Ministry of Higher Education
Higher Education Development Project (HEDP)
Funded By World Bank
University Operation Coordinator
- A summary of important project details is given below
- Project Objective
- Project Description
- Description of Components
- Sub Components, Themes
- Summary of activities under each theme
- Institutional Arrangements for Implementation and Oversight
- Roles and Responsibilities of each of the HEDP Implementing Entities
- The HEDP Operations and Monitoring Support Team in the Ministry of Higher Education (OMST).
- HEDP Key Activities and Responsible Agencies
Afghanistan has played a prominent role in world history. The country is strategically located at the intersection of Central, South and West Asia, and is bordered by several nations including China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The great silk route of ancient times ran through Afghanistan. The country has a population of about 28.6 million people in a land area of around 650,000 square kilometers of mainly mountainous terrain. Afghanistan has experienced a long period of instability and violence, and is classified by the Bank as a conflict affected and fragile state.
The country requires a major increase in the number of university graduates to create a modern, well-educated workforce. In addition, the number of female graduates needs to increase sharply to promote gender equity and empowerment. The MoHE is aware of this urgent need. However, the MoHE also recognizes that it is important to increase higher education enrollment in degree programs that are in demand in the labor market, and can contribute directly to economic growth and social development. The NHESP II seeks to expand higher education enrollment over time, but with a special focus on priority degree programs drawn mainly from the sciences, technology engineering and medicine (STEM).
- The HEDP will support the country’s NHESP-II (2015-2020)
- Duration of the project is five years ( 2015-2020 )
- Total grant of USD 50 Million
- Modality ,RBF result base financing
- Specific results called disbursement link indicators , DLIs
A summary of important project details is given below:
Objective of HEDP
The overall objective of the HEDP is to increase access to, and improve the quality and relevance of, higher education. The HEDP will support the NHESP-II 2015-2020, which aims to develop the higher education sector by expanding enrollment, improving quality, and orienting higher education to promote the future economic and social development of Afghanistan.
The NHESP II spells out the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE)’s vision, missions and values and details the strategies and interventions aimed to achieve the sector long term objectives. It follows the NHESP I and the World Bank funded Strengthening Higher Education Project (SHEP), while amplifying their scope and drawing lessons from their design and implementation records. The HEDP is also based on the findings and recommendations of the Bank’s Sector Report: “Higher Education in Afghanistan: an Emerging Mountainscape”. The HEDP’s concept, design and activities were prepared through a process of consultation and collaboration with the MoHE, the Ministry of Finance (MoF), representatives of the universities and higher education institutions from the state and non-state sectors, public and private employers, the academic community, and major development partners active in higher education in Afghanistan.
Description of Components
The proposed project contains two components:
(1) A program component that finances strategic initiatives to develop the higher education sector. The strategic initiatives are (a) increasing participation in universities in priority degree programs for national economic development, (b) modernizing and enhancing the quality and relevance of teaching and learning; (c) expanding the professional qualifications and skills of academic and technical staff; (d) strengthening governance, quality assurance and accreditation; and (e) stimulating development orientated research. And (2) a program operations and technical support component that would support project coordination, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, research activities, human resource development for academic managers and administrative and technical staff, policy studies, beneficiary satisfaction surveys, communications and policy dialogues.
Higher Education Development Program ( $ 40 )
Program Operations and Technical Support ( $ 10 )
The first component (US$ 40 million) is comprehensive and has been designed to directly support NHESP-II. The flow of funds under this component will follow a results-based financing arrangement. Disbursements are linked to specific results that would contribute to the achievement of the overall objectives of the NHESP-II and the HEDP. They will finance Eligible Expenditures Programs (EEP) selected from the MoHE’s budget, rather than against specific investments.
The second component (US$ 10 million), will assist the implementation of the first component through coordination, technical assistance (TA), capacity building, monitoring and evaluation, innovation and pilots, and research and communication. The flow of funds under this component will be provided against specific investments, as normally done under the Bank’s Investment Project Financing modality.
