Strengthening Higher Education Project
The development objective of the project was to progressively restore basic operational performance at a group of core universities in Afghanistan, which provided an institutional base for an agenda focusing on tertiary education development, capacity building and reform
The Strengthening Higher Education Project achieved its Development Objectives through the implementation of the following components:
1) Program Development and Quality Improvement in Key Higher Education institutions
a) University Partnership Program: This sub-component was designed to facilitate and finance partnership programs between six Afghan universities (two in Kabul and the four regional project universities) and established foreign universities (especially those within the South Asia region). Financial and technical contributions from various foundations were actively sought in the process. The partnership program was primarily designed to provide support for: (i) curricula revision and preparing facility plans; (ii) training programs for Afghan faculty at partner institutions; and (iii) visiting professorships in Afghanistan for partner institutions.
b) Block Grants: The primary purpose of the block grants was to enable universities to implement those activities prioritized in their strategic plans in order to restore the basic operational performance of universities. Block grants were expected to support the installation of basic administrative systems and procedures and to improve academic programs in order to enhance the performance of universities, especially in selected faculties. They could also be utilized for the establishment of new programs or rehabilitation of physical facilities, in line with the strategic needs of the university.
2) Higher Education System Development
a) Support for a new governance system: This sub-component was designed to provide technical assistance for strengthening governance in all higher education institutions through: (i) defining the relationship between the Ministry and higher education institutions in order to facilitate/promote the autonomy and accountability of the institutions, (ii) identifying the information flow between universities and the MOHE, and (iii) reviewing the financing strategies for higher education, including developing funding formulae and mobilizing external resources.
b) Support for a quality assurance system: This sub-component was designed to support the development of an autonomous accreditation and quality assurance system for both public and private universities.
- 100% of the selected faculties revised and updated their curricula;
- 49% of faculty at the twelve project universities achieved at least a Master's degree;
- 50% of administrative staff at MoHE and the project universities received management training; Computer, science labs and libraries made operational in selected faculties of all 12 universities (12 project universities have a total of 84 science labs, 50 computer labs, and 37 libraries which are fully operational);
- All twelve project universities constructed or renovated at least one new building for teaching and learning;
- A five-year National Higher Education Strategic Plan was developed;
- All 12 project universities established a functional student service center;
- All 12 universities have developed and implemented strategic plans;
- A Higher Education Information Management System (HEMIS) was developed and introduced to 9 project universities;
- All 12 universities carried out an internal self-evaluation;
- A National QA Commission was established and national standards for QA has been introduced to all 12 project universities;
- All twelve project universities started offering a new student orientation.