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Message from the Minister
Education is fundamental for poverty reduction, development, nation building, good governance, peace and stability. Education promotes tolerance, equality and participation, whilst stimulating culture. An educated population ensures increased productivity, better income distribution and improved standards of living. Over the past eight years, Afghans have shown enormous enthusiasm for sending their children to school. There is a high demand for quality education from both parents and children, which is an integral part of the population’s vision for the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan.
There is no doubt that impressive progress has been made in the education sector over the past few years, particularly with the dramatic increase in school enrolment and the availability of educational facilities. However, access to education remains inequitably distributed across the country, whilst the quality of education received also varies dramatically. Even with the growing number of schools reconstructed or built, there are still not enough to meet the demands of the population, nor are there enough qualified and motivated teachers to deliver a quality education.
The National Education Strategic Plan for the Ministry of Education for the period of 1389-1393 represents a comprehensive and holistic approach to the educational challenges that afflict Afghanistan. These challenges must be successfully addressed to achieve the educational goals stated in the 1382 Constitution and the Afghanistan National Development Strategy and for the Millennium Development Goal to be achieved by 1399.
This Strategic Plan identifies, establishes and plans for the realisation of substantial targets, encompassing both equitable access to education and the quality of education delivered and received. It has been derived through an extensive consultative process involving Afghans at all levels, together with our development partners through the Education Development Board.
The Ministry is determined to ensure that all children and adults have access to quality education which is relevant to their needs. The Government’s education program must be supported through an accountable and transparent system of education financing and administration. Monitoring and evaluation systems will be strengthened at all levels, building a close partnership with communities, civil society, the private sector and government.
The NESP consists of five programs which aim at improving access, quality and management of education across the country. There are three priority areas requiring special attention. The first is to provide an adequate learning environment for children, especially girls, to improve access and retention. Nearly half of the existing schools do not even have buildings and many existing buildings are too damaged or unsafe to use. Many schools operate more than one shift per day to accommodate the large numbers of students in the available buildings. The second priority is to upgrade teachers’ skills and qualifications to improve the quality of their teaching and the learning that takes place in the classroom. The third priority is to strengthen the institutional ability to develop and implement sound policies, as well as to effectively manage the human, financial and physical resources required to achieve results.
Education is essential for countries to grow and to progress. There are strong links between an individual’s educational level and his/her economic achievements. Countries which have made large investments in education during their initial stages of development have also succeeded in further economic development. Afghanistan is in desperate need of qualified human resources to meet the challenges of reconstruction. There is no other way but to invest in the education system.
This Strategic Plan lays the future direction for Afghanistan’s education system. It is a living document which will be reviewed regularly. A sound plan must be supported by sufficient means to implement its intentions and achieve its objectives. The alignment and allocation of more international assistance to fund the priority programs of the NESP is essential to reduce the education demand and supply gap. The approval of the National Education Strategic Plan signals the commitment of the Government and the population to the establishment of a high quality and relevant education system for all our citizens.
Dr. Farooq Wardak Minister for Education
Kabul, Hamal, 1389/2010