The sustainability of the Project will be enhanced by the following factors:
(a) government ownership and commitment to reforms; the HEDP will support the implementation of the GoA’s own higher education reform program; (b) the technical viability of the project design, which is based on international knowledge and expertise, and experience of the previous SHEP; (c) the HEDPs design and implementation arrangements which pay particular attention to building capacity in the MoHE and universities; and (d) the fiscal sustainability of HEDP investments, with the analysis.
Overall Risk Rating and Explanation of Key Risks
Component One: Higher Education Development Program
This component supports the GoA’s program to develop the higher education sector as described in NHESP-II. The NHESP-II is broad and wide-ranging in scope, and encompasses all aspects of the higher education sector in Afghanistan. The HEDP focuses on a set of strategic interventions under the over-arching framework of the NHESP-II. Component One is organized under five key themes, as follows below.
Theme 1.1: Increasing Access to Priority Degree Programs for Economic Development
- Expand enrollment in degree programs that are of direct relevance for future economic development.
- Providing scholarships for female students from disadvantaged backgrounds to enroll in priority degree programs.
- Strengthening orientation, counseling and support services for women in universities.
- Improving transportation services to and from universities.
- Developing on-line higher education courses to expand opportunities, especially for women.
There are several factors which prevent women from entering and completing higher education. These include weak security provision, insufficient transportation facilities, a lack of counseling and support services for women in universities, and a shortage of adequate residential and toilet facilities in HEIs. Social and cultural values, including early marriage also play a role, but are not directly amenable to short term interventions and are outside MoHE;s ambit.
The higher education sector clearly needs to expand to produce the professionals, technocrats, scientists, managers, academics, administrators, and researchers the country needs to develop in the modern global knowledge economy. There is also strong demand from a rapidly growing number of students completing secondary education for higher education opportunities. It is rational to respond positively to this demand, and especially equitable when coming from female students. However, the MoHE is aware that an uncontrolled expansion could cause social problems later, especially if graduates are unable to find jobs that meet their aspirations.
The degree programs that have been identified as national priorities in the NHESP-II are the following:
- Physical and Life Sciences (biology, chemistry and physics, geology and earth sciences)
- Computing (computer science and computer programming)
- Engineering, manufacturing and construction (engineering, construction, electro-mechanics, chemical technology and mining)
- Health (pharmacy, general medicine, medical treatment, stomatology, and nursing
- Environmental Protection (environment and environmental engineering)
- Agriculture (agriculture, veterinary forestry, crop and livestock production, agronomy, irrigation, animal husbandry and horticulture
- Communication and information technologies
- Management and policy administration
- English language and English literature
Improving orientation, counseling and support services for women in universities. A lack of support and counseling for women entering universities is a key barrier to their participation in higher education. For many female students university environment is challenging, and requires significant adjustment in their social norms and practices. In this context, ensuring that universities have good orientation programs and counseling systems, with trained staff and support services, can help to create a supportive environment for young women. The capacity of student services to provide the necessary counselling, guidance and support for young women will be strengthened under the HEDP.
Providing transportation services to and from universities: The lack of adequate transportation contributes to preventing female students from attending universities. The NHESP-II plans to expand transportation facilities for female students and faculty members, such as university buses, to travel to and from universities.
Providing scholarships for completing university degrees: Another barrier to female participation is the lack of financial resources available for their education. The MoHE and universities will provide financial assistance for female students from disadvantaged backgrounds to enroll in, and graduate from, priority degree programs.
The provision of on-line higher education courses: In some cases women are constrained from physically attending universities, due to cultural reasons. Access to on-line courses would increase opportunities for women to participate in higher education. On-line platforms such as the MIT edX and using Udacitynano-degrees could be utilized for higher education in Afghanistan.
Theme 1.2: Modernizing and Enhancing the Quality of Teaching and Learning
Afghanistan needs to improve the quality of higher education. In universities teaching is mainly based on traditional, teacher-centered methods. HEDP will assist universities to reflect current international trends in higher education by introducing modern outcome-based education (OBE) and student-centered learning (SCL). The introduction of OBE and SCL requires fresh teaching approaches, active learning methods, greater use of higher education material and resources, and the expansion of assessment systems in universities. Degree programs that are considered priorities for the country’s economic development will be the first set of programs to which OBE and SCL will be introduced. Over time, OBE and SCL will be expanded to other degree programs.
