Celebrate Solutions: Improving Education in Afghanistan by Training Better Teachers

By: Rati Bishnoi, Catapult

The Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL)—an award-winning civil society group committed to improving Afghanistan’s future—is developing Afghanistan’s next cadre of innovative educators, one teacher at a time.

Training teachers is a critical solution for helping increase the capacity of one of the weakest education systems in the world. A high illiteracy rate and resistance against educating girls serve as modern-day reminders of Afghanistan’s dark past. During the Taliban’s rule across the 1990s, approximately half of the country’s schools were destroyed, the school curriculum was restricted to religious subjects and girls were banned from attending school altogether.

Now there are more than 8.2 million Afghan children going to school, including more than one million girls. While this increase in an important change, the renewed demand for quality education has strained already limited resources—in particular, the education system’s ability to train teachers to educate the next generation of students.

Through its Teacher Training Program, AIL provides interactive and student-centered instruction, which serves as a “radical departure” from the traditional method of dictation, memorization and recitation. Instead, AIL’s teacher training emphasizes thinking critically, using logic to problem solve and interpreting and evaluating information.

Interactive workshops on the basic techniques of teaching are offered in combination with advanced subject matter classes, such as report writing, ethics, creating lesson plans, identifying objectives, classroom principles, primary math, psychology, basic and advanced literacy, Dari, administrative responsibilities, fundamentals of Afghan law and women’s rights.

According to the institute’s evaluations, working to educate educators has a strong positive impact on students. In particular, students become more confident, self reliant and open to sharing ideas with peers. In addition, they learn and adapt quicker and are able to read at the same level after three months of instruction as students who have been learning to read for three years under the traditional method. In addition to learning faster, AIL’s teacher training staff help develop curriculum, training seminars, and life skills workshops in topics, such as health, psychology and manners. Since its launch in 1996, AIL has helped train more than 20,000 teachers and helped improve the lives of more than 5 million students.

How you can help:
AIL is currently raising funds on for one interactive teaching technique seminar to develop the skills of 35 teachers and impact 1,050 students across one year. To get involved and donate to this project, please click here.

To view more than 60 other solutions on Catapult, please click here.

Photo credit: Afghan Institute of Learning

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