National Higher Education Strategic Plan 2010-2014: Executive Summary
Higher education in Afghanistan has suffered from thirty years of war, destruction of much of its infrastructure, loss of faculty members, and the near collapse of its teaching, research, and service functions. The last eight years have seen improvements in conditions, extensive consultations, and agreement on goals to transform higher education into an engine of national development, creativity, and knowledge creation. This strategic plan brings together the key elements of that transformation, a realistic plan, consensus on goals, and a commitment of higher education leadership to create a high quality higher education system.
The key elements of the plan are to improve access and increase quality – to almost double the number of students in public higher education from the current 62,000 to 115,000 by 2014. Quality improvement is a critical goal and to that end the plan calls for provision of training for more than 1000 faculty members and sponsored students to Master’s or PhD level, adding an additional 1800 faculty members to keep the student teacher ratio constant at 25:1 along with an additional 800 staff members, and a commitment to upgrade facilities to world-class standards. This is a tall order, but it can be done. The Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) is committed to success recognizing that quality higher education is the key to national development and the personal well-being of the citizens of Afghanistan.
This plan builds on the Constitutional obligation of the state to provide higher education and the Afghanistan National Development Strategy’s provision of higher education as one of its eight pillars. It reflects the Ministry of Higher Education’s commitment to develop a high quality higher education system relevant to national needs and critical for economic and social development.
Vision of the Higher Education Strategic Plan
A high quality public and private higher education system that responds to Afghanistan’s growth and development needs, improves public well-being, respects traditions, incorporates modern scientific knowledge, is well managed, and internationally recognized.
To educate and train skilled graduates to meet the socio-economic development needs of Afghanistan; enhance teaching, research and learning; and encourage service to the community and the nation.
Sub-Program I-1 – Human Resources
- Increase the number of faculty members to accommodate a doubling of student numbers by 2014: The MoHE will add more than 1800 new faculty members to the universities and institutes to keep the teaching ratio at 25:1. Attention will be given to increasing the number of female faculty members. Estimated cost is $52 million.
- Increase the non-teaching staff to accommodate enrollment growth: The MoHE will increase staff numbers (technical, administrators, support) by more than 800 to meet the requirements of increased student numbers. Efforts will be made to increase the percentage of women. Total estimated cost is $3.9 million.
- Faculty Professional Development: As part of the commitment to increase the quality of higher education the MoHE will increase the number of faculty members with PhDs from the current 5.5% to 20% within five years by sending 330 people for PhD training outside Afghanistan. To increase the percentage of faculty with Master’s to 60%, 700 faculty members and sponsored students will be sent abroad for training. Attention will be given to increasing the participation of women faculty members. The total cost is estimated to be $63 million.
- Expand Master’s Programs in Afghanistan: through support of 250 Master’s students who will be trained in Afghanistan. Specialist will be retained to help the MoHE and universities at least double the number of Master’s programs by 2014. Cost is estimated at $1.3 million.
- Staff development: To improve efficiency, quality, and capacity, short courses will be provided for professional development for administrative, technical, and other staff. Cost is estimated at $2.2 million.
- Teaching and learning: The MoHE will sponsor short courses for faculty members to improve the quality of teaching and learning. Outstanding teaching will be rewarded.
- Exchanges: Faculty and staff exchanges with other countries and within Afghanistan will be encouraged and facilitated by the MoHE as part of faculty development.
- Appointments and promotions: Appointment and promotion policies will be clarified, made transparent, and merit-based with regular reviews of all faculty members.
- Retirement policy: The policies will be clarified with special emeritus status to reward outstanding faculty and allow them to teach on an annual basis after age 65.