For Immediate Release
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN- The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced today that it would continue its successful partnership with the Afghanistan Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) under a new five-year $90 million program.
Under the new partnership, USAID will provide technical assistance to the MoHE and ten public universities to improve the quality and relevance of the higher education system and contribute to economic and social development in Afghanistan.
The new program, Strengthening Tertiary Education Program-University Partnerships (STEP-UP) will begin in September 2013, and is closely aligned with Afghan Government strategies: the national higher education strategic plan 2010-2014; and National Priority Program Three; and expanding Opportunities for Higher Education.
At a joint press confrerence today, the minister for the MoHE and the USAID/Afghanistan Mission Director both emphasized the importance of higher education for the Afghan people.
“This program demonstrates USAID’s continuing commitment to improve the higher education sector in Afghanistan and support the MoHE and public universities” stated Dr. Ken Yamashit, the USAID mission director
The Minister of Higher Education, Mr. Obaidullah Obaid. added “I hope with the help of this program and others from the donor community, the quality of Afghanistan’s higher education will achieve international standards. This program will increase the employment of qualified Afghan higher education gradautes in the public and private sectors.”
Chancellors from Kabul University, Kabul Medical University, Shahid Professor Rabani Education and Kabul Polytechnic University also attended the event along with representatives from ten other public universities throughout Afghanistan participated through video conferencing.
STEP-UP will provide technical assistance to the MoHE to fully implement a national quality assurance and accreditation system to ensure that the quality of higher education in Afghanistan meets international standards and is relevant to labor market needs. The initiative will also work with the MoHE to improve human-resource, financial-management, and internal control systems to be better able to manage funds.
This new program also will help the selected universities gain national accreditation and improve the quality and relevance of academic programs. Support will be provided to establish career and partnership centers at the selected universities to solicit input and support from public and private sector stakeholders as well as to provide students with employment and professional development opportunities.
University partnerships with regional and U.S. universities will bring in additional resources and technical assistance for program development and curriculum reform. STEP-UP will make scholarships available for faculty development, and small grants will be provided to universities to develop laboratories and other facilities needed to provide practical skills development.
The STEP-UP program will help the MoHE build upon the successes of the USAID-funded Higher Education Project (HEP), MoHE successes under HEP include development of a quality-assurance and accreditation system for public and private universities, development for Faculties of Education at 18 public universities, and development of a Master’s of Education (M.Ed) and a Master’s of Public Policy and Administration (MPPA) degrees.
Last updated: April 15, 2014