Afghanistan’s Ministry of Education articulates a vision for youth and adult literacy education that places literacy education as a foundation to lifelong and life-wide learning. In the revision of its literacy program, currently underway, the Ministry is committed to providing learner-centered and competency-based youth and adult basic/literacy education.
UNESCO’s Enhancement of Literacy in Afghanistan (ELA) program is building the capacity of the Literacy Department in curriculum development for youth and adult literacy education programs. As part of this initiative, UNESCO and the Literacy Department conducted a three-day workshop in April 2015 to introduce competency-based education. Participating agencies and organizations included the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs & Disabled, ANAFAE, CARE, SCA, JICA, other national non-governmental organizations, and representatives of the media. The workshop was designed to support the Literacy Department and other literacy stakeholders in the formulation of competencies, appropriate and relevant for the Afghan context. These competencies will serve as the foundation for the development of an updated and revised basic education program for youth and adults. Dr. Ulrike Hanemann, Senior Programme Specialist at the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), provided technical assistance to the workshop organizers.
At the workshop’s opening ceremony, H.E. Mr. Mohammad Azim Karbalai, Deputy Minister for Literacy at the Ministry of Education, expressed his gratitude to all participants. H.E. Karbalai stated, “Over the past two decades great progress has been made in literacy education. This progress is a result of the efforts of the Literacy Department and all literacy stakeholders. Among literacy stakeholders, UNESCO’s ELA Programme has supported DMoEL in revising the existing adult literacy curriculum and improve the competencies based on a demand-driven approach.”
As a part of the plan, the UNESCO team has conducted a needs-assessment process in seven provinces of Afghanistan - Mazar-i-Sharif, Khost, Kandahar, Kunar, Kapisa, Daikundi and Faryab- to document motivations, needs, and aspirations of learners, facilitators, and literacy field staff in preparation for the competency and curriculum development process.