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Education in Afghanistan


Two decades of conflict nearly destroyed Afghanistan’s educational resources.  Since 2002, the Afghan government and donors have built more than 4,000 schools, recruited and trained more than 175,000 new teachers, and increased enrollment rates for school-aged children to nearly 50 percent.  Afghans look favorably upon the work of their government in education -  a 2010 national survey (Asia Foundation, November 2010) showed 85 percent of Afghans rate the government’s performance in education as good or very good.  As Afghans look towards 2014 and beyond, continued success in education is imperative for both assuring economic growth and maintaining stability.  The country has one of the youngest populations in the world and a rapidly growing cohort of school-age children whose parents demand quality education for their children, both boys and girls.


USAID’s education strategy meets the urgent and expanding need for textbooks, schools, trained teachers, and innovative approaches to expand access and improve the quality of instruction. USAID’s support makes a concerted effort to utilize and strengthen existing systems of the Afghan Government to improve opportunities in basic, higher, and technical and vocational education.


Increasing access to quality schooling is a national priority. USAID is improving basic education through training and technical support to enhance teacher performance and knowledge. USAID supports community-based education (CBE) and, since 2002, has provided over 100 million textbooks for use in schools throughout the country. To help Afghans recover lost years of formal schooling, USAID supports accelerated and remedial learning projects that enable female students to complete two years of study in one year.
To address the critical need for qualified teachers, USAID helped train more than 74,000 Ministry of Education (MoE) teachers, of which 31 percent were female. USAID’s CBE project has allowed approximately 105,000 students (65 percent female) to attend schools in remote locations, which were beyond the reach of MoE schools. In 2012, USAID’s work on teacher training, community-based education, literacy training, and textbook printing were largely shifted to direct, on-budget assistance to the MoE.
USAID is also working with the MoE at the central level.  Working with USAID advisors, the MoE developed a human-resource management system that includes design and implementation of a teacher credentialing system, salary reforms, and other measures to enhance teaching as a career choice, particularly among women. USAID is also collaborating closely with the MoE and other donors to implement the second National Education Strategic Plan (2010-2014).


USAID’s activities in higher education align with the Afghan National Development Strategy and the National Higher Education Strategic Plan (NHESP 2010-2014).  The strategy envisions a reinvigorated, higher education system that plays a major role in the emergence of a pluralistic, democratic, and stable society. In supporting this strategy, USAID has contributed to improving the quality of university instruction. USAID support has resulted in 65 professors of education, half of whom are women, graduating with master’s degrees in education; 25 others are currently enrolled in the program.  USAID also has supported the development of a Master’s of Public Policy and Administration for which 20 students are currently enrolled, half of whom are women.
Through USAID technical assistance, the Ministry of Higher Education is supporting 12 universities to undertake self-assessments, the first step toward regularizing quality assurance and accreditation practices.
USAID has supported the American University of Afghanistan, which held its second graduation for 54 students in May 2012. The university has enrolled the first group of students for a new Master’s of Business Administration Program. To increase revenue generation from Afghan clients, the University’s Professional Development Institute is expanding tailor-made programs on a pay-per-service basis to serve ministries, corporations, non-governmental organizations and other organizations.
USAID has also provided higher education infrastructure. In 2011,  Herat University dedicated new architecture and engineering facilities funded by USAID. The new facilities include a design studio, digital library, and a computer lab, which allow students and faculty from a new architecture program to access state-of-the-art facilities. USAID technical advisors also helped the university in updating the curriculum and taking critical steps to ensure that the engineering program is relevant to Afghan labor markets and economic trends.


USAID’s large-scale literacy, numeracy, and productive skills (vocational, business, and microfinance) program improves the livelihoods of women and men aged 15 and older. A USAID-funded technical advisory unit within the MoE is helping the National Literacy Center develop and implement the National Literacy Program. It also provides access to training, materials, and modern teaching techniques in 20 provinces.
A USAID youth project created male- and female-led youth development councils that provided practical learning opportunities for youth to engage with local government leaders by implementing small grants projects.


To further expand access, USAID built six faculties of education and five provincial teacher training colleges around the country, two large secondary schools in Kabul and one school in Jalalabad.

Current Projects:

Old Projects:

Last updated: April 14, 2014

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