Japan is the largest donor for literacy sector in Afghanistan and has long history of partnership with UNESCO, which has implemented the three phases of “Enhancement of Literacy in Afghanistan (ELA) programme covering over 1 million learners in 18 provinces during (2008-2018).
The new project’s ultimate objective is to strengthen the status and effectiveness of non-formal and literacy education within the framework of accelerated learning delivered through alternative education modalities. The project will be implemented jointly by the Deputy Ministry of Education for Literacy (DMoEL) and UNESCO within a period of three years (2019-2022) and will focus on establishing literacy courses, pilot accelerated learning centres and professionalization of 70 Adult Literacy Schools throughout Afghanistan. Broadly, the aim of the project is to improve the inclusiveness, quality and relevance of adult literacy and non-formal education that is being provided to Afghans aged 15 and above who have been excluded or left behind.
The project will underpin ongoing efforts by Afghanistan to meet its ANPDF, NESPIII, National Mobilization Strategy and SDG commitments, particularly in the areas of sustainable peace, economic growth and poverty reduction; and build on the significant achievements that have been realized in the literacy sub-sector over the last 10 years, particularly through the ELA program.
The work will be implemented by UNESCO in close collaboration with relevant departments at the Ministry of Education and the Deputy Ministry of Education for Literacy. The project is supported by the Government of Japan which is providing approximately USD 7.2 million (775 million Japanese Yen) for its implementation.
The signing ceremony for the project was attended by Dr. Mohammad Mirwais Balkhi Minister of Education,Takahashi YOSHIYAKI, Chargé de’ Affairs ad interim of the Embassy of Japan, Patricia McPhilips, UNESCO Representative in Afghanistan, Dr. Sardar Mohammad Rahimi, Deputy Minister of Education for Literacy, as well as a number of staff from the Embassy of Japan, the Ministry of Education, and UNESCO.
Speaking on behalf of the Education Sector, Minister Balkhi, welcomed the new phase of Japanese government funding to education sector and said that: “The Government of Japan and Afghanistan have been MoE’s long term partners since 2008 and has significantly contributed in expanding literacy and adult education services and supported DMoEL to strengthen its technical capacities both at the centre and provinces.” He added that the key objective of the Accelerated Non-Formal Education Program (ANEP) would be to help the DMoEL in establishing literacy and adult education centres, professionalization of the literacy school as well as in developing necessary policy documents for the Accelerated Education for youths and adults in Afghanistan which will be a focus of the MoE in the education decade.”
Takahashi YOSHIYAKI, Chargé de’ Affairs ad interim of the Embassy of Japan, remarked that “Japan believes education plays a key role to empower the people and society. Through the effective execution of this programme, adult literacy rate will further be enhanced and graduates of the programme will be employed for pursuing a better life in Afghanistan.”
Speaking on behalf of UNESCO, Patricia McPhillips, Director of UNESCO office in Kabul and UNESCO Representative to Afghanistan, acknowledged and thanked the Government of Japan for the generous contributions and strong commitment to the literacy and adult education programme in Afghanistan. She further thanked the Government of Japan and the Ministry of Education for the long-standing partnership with UNESCO, to improve and increase the learning opportunities for those Afghans who have been left out of the formal education system, thus, providing a critical opportunity for economic and social growth. She highlighted that the project aims for full inclusion of those seeking non-formal and continuing education, and this is reflected in the participation of women at over 50% of the learners, thus reaching out to the Afghan population as a whole.
Japan has been assisting Afghanistan’s nation-building efforts in various fields including security, infrastructure, agriculture, rural development, human resource development, education, health, culture and humanitarian assistance. The cumulative Japanese assistance to Afghanistan since 2001 amounts to more than $6.6 billion.