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Dr. Frideres and the Afghanistan Teacher Certification and Accreditation Project

 

Dr. Jim Frideres, Emeritus Professor of Sociology: Research in the Field - Afghanistan Teacher Certification and Accreditation Project [TCAP-Afghanistan]

The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has developed a vision and strategy that will facilitate the development of Afghanistan’s human capital by providing equal access to quality education for all by enabling all Afghan people to participate and contribute productively to the development and economic growth of the country.  The new Government policy states that regardless of gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status or religious affiliation, all school aged children and youth will have equal access to quality education in order to develop the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes required for a better future—both for themselves and for their country. As such, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Higher Education have initiated education policy reforms intended to bring its educational systems more in line with international good governance practices.


 

Background

In the early years after the fall of the Taliban, education was a top priority for the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan government and donors. Much of the Government and donor focus was on getting children back into school, with a particular emphasis on the primary level.  The Back to School campaign, launched in 2002, significantly expanded enrollment nearly seven-fold, from 900,000 in 2000 to 6.7 million in 2009.  For girls, the increase has been even more dramatic: official enrollment figures have increased from an estimated 5,000 under the Taliban to 2.4 million girls currently enrolled. Many of the girls enrolled through the Back to School campaign are now completing primary/secondary school and soon will be ready to entre Teacher Training Colleges across the country. Currently there are 42 Teacher Training Colleges across Afghanistan with a number of satellite colleges serving rural areas.  These Teacher Training Colleges prepare students who want to become teachers who will work in basic education classrooms for grades 1-9.  Today there are nearly 40,000 students enrolled in Teacher Training Colleges in both Pre- and In-service programs; with about 60 percent female.

The Project

The Afghanistan Teacher Certification and Accreditation Project (TCAP-Afghanistan) is a five year Government of Canada funded initiative. It is being implemented by the World University Service of Canadian partnership with the Teacher Education Directorate of the Ministry of Education, Government of Afghanistan. The project embodies five core activities:

  • Accreditation of Teacher Training Colleges in Afghanistan,
  • Development of certification of qualified teachers,
  • Development of curriculum and pedagogy of pre-service and in-service teacher education,
  • Develop strategies for Gender equity in the provision of teacher education in Teacher Training Colleges, and
  • Create a Teacher Professional Association.

Of particular concern for Afghanistan is that there are few common standards established for the Teacher Training Colleges.  This has been reflected in the knowledge that graduates of some Teacher Training Colleges may not be fully prepared to deliver high quality education for their students.  There also is concern that some of the Teacher Training College instructors (those who teach the current and prospective teachers) are not adequately prepared to deliver high quality teaching and/or that the institutional infrastructure is not sufficient to allow faculty at Teacher Training Colleges to deliver a quality education for future teachers. 

To achieve TCAPs goals, several Working Groups, established under the Teacher Education Directorate, were created.  Dr. Jim Frideres has been working as the Technical Advisor with the Accreditation Work Group, the project manager in Kabul and Afghanistan staff for the past two years to present a case for the creation and implementation of a National Accreditation and Quality Assurance Committee that will accredit all Teacher Training Colleges across Afghanistan.  In the initial stages, the Committees’ activities will focus primarily on accreditation—ensuring that all Teacher Training Colleges meet minimal standards for teacher preparation.  However, once Teacher Training Colleges are accredited, the Committees’ activities will then focus on enhancing the quality of teacher preparation within Teacher Training Colleges. 

Dr. Frideres is working with the Accreditation Working Group and three “pilot” Teacher Training Colleges (Bamyam,  Nangarhar (Jalalabad), Sayed Jalmaluddin (Kabul)  in different regions of Afghanistan that are committed to the search for and dissemination of knowledge and skills to prepare grade 1-9 classroom teachers.  He has established and mentored Quality Improvement Circles in each of the pilot colleges and they are working with him in preparing the College for obtaining accreditation.  Once the three pilot colleges have gone through the process of applying for accreditation, final changes in the process will be put in place and then all Teacher Training Colleges will undergo the process of accreditation.   

To achieve the objectives of the project, Dr, Frideres is working with four other Canadian colleagues on this project. He also meets with many Government agencies and Departments that have a stake in enhancing the quality of teaching in Teacher Training Colleges.  His involvement has allowed him to travel throughout Afghanistan, meeting scholars and administrators from the various Teacher Training Colleges.  In addition, he is working in collaboration with international NGOs in Afghanistan whose mandates are also is in the field of education.  The model being proposed for Afghanistan will strengthen teacher preparation, set and consistently apply standards across the Teacher Training Colleges and will support quality assurance mechanisms such as institutional self-assessment and verification. These changes will benefit students, families, educational institutions, employers, citizens and Government at all levels.

Dr. Frideres has been working with the Ministry of Education and the Accreditation Working Group for the past two years, under the direction of the Teacher Education Directorate to develop the criteria for accreditation, the evidence (indicators) that will be reviewed to assess whether or not accreditation is given to each Teacher Training College and to develop an administrative structure by which to carry out the process of accreditation. Thus far Dr. Frideres has had six missions to Afghanistan to work with the Ministry of Education and will be presenting the final policy document to the Ministry for ratification this summer.