The Staff Development Centers (SDCs) of universities would play an important role in the provision of continuous professional development for university teachers and management. HEDP would support the development of SDCs into organizations that can provide the professional development activities required at universities, including in OBE, SCL, the use of ICT in higher education, soft skills development, assessment and evaluation of teaching and learning, and research methods.
An important prerequisite for delivering OBE and SCL is the use of technologies in improving teaching and learning. The Internet provides both a pathway for students and faculty to access sources of knowledge and a platform for collaboration among peers internationally. As mentioned in the NHESP-II, ICT integration in Afghan universities is a top priority. HEDP will therefore support three key components in universities: connectivity and bandwidth expansion, e-learning including developing web-based content, and technical and academic capacity building.
- Introducing modern outcome-based education (OBE) and student-centered learning (SCL).
- New approaches to curriculum design and delivery.
- Innovative teaching methods and techniques
- Active and dynamic learning models
- Increase ICT and internet-based resources and the modernization of assessment systems, in universities.
- A key element will be to strengthen the capacity of the Afghanistan Research and Education Network (AfgREN).
Theme 1.3: Expanding the Qualifications and Skills of University Staff Members
Well-qualified faculty members are of central importance for any high quality higher education system. While the academic staffing of Afghan universities is improving, it still remains poor overall. Not only is the sheer number of faculty staff of short supply with a current student: faculty staff ratio is of 30:1 (for public universities in 2014/15) but the average qualification of staff is below the standard expected from a genuine university for the delivery of quality services. Over 60 percent of academic staff are only qualified to Bachelor’s degree level.
- Increase Master Degree level to qualified university academic staff.
- Academic staff from degree programs identified as priorities for economic development.
- Female academics. Scholarships will target faculty staff of public universities and will be restricted to full-time, regularly employed faculty staff.
- A number of 300 scholarship will be awarded over the project implementation period.
This situation is the legacy of the past few decades of violence which have witnessed the sharp depletion of faculty staff in Afghan universities (including their emigration to foreign countries). Because a large number of staff members with only a Bachelor’s degree have been hired in recent years to try and keep pace with expanding student enrollments, the proportion of faculty members with at least a Master’s degree is very low. The shortage of qualified academic staff is one of the main constraints to rebuilding an effective higher education sector in Afghanistan. It affects teaching as staff members with only a Bachelor’s degree seldom have an adequate knowledge of their discipline to teach it effectively. It also affects research ,as staff with only a Bachelor’s degree have not been exposed to research practice and lack experience in this key area of academic professional life. The share of female faculty members with higher qualification (i.e. above a Bachelor’s degree) is even lower than that of male colleagues. Women represent only 14 percent of the total faculty staff of public universities (see Table 2.1). The situation in private HEIs where a majority of staff members are “borrowed” from public universities is even worse, despite the student: faculty ratio being generally lower. Few faculty members are empowered full-time employed in private HEIs.
There is an urgent need to address this problem and upgrade the level of academic content knowledge within the existing pool of human resources available to Afghan universities. An initial series of interventions was launched under SHEP, but targeting only a minority of universities. These initiatives must be scaled up under the new project. HEDP will assist MoHE with a Human Resource Development (HRD) program focused on the delivery of training for academic staff in universities.
The most efficient way to upgrade the content knowledge of academic staff already on the payroll with low qualification is to provide them with scholarships. In most cases, such scholarships are given to young and junior staff with only a Bachelor’s degree so that they can reach the Master’s degree level and to more mature and senior staff with a Master’s degree so that they can reach the Ph.D. level. This will build on the experience of SHEP which helped to raise the qualifications of faculty staff through a successful scholarships program in overseas and national universities.
