The United States has contracted the University of Indiana and the University of Massachusetts ‘ Center for International Education to help reform universities in Afghanistan. The two will partner together with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to provide assistance to 18 Afghanistan universities.
Together, they will work with Afghanistan’s Minister of Higher Education to provide assistance with program change, budgeting, management, and strategic development to help meet the country’s higher education initiative. Priority will go to retraining teachers, providing internet access, and developing a modern library. Two masters programs will be developed; English and Public Policy/Administration. A teaching program provides a 4 year training program for new teachers.
Afghan Universities are praising the move, saying that it is essential that Afghan students move into to the 21st century. Speaking English, learning web based applications and having access to books, are all listed as major contributions towards that goal.
Currently, there are 22 universities in Afghanistan. They run on a combined budget which amounts to only about 1.5% of the countries entire budget. USAID will be providing an additional $20 million dollars. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Higher Education said that additional money is a great asset because, up till now, a higher education was considered by most Afghans as being a luxury. One of the goals is to put a higher education in the reach of every Afghan student.
The University of Massachusetts will receive a $9.9 million grant from USAID to help offset their costs.
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