International Educator - July/August 2014 - 24

B Y DAV I D TO B E N K I N

Afghanistan has suffered
from decades of isolation
and war, capped by the U.S.-led invasions and
control that began in 2001. Higher education
has been among the major casualties in the
country, with higher education personnel,
infrastructure, and budgets depleted by the
ongoing conflicts.
But partnerships between higher education
institutions and organizations and their
counterparts in Afghanistan formed in the
last decade have proven a lifeline of support
for their beleaguered academies.
The partnerships tend to be workshops or
exchange programs between institutions in
the United States or other Western nations
and administrators, academics, and students
from Afghanistan, many heavily subsidized
by government organizations. Some aspects
of the exchange programs are mostly oneway, with students and professors from
Afghanistan tending to visit the United States
far more than visits in the other direction,
for example. U.S. academics have also been
heavily involved in staffing and supporting
some of the new higher education institutions
that have been created in recent years in
both countries. In addition, scholarships to
educate graduate students abroad funded by
Afghanistan's government organizations are
ramping up some exchanges.

24

INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR J U LY + AU G . 1 4

But there are many challenges and limitations. Ongoing violence places restrictions on the type of student
exchanges that can occur and limits travel in Afghanistan.
"You can't have student exchanges; even though we have
sent faculty to Afghanistan, we haven't sent our students
to institutions in this country," says Kenneth Holland, director of Ball State University's Center for International
Development who has led Ball State partnerships with Afghan institutions. "That's a disappointment for me. I was
walking down the hall in Kabul University, and I ran into
an American student and I asked who are you and why are
you here. He was a PhD student doing a dissertation on
something regarding Afghanistan. But you rarely see that."
With the drawdown of U.S. forces expected by the end
of 2016 in Afghanistan, and with political turmoil and violence continuing to roil the nation, the question remains as
to whether seeds planted by exchanges will blossom into
long-lasting partnerships and, significantly, whether U.S.
government bodies will continue to fund them.

Where There Are Challenges,
Opportunities Await
Afghanistan is an Asian country, primarily Muslim, has
a population of roughly 30 million, and is fractured into
sectarian groups with strong resentment of central government control. It has instituted a new constitution in
the last decade, and views education as a key component
of a national renaissance.
Resources in Afghanistan remain far lower than in the
West. Internet access is spotty, books are often old, facilities are frequently dilapidated, and class sizes are often
large. Afghanistan also suffers from relatively low penetration of English, curtailing their ability to fully benefit from
partnerships with U.S. institutions, gain accreditation, and
access free online materials.
While there was considerable higher education
penetration into Afghanistan in the 1970s, the sheer devastation and anti-education ethos faced by Afghan higher
education during the Taliban regime present a challenge
for educational rehabilitation.

A Pressing Need for
Revamping Higher Education
"I can't think of anywhere I have been where the need for
higher education restoration is greater," says Paul Smith,
director of the British Council USA, the United Kingdom's
official organization for international education and culture. Smith formerly held a similar position in Afghanistan
until 2012. "In the 1970s, the higher education situation
there was not bad, compared to other Asian countries,"

SHUTTERSTOCK

D EVASTATION
IS RAMPANT -



International Educator - July/August 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of International Educator - July/August 2014

Revitalizing Education in Afghanistan: Overcoming Decades of Devastation
All Smiles
In Brief
Voices: Kakenya Ntaiya: Founder of the Kakenya Center for Excellence
Education Abroad
Forum
In Focus
International Educator - July/August 2014 - Cover1
International Educator - July/August 2014 - Cover2
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 1
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 2
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 3
International Educator - July/August 2014 - In Brief
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 5
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 6
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 7
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 8
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 9
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 10
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 11
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 12
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 13
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 14
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 15
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 16
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 17
International Educator - July/August 2014 - Voices: Kakenya Ntaiya: Founder of the Kakenya Center for Excellence
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 19
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 20
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 21
International Educator - July/August 2014 - Revitalizing Education in Afghanistan: Overcoming Decades of Devastation
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 23
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 24
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 25
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 26
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 27
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 28
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 29
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 30
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 31
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 32
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 33
International Educator - July/August 2014 - All Smiles
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 35
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 36
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 37
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 38
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 39
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 40
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 41
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 42
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 43
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 44
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 45
International Educator - July/August 2014 - Education Abroad
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 47
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 48
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 49
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 50
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 51
International Educator - July/August 2014 - Forum
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 53
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 54
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 55
International Educator - July/August 2014 - In Focus
International Educator - July/August 2014 - Cover3
International Educator - July/August 2014 - Cover4
International Educator - July/August 2014 - SCover1
International Educator - July/August 2014 - SCover2
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S1
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S2
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S3
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S4
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S5
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S6
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S7
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S8
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S9
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S10
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S11
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S12
International Educator - July/August 2014 - SCover3
International Educator - July/August 2014 - SCover4
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