A Committee on Education and Skills Policy (CESP) will be established under the Chairmanship of the Vice President. It has been agreed between MOE, MOHE and MOLSAMD, that the NSDP o f the MOLSAMD will take on the responsibilities o f initially establishing a Secretariat for the CESP. The CESP will comprise o f the Vice President, representatives o f MOE, MOHE and MOLSAMD, a representative of MOF, two members representing the private sector, and two members representing the donor community (on a revolving basis).

Component 1: Develop Regulatory and Quality Assurance Framework for TVET (Total $1.5 million, IDA $1.5 million)

The GOA, recognizing the need for coherence across various levels o f learning in the country, has committed itself to undertaking difficult reforms and in developing a new institutional framework for education and training, and in particular for TVET. This component will create the necessary institutional conditions for a TVET system in an effort to satisfy the requirements o f the above stated PDO. The two main elements o f this component include the establishment o f an appropriate regulatory structure and quality assurance system; and a Qualifications Framework. This component will be developed in parallel with the implementation o f Components 2 and 3. This is a difficult component, requiring the establishment of new institutional and regulatory structures to replace the existing structures that are fragmented across three or more ministries. The focus on the priority sectors (Administration and Management, Accounting, ICT, Basic Engineering Trades, and Agriculture) allows for the implementation o f Components 2 and 3, even though Component 1 is not fully developed.

This component builds on existing designs and plans for independent institutions to help regulate and ensure quality provision across the education and training sectors, though it i s unlikely that without the added impetus provided by the proposed project, it i s unlikely that these institutions will get established. For example, the original strategy documents of the NSDP calls for the establishment o f an independent authority for TVET. However, no legislation has been drafted or moved in the past three years. Similarly, the MOE has plans for the establishment o f an independent board for secondary education, and the proposed project could assist the MOE put such an institution in place. However, as stated earlier, the roles and responsibilities o f such institutions are not clear; their modes o f operation are well established, and sometimes not even relevant to a dynamic and vibrant education and training system. The key contribution o f the proposed project i s to bring together a disparate set o f actors, with a similar set o f goals, to help develop an education and training framework that provides coherence across various levels and is comprehensive in its coverage. It is necessary to strengthen these institutions, bring them under a properly defined legislative umbrella, make explicit their functions, roles and responsibilities, and to professionalize them so that they can become pro-active agents in the institutionalization and sustenance o f the TVET system as envisaged in this document.

It i s clearly recognized and understood that the institutional system must be designed, and must operate in such a manner that capacity i s built throughout the range o f trades and skills, but must do so in a way that will ensure standardization, and therefore competitiveness o f Afghan labor vis-à-vis labor from foreign countries.

The specific activities to be accomplished through these components are described in the three sub-components highlighted below.

Sub-component 1.1: Establish of the Afghan National Qualification Authority (Total $0.3 million, IDA $0.3 million)

This sub-component will establish the ANQA through an act o f parliament. This will be the highest regulatory and standards setting body in the country for education and training and would help bring about coherence (when the QF is developed) to the education and training sectors.

A Committee on Education and Skills Policy (CESP) will be established under the Chairmanship of the Vice President. It has been agreed between MOE, MOHE and MOLSAMD, that the NSDP o f the MOLSAMD will take on the responsibilities o f initially establishing a Secretariat for the CESP. The CESP will comprise o f the Vice President, representatives o f MOE, MOHE and MOLSAMD, a representative of MOF, two members representing the private sector, and two members representing the donor community (on a revolving basis). A Designated Officer o f the NSDP will be the Secretary to the CESP, but without the rights o f a full Member. All ministerial representation will be at the level o f the Minister, with their deputies being identified as the alternates on the committee. The Secretariat o f the CESP will be responsible for all administrative and management functions of the CESP – including the hiring o f technical experts needed to draft legal documents for the establishment o f new, statutory, regulatory structures, and for the development o f the NQF). The CESP shall initiate the establishment of the Afghan National Qualifications Authority. Upon the establishment o f ANQA, all policy and other functions performed by CESP under Component 1 o f the Project, including the development and institutionalization o f the National Qualifications Framework, will be transferred to the ANQA.

The agreement to avail o f the facilities and personnel o f the NSDP PIU as a Secretariat for the CESP initially is reflected in a Memorandum o f Understanding (MOU) between the three concerned ministries and the NSDP”. The Secretariat o f the CESP will be responsible for overall coordination of Component 1. The Secretariat o f the CESP will ensure coordination across government, donors, and user-agencies for a sustainable and smooth multi-year programmatic approach to building the TVET capacity in the country. The Director of the NSDP will oversee the program, with the assistance o f consultants and longer-term national staff all chosen competitively. The TORS for all persons to be hired and brought on board will be shared with the CESP for comments and the selection will be done by a duly appointed sub-committee o f the CESP

The CESP-Secretariat will work in close coordination with the concerned departments (such as DTVET) and other relevant ministries and agencies involved in TVET. The main function of the Secretariat is to facilitate the implementation of Component 1. It is also responsible for (a) assuring steady progress o f execution in accordance to an implementation schedule reviewed and approved by the World Bank, (b) regular reporting to the CESP, and (c) ensuring that a high ethical standard and transparency is maintained throughout the process.

