Education plays a pivotal role for any country on the road to reconstruction. In Afghanistan, the government recognized that education is a fundamental requirement for poverty reduction, development, nation building, good governance, peace, and stability.
The Challenge: A sector that needs rebuilding
Following decades of war, civil unrest, and political instability, the education sector in Afghanistan was left with badly damaged infrastructure, a lack of service delivery mechanisms, no national curriculum, a large illiterate population, and millions of children out of school. To achieve the Education for All and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Afghanistan needs to find solutions for its large numbers of out-of-school children and youth, its gender and rural/urban disparities, low quality of education, and administrative limitations. In addition, the Ministry of Education has inadequate resources and therefore relies on donor funding, which can be unpredictable and not harmonized.
The Solution: A GPE process that brings all partners together
Since 2008, the Afghan government and its development partners have had a mechanism in place to enhance development coordination. But in 2010, the Ministry of Education decided that the sector needed in-depth and focused technical discussions to help monitor progress and find solutions to bottlenecks. In preparation to become a GPE developing country partner eligible to apply for funding, the Ministry of Education, donors, and other education development partners in Afghanistan formed a Local Education Group (LEG).
During the process of developing Afghanistan’s National Education Interim Plan 2011-2013, the ministry played a strong leadership role, collaborating closely with all other members in the Local Education Group.
The Result: Better cooperation through the GPE grant
Afghanistan joined the Global Partnership for Education in 2011 after preparing its 2011-2013 Interim Education Sector Plan, which was the basis for a GPE grant of US$55.7 million. The grant focuses on getting more children in school through community mobilization and by providing community-based schooling using the government’s curriculum. The recruitment and training of female teachers are also part of the program. Although GPE funding is comparatively small, it makes a significant difference to Afghanistan’s education sector.
Since becoming a GPE partner, Afghanistan has participated in GPE workshops, enabling the government to better conduct sector monitoring and evaluation. Afghanistan is also a member of the GPE Board of Directors, representing the Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Central Asia region.