An Overview of the National Higher
Education Strategic Plan
Dr. Fred M. Hayward
Ministry of Higher Education
January 25, 2011
Introduction: Key Elements
To improve access to higher education. To
double enrollments by 2014 from the 67,000
in 2008 to 135,000, of whom 115,000 would
be in public higher education.
To increase the quality of teaching, research,
and service to the nation.
To improve the quality of the faculty through
PhD and Master’s training for over 1000
faculty as well as in service training to
upgrade technical staff.
To rehabilitate the infrastructure -- build
additional classrooms, laboratories, computer
labs, offices, and other facilities for 50,000
more students in public institutions.
A goal is to hire as many as 1800 additional
teaching faculty to accommodate increased
access for students and to meet new critical
needs while keeping the current average 25:1
student teacher ratio.
To produce quality graduates relevant to the
needs of the country.
To encourage research which focuses on key
issues and problems facing Afghanistan
including its agriculture, business, mining,
education and public sectors.
To contribute to growth, national
development and the personal well-being of
the citizens of Afghanistan.
Total cost: $564 million over five years
Actual and Projected Total Higher
Education Enrollments in Public, Private,
and Community College 2005-2014
Actual and Projected Enrollment in Higher Education Universities and Institutions in
Afghanistan: Public, Private, and Community Colleges 2005-2014
and Institutes
Total Enrollment
The Strategic Plan builds on:
The Constitutional obligation of the state is to
provide quality higher education to its citizens
The Afghan National Development Strategy
which sees higher education as one of its
eight pillars.
The Ministry of Higher Education’s
commitment to develop a high quality higher
education system relevant to national needs.
Extensive consultation with universities,
government officials, and donors.
The realities of Afghanistan today.
Vision for Higher Education
A high quality public and private higher
education system that responds to
Afghanistan’s growth and development
needs, improves public well-being,
respects traditions, incorporates
modern scientific knowledge, is well
managed, and internationally
The Mission
To facilitate equitable access to higher
education for all who are academically
qualified; establish innovative institutions that
provide high quality teaching, research, and
service; produce graduates who are
competitive in a global economy; contribute
to economic growth, social development,
nation building, and the stability of the
High Quality Tertiary Education
Nation Building
Ethics & Integrity
Equity of opportunity
Good Governance, Effectiveness & Efficiency
Institutional Autonomy
Public Accountability
Two basic programs:
To educate and train skilled graduates to
meet the socio-economic development
needs of Afghanistan, enhance teaching,
research and learning and encourage
service to the community and the nation.
To lead and manage a coordinated system
of higher education comprising
universities, institutes, and community
colleges dedicated to providing high
quality tertiary education.
I.1 Faculty & Staff Development
Increase the number of faculty by 1800 to
accommodate the growth of students to
115,000 by 2014. Increase staff by 800.
Faculty professional development: Increase
faculty with PhDs from 5.2% (in 2008 the
base year) to 20% by 2014 which means
training approximately 350 abroad during
plan period. To raise the number with
Master’s from 31% to 60% which will require
training about 700 faculty and sponsored
student abroad. Cost $63 million.
Faculty Members by
Academic Degree (2008)
Number and Percentage of Faculty Members by Academic Degrees in Public
Higher Education Universities and Institutions in Afghanistan
134, 5.2%
792, 30.8%
1646, 64.0%
Expand Master’s Programs in Afghanistan
from five currently with goal of doubling the
number by 2014 at comprehensive research
Improve teaching and learning with emphasis
on both. Provide short courses and training.
Encourage faculty exchanges to enhance
teaching, learning, and research.
Implement 2009 promotions policies
emphasizing merit based decisions and
Clarify the retirement policy and provide
formal mechanisms to keep outstanding
faculty beyond age 65.
I.2 Curriculum enhancement and
teaching material development
Carry out a national needs assessment re:
the curriculum
Reform and broaden curriculum focusing on
quality and state-of-the-art standards.
Emphasize problem solving, discussion, and
research for students.
Emphasize English and other foreign
language instruction.
Promote textbook writing and translation in
Dari and Pashtu.
Encourage internships and professional
practice for students
I.3 Infrastructure Improvement
Carry out a review of facilities and a needs
assessment re: quality, increases in students
& faculty
Maintain a moratorium on new higher
education public institutions except
community colleges.
Rehabilitation of existing facilities. We
estimate the cost to be about $28 million over
the plan period.
Construction of new classrooms, laboratories,
IT facilities, offices, etc. Estimated cost of
$142 million
Construction of new dorms and rehabilitation
of some existing facilities with goal to
accommodate 100% of eligible women
students and 30% of students overall. Some
cost recovery is envisioned. Cost est. $112
IT infrastructure and Higher Education
Management System (HEMIS) to improve
data management, coordination, and
analysis. To establish system wide networks
linking all campuses to the MoHE and the
I.4 Research and Graduate
Research Funding will be provided on a
competitive basis to encourage faculty
research. $5.7 million is sought to 2014.
Have funds for next 3 years from World Bank.