All new regulatory bodies established under Component 1, would be statutory bodies having been approved by an Act o f Parliament, and shall be independent o f all ministerial linkages. This includes the Afghan National Qualifications Authority and the awarding boards, such as, the Board for Secondary Education, the National Vocational Education and Training Board, the Islamic Education Board, and the Higher Education Board. The statutory nature o f these decisions will ensure the corresponding developments needed to finance such an entity in the initial years, with the expectation that over time (approximately ten years) these bodies will become self-sustaining

All new regulatory bodies will be headed by professionals who will have the title o f CEO. For the interim period, they will receive some support from the project but in the long run these new bodies will receive financing from the Government, but through a direct budget line that does not pass through the provider ministries, such as, MOE, MOLSAMD, and MOHE. Such an arrangement will ensure that the quality control and quality assurance functions o f these institutions, i s not compromised by a financial dependence on provider ministries. Such a separation between a regulatory authority and providers is needed to ensure checks and balances in the system to improving the quality, relevance, equity and access to education and training programs.

The CESP may evolve into an oversight committee to oversee the functioning of the ANQA and related bodies depending upon the view that the Government takes after the establishment o f the ANQA. At this point in time however, it i s anticipated that the CESP will cease to exist once the ANQA has been established.

The CESP will put in place the necessary administrative, legal and regulatory foundations needed to establish the ANQA in a time-bound manner. Outputs, approvals and concurrences o f the CESP will therefore include: (a) the presentation and ratification of an Act in Parliament for the establishment o f the ANQA, and to define its Charter, role and mandate under the Act, and (b) all other interventions required to effectively implement the Act.

The specific functions o f t he ANQA will be to: (i)es tablish and maintain a National Qualifications Framework (NQF) for the recognition, development and award of qualifications based on standards, skills, and competencies to be achieved by student and trainees; (ii)es tablish and promote the maintenance o f awards standards at least in the area o f WET and perhaps in other areas as well depending o n which other bodies are established; and (iii)pr omote and facilitate access, progression and movement through the Framework.

The Act will also establish or modify other institutions which together will constitute the sub-ordinate qualifications, standards, quality assurance and awarding authorities for the education and training sectors. In particular, the Act will simultaneously establish the National Vocational Education and Training Board (NVETB)”, which will be a major element in terms o f TVET reforms.

Sub-Component 1.2: Establish the Afghan National Qualifications Framework (Total $0.8 million, IDA $0.8 million)

This sub-component will be implemented by the ANQA which will oversee the design, development, and institutionalization o f the NQF. The NQF will provide a levels-based structure needed to map all education and training competencies into specific award-types and helps to create a learner centered environment.

This is particularly important in the Afghan context given the disruption in education and training due to conflict years, The NQF will help to:

• recognize prior learning (for example, o f the large number of IDPs and returnees),

• bring about much needed standardization through the adoption o f levels based curricula and awards,

• provide a clear signal to employers on the abilities and skills available,

• allow trainees to concretize their learning needs and develop a commitment to life long learning

• Lay the groundwork for reciprocity and mutual recognition arrangements with other countries.

Establishing and maintaining an NQF will require a number o f steps:

• engage in extensive consultations in the process o f developing the guidelines for establishing the NQF,

• decide on policies and criteria on which the NQF i s to be established

• Prepare an outline o f the proposed framework.

• Define the relevant levels in the framework and the generic learning outcomes (knowledge, skills and competences) associated with each level.

• prepare a background consultative paper on the proposed NQF development for the next

• series o f consultations to obtain a consensus on this with other stakeholders

At each step of the way it i s important to review the purpose o f the NQF in light of the need to move towards a more learner centered approach to education and training, instead o f the current system where the learner is merely a participant.

Once a framework has been mapped out and legally approved, the Authority would have to work with awarding bodies, such as, NVETB, to apply this new framework, develop standards for new qualifications, and ‘map’ existing qualifications on to the framework.

Sub-component 1.3: Establish Awarding Board (Total $0.4 million, IDA $0.4 million)

As stated earlier, the Act will also provide the necessary legal and regulatory underpinning needed to establish several awarding bodies or councils. For TVET, the Act will provide legislative cover for the establishment o f a National Vocational Education and Training Board (NVETB) with a formal charter. The Act will also provide space for the establishment o f a Board for Secondary Education, an Islamic Education Board, and a Higher Education Board as stated earlier.

The establishment of the NVETB has already been envisaged in earlier government documents (please refer to Education Sector Strategy prepared by the ANDs and to the strategy document o f the NSDP). It i s anticipated that the policy functions currently being undertaken by the various departments within the MOE, MOHE, MOLSAMD, and the NSDP PIU will be transferred to the NVETB once it has been established. These Boards will be independent entities with their own staffing, budget and functions, but will act under the direction of the ANQA to realize their aims and objectives, as set out in the Act. The NVETB will be a joint decision making body and will include in its membership all the key national stakeholders involved in the TVET system in the country.

The Boards will be primarily responsible for facilitating and applying the policies o f the ANQA and in ensuring that the procedures set by it are implemented by providers. The Boards will maintain the quality and standards demanded by the ANQA. They will also have the right to determine credit for prior learning and the awards to individuals who have not gone through any specific provider or without participation in specific programs, in terms o f the NQF.

The proposed Secondary Education Board will help ensure that the ‘school leaving’ standards set by the ANQA are being complied with through the conduct o f a common school leaving certification examination, and through other quality control and assurance mechanisms. The MOE has expressed a desire to establish an Islamic Education and Training Board to provide a systematic relationship between students in Islamic education programs and those in general or vocational schooling. This will allow for developing coherence across similar levels of competencies in both general and Islamic education, and permit the movement of students from one to the other. The adoption of such a model would make it a first of its kind in the world.