Structure of Education in Afganistan

Afghanistan is struggling to ground its feet and take the road of development  but regardless of hindrances, institutions are being established all over the country. Two separate systems exists in Afghanistan. The older system is a religious one, taught by the mullahs, who conduct schools in the village mosques. They teach the religious precepts of the Koran, reading, writing, and arithmetic.

The other system was introduced in Afghanistan's 1964 constitution and provided for free and compulsory education at all levels. The education system suffered tremendously as a result of the Taliban insurgency.

Education in Afghanistan is modelled on the American education system, it includes K-12 and higher education. The higher education is administered by the Ministry of  Education and also the Ministry of Higher Education.

Structure of Education System

The structure of education system includes Pre-higher education, the School education and the Higher education-

Pre-higher education system

Duration of this compulsory education:
Age of entry: 6
Age of exit: 12

Structure of school education system:

  • Primary
    Primary School providing this phase of education:
    Length of program in years:
    Age level from:
    7 to 13

  • Middle Secondary
    Type of school providing this education is the Middle School
    Length of program in years:
    Age level from:
    13 to 16
  • Upper Secondary
    Type of school providing this education is the High School
    Length of program in years:
    Age level from:
    16 to: 19
    Certificate/diploma awarded for this education is Baccaluria.

Structure of Higher education system:

  • Bachelor’s degree
    Length of program in years: 4
  • Master’s degree
    Length of program in years: 2
  • Doctorate degree
    Length of program in years: 3

Education System in Afghanistan

Grade From
Grade To
Age From
Age To
 Primary Primary School    -
    -   7 13
 Middle Maktabeh Motevaseteh 7 9 13 16 3 
 Secondary Doreyeh Aali 10 12 16 19 3 
 Vocational Vocational in Lower & Upper Middle School 7 72 13 19 6 
 Vocational Technicums 8    - 14 20 6Graduates of these institutions are recognized as holding qualifications equivalent to those of post-secondary education.
 Tertiary Bachelor's Degree University level first stage    -    -   -   - 4 
 Tertiary Master's Degree    -
    -   -   - 2 
 Tertiary Doctorate    -
    -   -   - 3 

Primary Education

One of the oldest schools in Afghanistan is the Habibia High School situated in Kabul, which was established by the then King Habibullah Khan in the year of 1903 to edify the students of Afghanistan from the nation's elite class. Education was  improved under the rule of King Zahir Shah between the year of 1933 and 1973. This made the primary schools available to about half the population of the country who were younger than the age of 12 years, and also expanding the secondary school education system and Kabul University.
Primary education lasts for six years.There is a provision of compulsory education from ages 6-12, from grades 1-6.

New Education Methodologis
Since the toppling of the Taliban rule, under the collective efforts of Afghan experts as well as the international experts, the program has been changed from extremist Islamic teachings to one moderately better with new variety of books, and with better training than the previous training. However, till now, there is no standard and international level curriculum in the textbooks of secondary schools and high schools. The textbooks still remained woefully scanty in number and content as well.

Secondary Education

Admission to the secondary education is strictly based on an entrance examination. Secondary education covers six years that is divided into two three-year cycles:
  • Maktabeh Motevasetehgrades: 7 to 9, studied in middle school, known as Maktabeh Motevaseteh, and
  • Doreyeh Aali: Grades 10 to 12 at the high school known as Doreyeh Aali.
After the end of the first cycle, the students appear for an examination. After the end of the second cycle, they write for the baccalaureate.
Technical secondary education is offered in the lower and upper secondary cycle at middle schools in such subjects as Commerce, Teacher Training, Applied Arts, Aeronautics and Agriculture.

Higher Education

The Afghan Ministry of Higher Education is the Government ministry that is in charge of operating, growing and developing the institutions of Afghanistan for higher education. Higher education is mainly offered by six different universities (including a University of Islamic Studies), one Institute of Agricultural, one Polytechnic institute, one State Medical Institute and the colleges of teacher training.

For the past five years, higher education had been prohibited for the young women in different areas that were controlled by Talibans. For the first time in the year of February 2002, with the support from UNESCO, over 1000 women students wrote entrance examinations of several universities in Afghanistan.

Degrees in Higher Education

Bachelors Degrees: The first stage of higher education leads to Arts, Social Science, Education, Agriculture and Science are awarded  after four years of study whereas professional degrees in Veterinary Medicine, Engineering five years; Medicine for seven years.

Doctorate Degrees:Programs leading to a Doctorate in Arts, Architecture, Natural Sciences Engineering and Social Sciences are conferred after three years' study following upon the Master's Degree.
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