Under HEDP, priority will be given to Master’s degrees, as it typically takes 2-3 years to complete these degrees, while the completion of a Ph.D. degree can take four to six years. Special preference for these scholarships will be given to: (a) academic staff from degree programs identified as priorities for economic development; and (b) female academics. Scholarships will target faculty staff of public universities and will be restricted to full-time, regularly employed faculty staff. To be cost efficient, whenever possible, scholarships will be for study in regional universities and Afghan universities for Master’s degrees. Cultural factors in Afghanistan create a preference among many female academics to pursue their postgraduate studies in-country. Blended formulae will also be sought which combine overseas and in-country study in partnership with foreign universities. Scholarship awardees will be bonded by an obligation to work in Afghan universities immediately after graduation. It is expected that at least 300 scholarships will be awarded over the project implementation period. The program will be organized in parallel with the recruitment of new staff so that the absence of faculty staff pursuing full time study will not create an excessive shortage of teachers.
Theme 1.4: Strengthening Governance, Quality Assurance and Accreditation
The Afghan higher education sector faces governance issues at both the institutional and national levels. Public universities have historically operated in a centralized structure with only moderate autonomy. As the number of public universities and their enrollment grows, the governance apparatus becomes increasingly cumbersome. Imposing top-down regulations from MoHE has become an impediment to universities’ development and MoHE lacks the human resources needed to regulate the rapidly expanding sector. There are currently numerous limitations and constraints facing public universities in exercising academic and procedural autonomy.
The jurisdictional situation of the Higher Education sector is not conducive to progress and flexibility. The legal framework in which the sector now operates is defined by the 1989 Law of Professional and Higher Education Institutes. A new law addresses some of the concerns regarding the over-centralization of the sector. Meanwhile, recognizing the constraints of an overly centrally managed and funded public university system, the NHESP-II has laid out several measures to increase academic, procedural and financial autonomy of public universities. The HEDP will support these measures.
Establishing universities’ academic and financial autonomy will require a substantial governance capacity building program in universities and MoHE. HEDP will assist universities to develop the managerial and administrative skills needed for proper institutional governance, such as leadership development, planning, budgeting, administration, procurement, and financial management and monitoring. A systematic intensive training program will be put in place which will consist of intensive sessions of short-term courses and knowledge sharing workshops for faculty deans and universities’ senior administrative staff.
At the institutional level, HEDP will support public universities to develop a comprehensive Internal Quality Assurance System. This would involve setting up Internal Quality Assurance Units (IQAUs) in universities which lack such units, developing IQAUs in universities which have embryonic units, assisting universities to conceptualize, plan and conduct institutional self-assessments, incorporating findings from QA reviews into the design and implementation of university institutional development plans, and establishing a process of continuous quality improvement of teaching and learning in universities. The IQAU system will benefit from the support of experienced international and national peer reviewers through HEDP financing.
- Promote functional and procedural autonomy of universities, and to develop the quality assurance and accreditation system.
- Greater initiative and responsibility for the development of academic programs, research activities and community services.
- Generate and retain revenues from postgraduate degrees, research and consulting activities, and extension courses, to be used for university development.
- Quality assurance and accreditation (QAA) will be expanded and strengthened to reflect international standards of accuracy and utilization.
- QAAD be a member of Asia Pacific Quality Assurance Network (APQN ) to benefit from international good practice.
- Internal Quality Assurance Units (IQAUs) in universities.
- Assisting universities to plan and conduct institutional self-assessments.
- Incorporate findings from QA reviews.
- Establish a process of continuous quality improvement of teaching and learning in universities
Theme 1.5: Stimulating Development Oriented Research
Research is a fundamental mission of universities, and a normal activity for most faculty staff. This was the case in Afghanistan before it was virtually halted by decades of conflict. The revival of a research culture was started on a limited scale under the first NHESP, with the support of SHEP. However, the constraints hampering a resurgence of real and relevant research are still formidable, namely: (a) the absence of a pool of qualified and motivated faculty staff; (b) the lack of financial resources necessary to conduct research; (c) the isolation of Afghan researchers from the international academic community; and (d) the lack of institutional structures required to promote and select research, and to disseminate its results. It is timely to address these constraints and to place research among the key missions of Afghan universities as a regular activity. A healthier academic research environment will substantially improve teaching and learning. In addition, research activities linked to national and provincial economic needs can contribute directly to national growth and regional development. Further, good applied research can have positive spillover effects beyond the universities into industry and services. Finally, research can help universities to diversify their sources of revenues. Hence, there is a strong case to scale up research under the NHESP II.
