Sep 3, 2009

Why Afghan universities don’t offer master programs?

Afghanistan universities are not academically prepared to offer master programs in the next 10 years. There are many justifications among the academics and government officials that why they are not able to offer this program. I can think of two main reasons for this gap in the Afghanistan universities:

The primary reason is the three decades of conflict and unrest in the country which has destroyed and dismantled all the educational and academic infrastructures. These infrastructures are university setups, buildings, campuses, material resources and academics and professors. For example, most of the campuses and material resources were destroyed by the exchange of gun fires inside the cities between the jihadi parties and armed militias. In addition to the damages caused by the above militias and armed jihadi parties, the academics were forced to leave the country and look for asylum or shelter to the neighboring countries, Europe and the US. Now 8 years after the collapse of Taliban we have got some fair campuses but still the academics have not returned to the country or remained weak due to the fast – evolving technology of education and university environments.

The second factor that has helped universities not be able to offer master program is the system disorganization and traditional socialist behaviors and ideologies. Infact, the long term Soviet Union powerful presence and invasion has affected most of the Afghan nation perception of higher education, academic system and university management. Today we do not only face a challenging demand of students for graduate and PhD programs but a severe need of the market in the country for professionals and experts in any field. There are some private universities in major cities especially in Kabul, but still half of the students remain out of higher education access every year. Unfortunately the government has not been able to come up with a practical approach in handling this shortage in the higher education system in Afghanistan. On the other hand the mafias in the universities do not let new comers to join the universities as academics due to power, ethnicity or other racial and political orientations and the government proved to be very ineffective and weak to address this issue.

In summary, Afghan government has not only been able to design and implement a professional development strategy for higher education itself, but not let the private sector to join the traditional system and make universities independent to decide themselves. The only mechanism to help Afghan universities offer master programs is to train more professionals and integrate donors, private sector and new reforms in the higher education system and use all material and human resources for the demand of the new generation.


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