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Published
November 24, 2015

Transforming Higher Education in Afghanistan

Success Amidst Ongoing Struggles

What are the major issues for higher education in a fragile state? Surely they include stability, safety for students and staff, continued access to learning, funding, retaining staff, and maintaining quality. But how can these be achieved?
Abstract: Previous work has shown the vital role of higher education in national development through knowledge production. We know that “the role of tertiary education in the construction of knowledge economies and democratic societies is more influential than ever. Indeed, tertiary education is central to the creation of the intellectual capacity on which knowledge production and utilization depend” (World Bank 2002, p. xvii). How could that be done amid conflict and war in a very fragile state? The author wanted to find out.

What are the major issues for higher education in a fragile state? Surely they include stability, safety for students and staff, continued access to learning, funding, retaining staff, and maintaining quality. But how can these be achieved? Further, does higher education play a role in facilitating stability in a war environment? We will see that it does in many ways.

Fred M. Hayward has drawn on his more than 12 years of experience working closely with the Ministry of Higher Education in Afghanistan to write this reflective narrative. Hayward is a specialist in higher education with more than 25 years of experience as an educator, scholar, senior administrator, and higher education consultant. He was senior associate for the American Council on Education for more than 10 years and executive vice president of the Council on Higher Education Accreditation in 2001 and 2002; he has been a higher education consultant for the World Bank, Carnegie Corporation, Ford Foundation, Academy for Educational Development (AED), USAID, several ministries of education, and numerous universities focusing on higher education change, governance, strategic planning, and accreditation.

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