HEDP will support research projects by academic staff of public and private universities. These will be applied and development oriented projects, mainly drawn from the priority disciplines. However, research projects from other disciplines, if clearly development oriented, can also be eligible for resources. The HEDP will support about 40 group research projects and around 80 individual research projects. The group projects can include research activities by teams of academic staff members drawn from a university, or teams of academic staff drawn from more than one university. Collaboration on research projects with overseas researchers could also be supported.
The research funding system to be supported by HEDP will be results-focused and based on competition, rather than input-based allocations. This is consistent with the principle that research activities are more attractive and productive if they are based on incentives and demand, rather than supply-driven. The research projects supported under the HEDP would focus on applied research that can directly contribute to national or provincial economic development. The criteria for the selection of projects will be clear, objective and transparent. All proposals for research projects would also be reviewed by the Bank for technical adequacy prior to their financing.
- To develop a research culture in universities.
- Development oriented research Projects, mainly from the priority disciplines.
- Both group research Projects and individual research will be supported based on competition.
- Research focused on the national development at the Kabul and provinces.
Component Two: Program Operations and Technical Support
The main objective of this component is to assist both MoHE and public universities to strengthen their implementation capacity and achieve the main objectives of the development policy initiatives supported by the HEDP. To achieve these, it will finance technical assistance and capacity building activities, which will be carefully selected and sequenced with the implementation of activities under the overall program assisted by the HEDP. The component will provide support in the areas of: coordination, capacity building, pilots and innovations, monitoring and evaluation, research and policy studies, and communication.
Policy studies would include beneficiary satisfaction surveys among university staff and students supported by the project and tracer studies of graduates to analyze their job search and labor market experience. Resources for communication would enable the higher education community to ensure that development initiatives are appropriately disseminated to political authorities, policy makers, academics and researchers, students, and the general public. The component would also help MoHE to design and realize policy reforms such as piloting and evaluating innovative approaches to the promotion of greater institutional autonomy and responsibility, and orientation of the universities in provincial towns to support the economic development of their provinces.
- Coordination, capacity building, innovations, monitoring and evaluation, research and communication.
- Incremental Operating Cost ( IOC ) for OMST.
- Project Coordination and Support.
- Monitoring and Evaluation.
- Arrangements for DLI verification.
- Research projects.
HEDP Key Activities and Responsible Agencies
- Scholarship for academic – is followed yearly.
In 2016 3 lecturers of Jawzjan University (3 Female and 1 male) introduced to Master scholarship program. 3 female lecturers are following their master program at Malesia country and the male one is following his master program at Thailand country.
For 2017 2 lecturers (one male and female) are candidate for master scholarship program abroad.
- Water & Lavatory, especially for girls
Through financial support of WB and coordination of HEDP – MoHE, the construction work of a lavatory especially for girls is running in Jawzjan University.
- Transportation for Girls
HEDP plans to procure transportation services for girls of university.
- Lab equipment and facilities
HEDP Plans to procure and provide Lab Equipment for Jawzjan University. The list of Lab Equipment has finale and has been sent to National Procurement Department. It has been announced for contract.
- Library Support
HEDP Plans to procure the necessary books for covered universities, which Jawzjan University is among them.
The process has been announced and is waiting for contract to procure.
- Supply and equipment for existing lecturers blocks
Some chairs for students, office table, chair and file cupboard has been procured by HEDP and delivered to Jawzjan University.
Through support of HEDP, Ms. Masouda Khairzada a lecturer of Jawzjan University participated at OBE-SCL workshop in country and abroad. She is the champion of OBE-SCL in Jawzjan University.
Through support of HEDP & Jawzjan University a 2 weeks workshop on OBE-SCL was conducted for some lecturers of Jawzjan University.
- Group & Individual Research Proposals
HEDP financially supports lectures of covered university on their group or individual research proposal. The proposal should in priority discipline.
Jawzjan University had 5 proposal (individual and group work). The proposal were checked by the research board of MoHE and shared with lectures whose proposals were fine and in priority discipline.
Engineer Mohaammad Hussain
University Operation Coordinator