The US Agency for International Development (USAID) announced a $92 million project to improve the higher education system in Afghanistan last week.
The University Support and Workforce Development Project (USWDP) represents a five-year plan between USAID and the Afghan Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) and Ministry of Economy to improve Afghanistan’s educational programs according to international standards. The USWDP will encompass faculty and student training sessions, curriculum changes, management changes at MoHE, and efforts to improve access to higher education in the region.
“This represents a milestone in improving the higher education system in Afghanistan,” Minister of Higher Education Obaidullah Obaid said in the press release announcing the partnership.
Since the fall of the Taliban, women and girls in Afghanistan have seen unprecedented access to educational opportunities thanks to the work of activists in Afghanistan and abroad and the support of the US government. “Thirteen years back – during the dark era of the Taliban – it was merely a dream for Shora Qadiri and other girls to go to school,” Feminist Majority Foundation Global Issues Associate Fatema Syed wrote on the FMF blog in May. “But now, after the collapse of the Taliban regime and with the help of the international community, Afghan girls are once again attending school, at the primary secondary, and university levels, and they are proving that if given opportunities, they can thrive.”
USAID has already contributed $1.1 billion to the improvement of Afghanistan’s education. In July, the agency announced “Promote,” a five-year program seeking to educate, promote, and train women between 18 and 30 in the region. Previously, the agency launched a program aimed at increasing literacy for Afghan women and girls called Afghanistan Reads that established community libraries and opened up literacy classes for 840 women.
Media Resources: USAID 8/21/2014, 7/18/2013; TOLOnews 8/21/2014; Feminist Newswire 9/17/13, 5/19/14