Schools2030 Afghanistan is active in Baghlan, Bamyan and Badakhshan provinces.
Afghanistan is a land-locked, mountainous country in Central Asia, often referred to as “the crossroads of Asia”. The population is roughly 40 million, with nearly three-quarters of Afghans living in rural areas. A large proportion of its population (46%, or 18 million) are youth under 15 years of age.
Political unrest and upheaval has led to a number of educational challenges for Afghanistan: an estimated 3.7 million children are out of school, 60% of whom are girls. Fewer than 40% of girls were enrolled in secondary schools before the Taliban takeover of governance. Since late 2021, secondary school education for girls has been constrained and many schools, early childhood development (ECD) services and community-based education centres have been closed due to a freeze in international aid. Teacher training and professional development opportunities for both school and ECD sectors remain limited.
Despite these many challenges, the education system in Afghanistan remains focused on three key areas: quality and relevance, equitable access, and efficient and transparent management. Education stakeholders in the country are working to bridge humanitarian and development work in education. The aim is to reach those furthest left behind and enable long term change while also addressing immediate needs.
Despite these myriad pressures, the work of Schools2030 with communities in Afghanistan has been ongoing, supporting and training Afghan educators in both human-centred design (HCD) and holistic learning assessment.
Our Team in Afghanistan
Dr. Ahmad Zamir
Schools2030 National Coordinator
National Advisor Education
Ahmad Rashed Hayati
Evaluation & Learning Manager
National Manager, Implementation/ Operation-Education
National Programme Manager, Education
National Director, Education
In 2021, Schools2030 Afghanistan worked alongside MAGENTA Consulting as their Assessment Partner to support the development of holistic learning assessment tools. The tools have been developed to correspond to national curricular priorities in Afghanistan – the selection of holistic learning domains for each age group was made during a workshop conducted by MAGENTA which brought together representatives from the Ministry of Education, Schools2030’s education partners and Aga Khan Foundation staff. As a result, learning outcomes were selected, covering knowledge and skills that are priorities for young people in Afghanistan, including communication, creativity and collaboration.
Alongside partners Oxford MeasurEd and Save the Children, MAGENTA and the Schools2030 team worked to create bespoke and translated and contextualised versions of a variety of assessment tools – some of these are available free and open-source via the links below, with additional tools to be added as they are developed and validated.
To date, 238 teachers trained on how to assess student learning outcomes. These teachers with the support of the AKF technical team conducted assessments with 1,904 students across 34 schools. For the quality assurance a 30% back check was conducted by AKF staff.
Access examples of assessment tools
from across our programme countries.
All these tools are available free to download below and will continue to be refined and iterated to ensure robust psychometric validity.
Using the assessment data and the Human Centered Design tools developed by Schools2030, the schools’ teams have so far produced 60 innovative practical solutions to enhance student learning outcomes. The process has helped them identify factors that might be creating barriers to academic success and have developed these innovations accordingly. AKF is now providing targeted funding so that these innovations can be implemented and tested for efficacy.
Learning of letters and numbers through storytelling
TO IMPROVE: Literacy and Numeracy
AGE GROUP: 5+
To bring words to life, teachers in this ECD centre are trying out a new method of storytelling whilst learning. To begin, the teacher gathers the children in a circle and put pictures of the objects on the walls in advance.
Under each picture is the relevant letter of the alphabet that the object begins with installed in a large and visible font. The teacher works collaboratively with the students for each letter related to the picture so that the child gets to know the letters and learns the word related to the picture. The same method is used for identifying numbers and simple arithmetic.
Then the teacher in the same circle reads a story to the children, while another teacher notes new words related to those pictures and the alphabet already installed on the wall. In this approach, children listen to a story and learn new words and numbers. The next day students are assigned to tell a story to their mates in the same circle.
TO IMPROVE: Literacy, numeracy, science
AGRE GROUP: 10+
Students are divided into mixed groups, with mixed abilities (these are rotated every month to encourage collaboration across the different students).
The teacher then employs a series of games to encourage a more fun and stimulating learning environment. This includes the use of flash cards and a question-based ticketing system. Later in the week, the teacher gives a research project to each group based on what had been learned through the games earlier in the week.
Game with letters and numbers
TO IMPROVE: Literacy, Numeracy, Science, Communication, Culture
AGE GROUP: 10+
This innovation allows for teachers to work with students in smaller groups, employing different play-based activities using magnets, shapes, letter and number cards and a range of local materials as teaching aids.
The smaller group work has enabled the teachers to give better support to individual students and the peer groups have improved the students’ confidence to communicate effectively with one another.
Dari teacher, Abdul Rahman, commented: “I start from very basic learning of the language like recognizing the letters, the combination of the letters, making the words, and sentences through using the magnet letters and card, in small group work. Now most of the students can read and write a text.
Download our HCD Tools for Afghanistan (Dari version) to start creating education innovations in your school.
Schools2030 Human-Centred Design Toolkit
Schools2030 Human-Centred Design Facilitator Guide