The development objective of the Second Education Quality Improvement Program is to increase equitable access to quality basic education especially for girls through school grants, teacher training and strengthened institutional capacity with support from communities and private providers.
Improving the quality of education is a critical ingredient for human capital development, poverty alleviation and economic growth in Afghanistan. Since 2002, the Government of Afghanistan has focused on reviving the primary-secondary education sub sector. The Afghan Constitution (SY1382) mandates free and compulsory education from Grade 1 to Grade 9 and a free education to Grade 12. The Ministry of Education (MOE) employs approximately half the entire civil service of Afghanistan – there are an estimated 170,000 teachers and 30,000 school administrators. Of these, approximately 50,000 teachers and 600 school administrators are female.
While major achievements have been made since 2002, enrolling more than seven million children in school, the challenges remain daunting. A massive skills deficit cuts across all institutions in Afghanistan, from principals to teachers, and from managers to skilled labor force needed for the bulk of the reconstruction work and its maintenance. Increasing conflict in the country undermines further education access, quality and institutional capacity.
The Second Education Quality Improvement Program (EQUIP II) is a follow-on program to the Education Quality Improvement Program (EQUIP I). The Program is fully aligned with the Afghanistan National Education Strategic Plan and supports the institutional development of the program staff of the MOE.
EQUIP II is seeking to: (i) increase access to schooling from Grades 1-12; (ii) strengthen the management capacity of communities to better manage teaching-learning activities; (iii) promote institutionalized district based teacher training activities nationwide; and, (iv) prioritize education for girls through a household scholarship scheme and the provision of high school teachers in underserved schools. Institutionally, EQUIP II is consolidating the following implementation systems: (i) the community and school-based management education system; (ii) the supervision and monitoring systems through the Provincial and District Education Departments teams; and (iii) the systems, procedures and skills within key departments of the MOE to continue to guide education services in a systematic and result-oriented approach.
EQUIP has three components: (1) School Grants: There are complementary objectives of the school grants component: (a) to support the improvement of teaching and learning by facilitating the creation of enabling school environments; and (b) support the improvement of basic school facilities at existing government registered primary, middle, and secondary schools with teachers on the payroll; (2) Teacher and principal training and education: The objective of this component is to create sustainable systems which will increase the level of professional knowledge and skills of educators throughout Afghanistan. This component will provide much needed training to teachers and principals; and (3) Monitoring and Evaluation: The objective of this component is to (a) build on and support the existing structure for Education Quality Improvement Project (EQUIP) in Ministry of Education (MoE); and (b) establish and implement a practical monitoring and evaluation system for the project so that lessons can be drawn in a timely fashion to facilitate project improvement as well as policy making.