Afghan master trainers ready to support Basic General Literacy classes to benefit 15,000 youth and adults

Twelve (12) million (with 7.2 million female) youth and adults (age 15+) are deemed illiterate in Afghanistan of a total population of 36 million, according to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics in 2018. From 2008 to 2019, UNESCO improved the levels of literacy, numeracy and vocational skills for an estimated 1.2 million beneficiaries, two-thirds of whom are women.15,000 youth and adult learners will receive basic general literacy courses in 2021-2022 under the “Better Education System for Afghanistan’s Future” (BESAF) project. The project is funded by the Government of Sweden’s Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and implemented by UNESCO Kabul Office and the Ministry of Education, with a view to, among other things, increasing access and demand for adult

education and literacy for marginalized and disadvantaged groups and communities in Afghanistan. To ensure qualified competent trainers to provide basic general literacy courses, the Ministry of Education, with technical assistance of UNESCO Kabul Office, successfully organized a ten-day training of trainers (ToT) of 124 master trainers from 12 provinces during November and December 2020. The participants included programme implementation managers, monitors and district literacy managers, who were selected based on their expertise in the delivery of literacy services in the field.

Jalila, a District Literacy Manager from Herat Province in Afghanistan, stated that the training was useful as it “offered me pragmatic tools which I will further use as a literacy manager.” She further emphasized that her “knowledge was increased on how to guide monitors, to train facilitators to monitor the literacy classes and provide literacy classes to learners in the most effective way.”

The training was originally planned for early 2020. However, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the training had to be rescheduled for late 2020 when the situation allowed for face-to-face training.

The training consisted of three modules, namely Teacher Training, Monitoring & Evaluation and Non-formal Education Management Information System (NFE-MIS). Each of the areas will further endow the master trainers to transfer the knowledge and experiences to the 564 literacy facilitators who will be trained to provide literacy classes to thousands of learners across the country in 2021.

During the closing ceremony of the training, participants from different provinces expressed their gratitude for the continuous dedication of the Ministry of Education and UNESCO towards expanding literacy provision in Afghanistan. They also confirmed their commitment to transfer their knowledge and expertise to the facilitators and literacy staff in their

respective provinces. The Ministry affirmed that in 2021, the number of literacy courses would be doubled expanding its reach to additional provinces.

The basis of building people’s knowledge, skills and competencies to cope with the evolving challenges and complexities of life, culture, economy and society begins with literacy. Being “literate” enables upward socio-economic mobility and allows citizens to engage in lifelong learning and participate fully in community, workplace and the wider society. Within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4.6 and the National Education Strategic Plan 2030, the Ministry, with the support of UNESCO, aims to strive towards the achievement of universal literacy and numeracy for youth and adults, both men and women, in Afghanistan.

In addition to increasing access to basic general literacy and skills-based literacy programmes, through the BESAF project, UNESCO supports

the Ministry of Education to develop, implement and monitor a robust education sector plan, and revise curricula and learning resources for formal basic education, non-formal adult education, and higher education as part of its overall collaboration with the Government of Afghanistan.