strengthening the capacity of the Afghan Government to deliver quality education, and supporting and promoting educational access and quality learning opportunities for all children.
AKF supports alternative learning approaches in community and government schools so that children and adolescents in remote areas continue accessing education and building the life skills necessary for the 21st century. This includes supporting adolescent girls in government schools to access relevant and quality science education opportunities.
Adolescents in Afghanistan often have limited opportunities to acquire and share knowledge and to actively participate in decision-making processes. AKF, World Vision and AEPO implemented a programme from 2017 to 2020 to increase the autonomy of adolescents.
The programme worked with adolescents, families, communities, decision makers and public authorities, supporting governmental priorities. AKF formed and ran 176 multi-purpose adolescent groups, covering life skills, self-expression, sports, arts and training to become peer educators. Outputs included 890 radio dramas, 26 educational feature programmes and the design and distribution of 32,000 magazines covering issues important to adolescents. AKF also trained and mentored 35,970 influential community leaders, over half of them women, on child rights, gender and the importance of girls’ education.
AKF supports interventions at the school, district, provincial and national levels to strengthen academic supervision and social mobilisation, promote professional development of teachers and school management committees and improve learning environments. In 2021, AKF reached almost 1,000 teachers and school heads.
Working directly with the local education authorities at both the provincial and district levels, AKF supported over 800 schools and learning spaces in 2021. Community classes provide primary education for pupils who are not able to attend government schools due to distance or the lack of proper roads and transport. Since 2003, 80 percent of formerly out-of-school children of the relevant age have gained access to primary education as a result of AKF’s support of community-based education and ongoing assistance to government schools.
To help formerly out-of-school children adapt to their new classroom learning environments, AKES provides a supplementary education programme focusing on Dari, English, maths and science.
Overall, 94 percent of children from AKF-supported primary schools progress to secondary school. This demonstrates that the quality of education is improving, that access to school facilities is improving and that communities are taking a growing interest in education for their children.
To help improve the classroom environment and student achievements, AKF provides in-service teacher training and mentoring focused on child-centred learning. To date, it has provided training and support to over 7,000 teachers and educators (40 percent female). Parent-teacher-student associations are established in all AKF-supported schools in order to involve parents and the community more closely in their children's education. Such involvement is essential to ensure the sustainability of educational improvements.
School management committees are also established to help improve the day-to-day functioning of AKF-supported schools. To date, over 500 parent-teacher-student associations, school-student associations and school management committees have been established and trained in government schools, community-based classes and pre-schools, ensuring community involvement in all schools supported by AKF.
A lack of active support for schools by some communities is an ongoing problem in Afghanistan. Estimates based on data from field visits indicate that about half of communities are actively engaged in supporting and running their schools, and promoting school enrolment and attendance, as well as assisting in areas of child protection such as preventing early marriages. At the district and provincial levels, AKF has provided training and support to all school inspectors and supervisors in the 28 districts covered by the education programme, improving their ability to assist schools effectively. In addition, AKD has been working to raise faculty capacity and teaching quality at teacher training colleges (TTCs) and satellite TTCs.
At the national level, AKF engaged with the various directorates of the Ministry of Education, for policy dialogue and influence, and capacity development. Efforts and participation in policy dialogue led the government to recognise the community-based primary classrooms as alternative education provision and include these classes within the National Education Strategic Plan III (2015-2020).
AKF is leading Schools2030, a global 10-year participatory action research and learning improvement programme based in 1,000 government schools across 10 countries, including Afghanistan. Using the principles of human-centred design and focusing on the key transition years of ages five, 10 and 15, Schools2030 seeks to annually generate 1,000 locally-rooted education solutions that can inform and transform systems-level approaches for improving holistic learning outcomes for all learners. The initiative also includes early childhood development through a pre-primary cohort and interventions to equip young people with employable skills. Find out more
In partnership with governments and development agencies, UCA provides quality and relevant continuous education opportunities to young people.
Since 2008, many female high school graduates from very remote, rural areas – with hardly any female teachers – have been supported to study in TTCs. More than 2,300 of them have been awarded scholarships to cover their housing, food and transportation costs. And, to date, 500 alumni have returned to their communities to become teachers.
In addition, over 10,700 secondary school students have attended after-school continuing education programmes in English and ICT. UCA is delivering and supporting educational and research programmes in Afghanistan. UCA has opened six satellite learning centres in Afghanistan, including a Continuing Education Unit at Badakhshan University.
UCA’s School of Professional and Continuing Education (SPCE) reaches Afghan learners through its Cross-Border Vocational Education in Badakhshan programme in Khorog, Tajikistan, which fosters cooperation and job creation between Afghan Badakhshan and Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast. Students from each region are awarded competitive scholarships to attend basic and advanced English, Information Technology and Accounting courses at SPCE.
Building instructor capacity helps increase access to learning. SPCE supports professional development at national teacher training institutions, as well as private education centres in rural Afghan provinces.
The UCA Mountain Societies Research Institute supports individual Afghan researchers through its Central Asian and Afghanistan Research Fund.
Under the UCA Institute of Public Policy and Administration’s (IPPA) Regional Cooperation and Confidence Building (RCCB) in Central Asia and Afghanistan project, Afghan civil servants participated in training in trade economics, policy analysis and international trade negotiations with civil servants from Central Asia. They also took part in a symposium, jointly hosted with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on Small and Medium Enterprise Development and Regional Trade in Afghanistan and the Heart of Asia Region.
RCCB was supported by the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) – subsequently referred to as Global Affairs Canada (GAC). In agreement with the Afghan Independent Directorate of Local Governance, SPCE adapted and delivered its Local Economic and Community Development certificate programme to Afghan district governors. In partnership with the Ministry of Finance, IPPA delivered a Certificate Programme in Policy Analysis to Afghan civil servants.