The MoHE will set up a research directorate
to help raise funds and monitor programs.
Universities are urged to create a culture of
research on campus and partnerships with
institutions abroad.
Encourage the comprehensive research
universities to develop graduate programs.
II.1 Governance:
Capacity building and reorganization at MoHE
to oversee and monitor the strategic plan.
Regular meetings between MoHE and higher
education institutions.
Have established a donors working group to
enhance coordination and cooperation.
Greater financial autonomy for institutions &
the ability to establish foundations.
Dependent on approval of H. Ed. Law.
II.2 Access, Expansion & Structure
More efficient use of facilities with morning,
more evening, and vacation classes.
Community colleges to fill a gap in training of
mid-level technical students for positions now
mostly filled by foreigners. Provide a two
year Associates of Arts Degree (AA)
transferable to universities. Build 5 Com.
Colleges for 5000 students. Cost $26 million.
Private higher education. Focus on quality
assurance and access. Encourage non-profit
sector. Require accreditation.
Student services: MoHE will work to improve
student services including counseling, mental
health, health, and placement. Partial
funding from World bank. Additional $1.8
million need to expand to all institutions.
Students with special needs. Provision of
services including access.
Access to education. MoHE is committed to
gender equity. It will encourage bridging
programs for marginalized and
underrepresented groups.
II.3 National Admission Exam:
Staff training to enhance effectiveness.
Redesign exam to insure promising students
in the arts and other areas are not
Assist higher education institutions in making
catalogues, information on admission, rules &
regulations, graduation requirements,
available to student, parents, and the public.
II.4 Quality Assurance &
MoHE began a self-assessment process for
higher education institutions in 2010 to start
the quality improvement process.
Establish the Afghanistan Quality Assurance
and Accreditation Agency under umbrella of
the MoHE but autonomous. Review all public
& private institutions. Await H. Ed. Law.
Work closely with universities & institutes.
Authority will rest with a Board of academics
& professionals appointed by the Minister.
II.5 Funding Strategy
Increase funding for higher education.
MoHE plans to decentralize major financial
and academic authority in keeping with
efforts to improve quality and effectiveness
Facilitate and encourage entrepreneurial
higher education including cost-sharing.
Work to reduce non-academic expenditures.
Seek to develop a scholarship program for
poor students in context of cost sharing.
II.6 National Research & Education
Establish a network linking all higher
education institutions, MoHE, and Internet
Develop data collection and analysis systems
for Ministry and institutions.
Facilitate expanded access to the Internet for
faculty, students, and staff to all campuses.
Establish a digital library available to faculty,
staff and students
Provide for user training.
III. What does it mean for you?
A high quality strategic plan in place
 Progressive, forward looking focused in
improved quality, merit recruitment and
promotions, more efficient administration.
 Positive reception of the Strategic Plan by
funders and Kabul Conference. Hopefully
will turn into actual funding. Req. $211 m.
 Donor response has been slow. Need to
encourage their active funding.
Upgraded teaching and learning,
research and service important.
Research for development focus.
Opportunity for collaboration with
universities abroad.
Language requirement for new
faculty. English emphasis.
Faculty/staff development funding
started. Will need a great deal of
cooperation and assistance with
outside universities for effective
faculty development.
IV. The challenges
Funding request total – $560 million
World Bank initial funding $20 million is
first tranche. Working on 2nd and 3rd.
Donor response to strategic plan positive
but little funding to date.
Capacity building started at the MoHE.
MoHE will assist campus capacity building.
Some faculty resistance (a world-wide
tradition) but generally positive response.
Fear of change
Fear of competition
Implementation at the national level
Need to create a new kind of campus culture
for faculty and students. That will be a major
effort in which you can help.
Need a new commitment to national
development at the university level.
Organization of the process at the MoHE.
Higher education law needs approval.
Need commitment at every level.
Selling community colleges (2 years, AA
and AS degrees). Important to protect U’s.
Need assistance in making the case
World Bank empirical evidence that no
nation develops without a high quality
higher education system
Fragility of the current moment
Problem of security
Political uncertainty
Fence sitters
Building a future based on national and
international investments to date.
Faculty & staff can set the example with
commitment to change.
International commitments vital. You can help.
Provide needed training here and in
Embrace the new young faculty members with
continued mentoring – e.g. U. Mass & Indiana
Be a voice for the new order. It can be a
bright future. Things are in place for that to
happen. We all need to help make the case.
Help create high ethical standards; if higher
education is not about truth we are all in
trouble (help bring an end to growth of
plagiarism, favoritism, back stabbing).
Be a role model for others.
Take advantage of the process of institutional
strategic planning and self-assessments to
think about program transformation.
V. Conclusions:
You have tremendous opportunities now to
help Afghan higher education.
There are major challenges too that will
require a great deal of tact and commitment
on your parts
You are in positions to influence the future at
an exciting time and have an opportunity to
make a major contribution to the
transformation of Afghan higher education.
Time is short. I don’t think there will be
another opportunity.
Thank you. Are there any questions.

An Overview of the National Higher Education