United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
New text books and curriculum for Afghan children

Paris - An agreement establishing a funds-in-trust to finance the upgrading of textbooks and renewal of the education curriculum for some three million school children in Afghanistan was signed today by UNESCO and the Government of Germany.

More than two decades of conflict have left the education sector in Afghanistan in a state of collapse. Although demand is rapidly expanding, access to education remains poor and resources are very limited. Learning and teaching are largely based on outdated pedagogical methods and materials. Rebuilding a modern curriculum and producing textbooks will take several years. This new project is aimed at jump-starting the process.

Germany has contributed US$450,000 to the project, which is part of a long term programme undertaken with the government of Afghanistan to renew the entire education curriculum and reinforce the capacities of the Afghan Ministry of Education. Training ministry staff in curriculum development, textbook design and the preparation of teachers' guides and materials is considered a top education priority by the Afghan authorities.

In the initial phase, efforts will be concentrated on building a core group of subject specialists who can modify existing textbooks, by removing harmful messages and including positive models of gender sensitivity, peace and tolerance, as well as health messages, landmine awareness and environmental conservation. These specialists will also begin the consultations to develop the framework for the new curriculum.

Under the second phase, a review will be made of existing materials and methodologies for education for peace, human rights and citizenship, including those developed by Afghans and internationally. The aim is to bring together practitioners from the Ministry, universities and NGOs to develop a resource bank in both Dari and Pushtu languages for use in schools and non-formal education. These materials will be tested in selected schools and a plan of action prepared for teacher training.

Finally, training will be undertaken to develop the capacity of the Ministry of Education to design and produce printed materials, installing a medium capacity printing unit and training the technical and production staff for printing and publication of Ministry documents.

Contact: Sue Williams
Bureau of Public Information, Editorial Section
Tel: (+33) (0) 1 45 68 17 06
E-mail: s.williams@unesco.org

Source Press Release No.2002-70
Publication Date 01 Oct 2002
UNESCO 1995-2007 - ID: 6664