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Advancing Higher Education in Afghanistan

Advancing Higher Education in Afghanistan

By Roohullah Rahimi – Chief Strategy Officer at Kardan University

Launching the Center for Higher Education Development at Kardan University

Higher Education in Afghanistan has witnessed incredible growth over the past 20 years. An estimated 350,000 to 400,000 Afghans are currently studying a variety of programs in public and private institutions of higher education. While to some degree, access and quality of higher education services have improved progressively; the dramatic development leap in higher education has not materialized in the country. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), gross enrollment in higher education in Afghanistan stands at a dismal of below 15%. More importantly, quality-related issues plague the vast majority of higher education institutions, which is further exacerbated by a deficient regulatory apparatus.


To enable a pathway towards systemic reform of higher education, it begins with reforming the higher education law towards a progressive and responsive higher education sector where public universities are let loose from the shackles of the Ministry of Higher Education, and private universities are regulated to be the engine of growth and innovation. A fundamental reimagination of higher education in Afghanistan is needed to align quality and standard parameters with global norms, ensure robust regulatory performance, and improve service delivery to students.

To contribute to higher education sector development, Kardan University is launching a Center for Higher Education Development (CHED), which harnesses Kardan University’s resources, knowledge, and networks to advance higher education developmental priorities in Afghanistan. Through research activities, innovation programming, and expertise focused on higher education reform and development, CHED will be a catalyst for advancing critical higher education development priorities through locally driven solutions.

600+ Kardan students with international scholarships from Fulbright, Chevening and DAAD.

In order to improve higher education standards in the country, important systemic reforms are needed. These reforms need champions and advocates from the stakeholder community that comprises the higher education sector. The Center for Higher Education Development at Kardan University will serve as a champion and advocate for higher education reform and advancement in Afghanistan.

As a knowledge-based platform, CHED will serve the regulator, universities, industry, and students through activities and interventions to bring about the fundamental reimagination of higher education in the country. Investing in CHED is an attempt to better leverage in Kardan University’s development sector. Efforts to achieve higher impact and enable Kardan to contribute more substantially to higher education reform and development in Afghanistan.

To enable and advance a progressive development agenda in the higher education sector that advances students’ interest above entrenched bureaucracies, CHED will roll out highly imaginative and market-led sustainable approaches to achieve a higher development impact. Strategies that focus on generating the most value from public and private spending on higher education. Through a phased roll out in concert with other stakeholders, CHED will work to advance the following program areas:

See Also

Research and Knowledge

Through research and knowledge dissemination, CHED will serve as the knowledge partner to regulators and the higher education community. CHED will work with the private sector, public sector, and industry to facilitate research projects targeted at the higher education sector.

Higher Education Innovation

CHED will advance critical innovation in higher education targeted at policy, regulation, and value chain development. CHED will work with many partners to roll out events and platforms that bring together researchers, policymakers, and industry to showcase their latest products, services, and innovations.

Technical Advisory

CHED will mobilize a critical mass of experts, including, scholars, professors, and researchers to serve as a competency center. CHED will fill the gap in the higher education sector by serving as an intellectual hub adopting and implementing best practices aimed at higher education sector development. In the long term, CHED will serve as a community and resource base, provide thought leadership and technical advisory and training to uplift capabilities aimed at improving practices and standards in the higher education sector. Through broad-based collaborations among the variety of stakeholders that comprise the sector; CHED will serve as a resourceful partner to regulators, universities, and students.

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