Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in Afghanistan

In recent years the number of secondary school graduates in Afghanistan has inceased significantly.  Despite this increase, there still remains a severe shortage of skilled workers for many economic sectors in the national economy.  In an effort to meet the market demand for a more skilled workforce, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GoIRA) has recognized the need to strengthen its Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) service delivery system.  A demand-driven TVET service delivery system is a critical component of any national workforce development effort that strives to produce skilled labor force.

One of the first steps that the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GoIRA) has taken to improve its TVET service delivery system has been to identify some of the key challenges with which it is confronted.  A recent Ministry of Education report (MoE, 2005) has identified the following as the key challenges:  First, the infrastructure of TVET facilities is in urgent need of rehabilitation and/or reconstruction and the TVET workshops are inadequately equipped with machinery, tools and supplies.  Second, the existing TVET curricula is out-of-date and not linked to the current labor market demands.  Third, the TVET service delivery system is currently experiencing an acute shortage of qualified teachers as well as textbooks and learning materials.  Fourth, there are  insufficient linkages between the TVET system and the labor market.  Firth, the national TVET system lacks consistent standards, an accreditation framework, a quality assurance system and a strong teacher training program.

In an effort to strengthen its workforce development efforts and improve the skill sets that secondary school graduates acquire through TVET programs, the MoE has begun focusing its efforts towards the following areas:   (a) improving the quality of TVET education; (b) upgrading the status of TVET teachers; (c) strengthening linkages between TVET and industry, business and the market sector; (d) aligning TVT curriculum to the needs of industry, business and the market; and ( e ) integrating formal TVET into a national qualifications framework so that there is greater horizontal and vertical mobility.  The National Education Strategic Plan (1385-1389), the National Development Strategy (2010-2013) and the National Qualifications Framework represent several initiatives that support strengthening of workforce development efforts.

Through the National Education Strategic Plan, TVET is being strengthened by reforming the national TVET curriculum so that it is consistent with labor market needs; developing national accreditation standards; equipping existing TVET schools and centers with modern standards of skills training; developing the capacity of teaching staff; and increasing the enrollment in formal TVET schools and training a greater number of semi-skilled and skilled workers. In fact, in order to strengthen the relationship between formal TVET and private sector market needs, the Deputy Ministry of TVET has signed a Memodandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI).

Within the National Development Strategy (2010-2013), workforce skills development has been identified as a national priority.  The National Development Strategy promotes greater communication and coordination with the private sector.  The development of a National Qualifications Framework, whose implementation has been scheduled for 2012, strives to strengthen the coordination of TVET activities across various ministries such as the Ministry of Education (MoE), Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled (MoLSAMD), Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA) and Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) so that a unified set of TVET standards, certification, accreditation and service delivery system is established.  One of the potential benefits of developing a National Qualifications Framework where a unified set of standards, certification, accreditation and service delivery is established across public and private sector service providers is to address the systemic lack of uniformity and consistency.