Sunday, March 09, 2014

Afghanistan turns to MS University to improve education

In every lesson or two that the kids in Afghanistan will learn now on, MS University, Baroda will have played a role for the better. Blighted by war, Afghanistan is looking to India to improve its education sector. And the choice has fallen upon the Department of Educational Administration of MS University's Faculty of Education and Psychology.

For the first time, education officers of Afghanistan are undergoing training and study programme outside their own country. Since Friday, 16 education officers deputed by the Ministry of Education, Afghanistan are undergoing a training programme at the MSU department through a programme funded by the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA).

"The aim of this training and study visit is to increase awareness among the Afghan education authorities on approaches used in India and globally in managing schools," said Sayed Mukhtav Sadaf, project manager of SCA, which works closely with Ministry of Education of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and its provincial and district departments to support community-based education.

"Although there are near 100,000 teachers and over one million students enrolled in the 10,000-odd schools in Afghanistan, quality of teaching is a big issue. For instance, during our visit to a school here, we realized that biology, which is taught to grade XI students here, is taught in grade eight in Afghanistan. This is happening as the context of education is not understood by the curricular development department and teachers are not being able to cope up with this," Abdul Baseer, senior education officer, said. Interestingly, the organizers had explored many other destinations before they finalized to undergo training at MSU.

"Culturally, we are very close to Indian people and it is easy to identify ourselves with Indians. India is 100 years advanced compared to us but the United States is 1,000 years ahead of us. Understanding education model of India can help us select its best to suit our needs," said Baseer. The group of officers visited Zenith School recently. They will visit other city-based private and government-run schools during their ten-day intensive training programme.

"It is a matter of pride that our department has been identified at the international level for training the educational managers. We will continue to work in this direction and extend our academic support to the educational organizations world over in capacity building of human resources for quality education," said MSU professor K Pushpanadham, who is director of the training programme. International organization, SCA, is operating in Afghanistan for almost 30 years now.

Source: The Times of India, March 9, 2014

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