Continuing Education Unit to be established through partnership between Badakhshan University, University of Central Asia and Aga Khan Foundation, Afghanistan
The University of Central Asia (UCA) and Aga Khan Foundation, Afghanistan, which are both part of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Badakhshan University (BU) to establish a Continuing Education Unit at BU.
Under the agreement, UCA’s School of Professional and Continuing Education (SPCE) will develop the professional competencies of instructors who will teach at the BU Continuing Education Unit, leading to their international certification. UCA will also develop learning resources, establish English and information technology international testing centres within the Unit, and establish an Advisory Committee to review progress.
|From left to right: Dr Najmuddin Najm, (Aga Khan Foundation, Afghanistan), Dr Bohdan Krawchenko (University of Central Asia) and Mr Khisraw Nazari (Badakshan University) sign an agreement to establish a Continuing Education Unit at Badakhshan University
The MOU was signed on 19 April 2014 at the offices of the AKDN in Tajikistan by Dr Bohdan Krawchenko, Director General of UCA, Dr Najmuddin Najm, Regional Director for Badakhshan, Aga Khan Foundation, Afghanistan and Mr Khisraw Nazari, Director of BU. The agreement was established within the framework of the Multi-Input Area Development Global Development Alliance (MIAD GDA) programme, implemented through an innovate partnership between the Aga Khan Development Network and the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The Continuing Education Unit at BU will provide Afghan learners with the opportunity to improve their skills and knowledge in vocational fields at an international standard of education.
“This is a timely initiative, based on market needs. It will help BU build capacity and improve the quality of education in the region,” said Mr Nazari.
“UCA is delighted to embark on our first formal agreement with an institute of higher learning in Afghanistan, and bring our experience and expertise from across the border to build capacity in Afghanistan,” said UCA’s Dr Krawchenko. “This agreement will enhance cooperation across borders and improve the livelihoods of future students through the professional development of instructors and the provision of internationally recognised certificate programmes.”
The BU Continuing Education Unit is one of six learning centres established or supported by SPCE in Badakhshan province under the MIAD GDA programme to improve access to quality skills training. In the coming five years, these centres will train over 11,000 Afghan learners.
“Implemented through an innovative partnership between AKDN and USAID, the MIAD GDA programme makes investments across a range of sectors (e.g. education, health, rural livelihoods, sub-national governance) to support long-term stability and growth in Badakhshan, and is grounded in the premise that progress is most effectively achieved by working across economic, social and cultural sectors in a given geographic area over a sustained period,” said Mrs Nurjehan Mawani, Diplomatic Representative of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in Afghanistan.
Since it was established in 2006, UCA’s SPCE has worked with local institutions to deliver continuing education and technical vocational programmes in Central Asia and Afghanistan. SPCE provides training for instructors, as well as high-quality learning opportunities to help learners build critical skills and enhance employability.
To date, over 1,500 Afghans in northeast Afghanistan have completed SPCE programmes in English, Information Technology and Accounting. In 2012, recognising that training local Afghan instructors could increase access to learning opportunities, SPCE launched a programme to support professional development at government teacher training institutions and private education centres in Badakhshan province.
UCA has implemented a range of other initiatives to strengthen human and institutional capacities in Afghanistan, including the training of Afghan public servants in trade policy and negotiations through the University’s Institute of Public Policy and Administration and a Central Asian and Afghanistan Research Fellowship programme supporting scientists working in fields related to Natural Resource Management and food security through the University’s Mountain Societies Research Institute.