Rebuilding Afghanistan’s Higher Educational System: Observations from Kabul
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AbstractThis paper describes the crucial issues and challenges facing Afghanistan’s universities as they begin the demanding task of rebuilding and restructuring their university system after two decades of war and civil unrest. The setting for this qualitative study is a four-day professional development conference for Afghan university presidents and academic deans sponsored and funded by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the Afghanistan Ministry of Higher Education. Cooperative Studies (an NGO, not-for-profit educational organization located in Kansas City) provided a team of academics to Kabul, Afghanistan, to offer professional development workshops. Using the Grounded Theory Methodology as a theoretical framework for this research, data was derived from interactive sessions, questionnaires, informal dialogue, small group sessions and question and answer sessions; the perspectives of the 39 Afghan academic leaders are presented as they describe the problems facing university administrators in their country today. Findings identify these challenges and center on 1) the lack of autonomy; 2) the need for qualified faculty; 3) concerns regarding students’ access and preparation; and 4) concerns about funding and budget issues. Based on these findings, policy suggestions and recommendations are provided.