TVET provincial and school authorities in Kabul consulted on the national School Improvement Planning approach
In Afghanistan, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) school improvement planning (SIP) mostly takes the form of donor-funded projects and programmes, with beneficiaries limited to selected institutions and the use of a mix of inconsistent standards and frameworks. There is an absence of a national and standard approach to school improvement planning for TVET. Afghanistan’s new TVET strategy (2020 – 2024) highlights, “A combination of top-down standardization of resources with delegating decision-making for planning is to offer the most viable strategy to make TVET Authority responsive, and effective in addressing the localized needs” (p.36). Both practice and policy indicate the need for a national approach to SIP through which each TVET institution can be assessed for continuous improvement.
As requested by the TVET Authority (TVET-A), UNESCO is providing technical and financial support in developing and piloting a consistent national approach to SIP within the framework of the Capacity Development for Education (CapED) Programme. The methodology, framework and process of the SIP have been developed in close consultation with the TVET-A, provincial TVET authorities and TVET institutions as well as development partners including GIZ and Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau KfW Bankengruppe (KfW) active in the field of TVET school improvement planning.
The TVET-A Directorate for Policy and Planning together with UNESCO convened a one-day consultation meeting on the SIP approach on 20 June 2021. The hybrid in-person and virtual meeting included representatives of the Kabul provincial TVET Authority, Kabul Business Institute, Kabul Mechanical Institute, Kabul Multi-trade Institute, Kabul Jomhuriat Institute, Kabul Journalism Institute, Women’s Accounting Institute and Kabul Agriculture Institute. As a key partner in School Functionality Assessment (SFA) – School Development Planning (SDP), a GIZ representative also joined the consultation.
The consultation started with a presentation of the methodology, framework and process of the SIP followed by an intensive discussion on how an effective national approach can incorporate existing good practices while meeting the emerging needs of different institutes and their beneficiaries. Mr. Shafiq Rohollah, Director of Policy and Planning, remarked on the significance of the consultation, “It is the first-of-its-kind consultation in Afghanistan to bring together central, provincial and school representatives as well as key development partners for school development planning. The alignment between the national TVET strategy, provincial plans and school improvement plans is of critical importance in achieving a shared goal for the provision of quality TVET services.”
Some key takeaways from the consultation meeting:
A national school improvement planning approach is necessary and should be integrated into the central TVET system, with sufficient human resources and financial support available to schools.
The existing SIP practices such as School Functional Assessment (SFA) programme can be complementary to the national school improvement planning (SIP) approach for a comprehensive SIP or SDP approach available for each school’s customized use.
Budget is a very important and a fundamental issue for the development and implementation of school improvement or development plans. The TVET-A is in a better position to have a coordinated approach for resource mobilization and fund allocation for the SIP practice with both government budget and development funds.
Participants highlighted some important indicators related to curriculum, teacher training, post-graduation support and the link with the world of work. These areas might be the priority areas for implementation under UNESCO’s support to TVET-A, especially the areas on the world of work, post-graduation learning, and career counseling services. The aligned project on ‘Transforming the Afghan Korea Vocational Training Institute (AKVTI) into a national centre of excellence’ funded by Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and implemented by UNESCO Kabul Office can synergize with the SIP activities and address some of the idenfified priority areas.
The rationale for the national SIP framework is to produce a comprehensive set of indicators from which a prospective TVET school or institute can choose, rather than a minimum prescriptive set. It is suggested that each school can select different areas for improvement assessment and planning at the pilot stage of the project.
Some areas such as the connection with the world of work have always been at the advocacy and conceptualization levels, but have never been part of the school curriculum in the implementation stage.
An incentive mechanism or performance-based disbursement of the school budget should be activated at the school level based on the school plan and specific achievements.
UNESCO will further strengthen its partnership with key development partners such as GIZ to support the TVET-A on the journey to school improvement and/or development planning.
UNESCO’s CapED programme started in Afghanistan in 2010. Significant programme achievements so far encompass the development of Afghanistan’s first TVET strategy, the publishing of the Quality Matters report for non-formal TVET and the creation of the TVET Management and Information System (MIS). The activities for the years 2020-21 comprise the further enhancement of the TVET MIS and the development and piloting of the national SIP approach.