2011 TC Pressroom
Teachers College, Columbia University
Teachers College Columbia University

TC Media Center from the Office of External Affairs

Section Navigation

Rebuilding Education in a Troubled Nation

Images

Rebuilding Education in a Troubled Nation

Teachers College, UNICEF and Afghan Ministry of Education representatives meet in Kabul.

In the fall of 2003 several faculty members traveled to Afghanistan to lay the groundwork for a National Academy of Education, an endeavor designed to train teachers and develop curriculum. For Teachers College, the trip was really a journey back.  Until 1978 the College had worked closely with the Afghan government, assisting with teacher training and curriculum development.

 Traveling to Afghanistan to help the country rebuild its education system were professors Nancy Lesko, Michele Genor, A. Lin Goodwin and retired professor Margaret Jo Shepherd, along with Barry Rosen, then Executive Director of External Affairs and now Afghan Project Director.  They went to Afghanistan to reestablish the relationship between the Afghan people and the College.  In November, they were joined in Kabul by President Arthur Levine, who went to observe first-hand whether Teachers College would be able to effectively help the war-ravaged land.  Convinced that TC could play an effective role in post-conflict Afghanistan, Levine and Afghan Minister of Education Yunis Qanooni signed an agreement that will result in the development of a system of teacher training, a new curriculum framework, and new textbooks.

The dedicated staff of this project, a partnership between the Afghan Ministry of Education, UNICEF and Teachers College, has already begun writing teachers' manuals, and for the first time in more than two decades, rewriting early primary-school textbooks.

 During their historic meeting, Qanooni told Levine, "Of the 4.2 million children now enrolled in primary school in Afghanistan, I am proud to say that 1.7 million are young girls. I am proud of this astonishing change."

Commenting further on the new curriculum and TC's presence in Kabul, Qanooni continued, "We are attempting through our new curriculum framework to shake off any notion of fundamentalism and prevent the politicization of our schools. We want to create a new generation for a modern country. We want to be part of the world family. Our next generation must know about citizenship, peace education, the value of women's rights, and horrors of terrorism and the destructive nature of narcotics. Without the support of our international friends, however, we cannot succeed to build a new Afghanistan.  Therefore, we are happy to have your cooperation. This is important for us and, indeed, the world family."

previous page