The rapid expansion of university education since 2002 has placed extra demands on an education system much in need of development. Universities must have the facilities and skills to train leaders in education and to improve the quality of education at every level throughout Afghanistan. USAID established the Higher Education Project (HEP) to help address these needs by building sustainable capacity at the tertiary level and by developing capacity at the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) to develop and implement the National Higher Education Strategic Plan 2010-2014. Both USAID and the MOHE credit HEP with successfully contributing to improving the quality of Higher Education instruction and learning in Afghanistan.
In 2005-2006, USAID designed HEP in collaboration with the MOHE, Academy for Educational Development, Indiana University, and the University of Massachusetts. In 2012, USAID extended the project and the University of Massachusetts became the sole implementer. During the extension period, HEP has focused on developing the leadership and management capacity at the MOHE and public universities, establishing two graduate degree programs at universities in Kabul, and further developing and expanding Professional Development Centers for Faculties of Education at selected public universities. The project also supports the MOHE in establishing standards in teacher education and promoting a coordinated national strategy for teacher education and certification.