Experts on Mining and Raw Materials
Degree courses on mining and geology at Afghan universities do not focus enough on practical issues and do not adequately prepare graduates for the labour market. Over the decades of violent conflict, Afghan universities have lost their specialist laboratories and their international contacts. The outdated libraries have remained unchanged since the 1970s, and students and lecturers alike lack access to the latest know-how. Moreover, teaching methods are outdated, and university management lacks international experience and skills. Under these conditions, the Afghan universities cannot train qualified mineral resources experts. However, highly qualified specialists are urgently needed to help stabilise the country.
Key Afghan universities, particularly Kabul Polytechnic University (KPU), offer modern, market-oriented courses, above all in geology and the extraction of fossil fuels and metals. Kabul University also offers the minor subjects of mining law, administration and economics. The Bachelor degree courses in mining and related minor subjects have been redesigned, and KPU has up-to-date facilities. Teaching staff at KPU and individual lecturers at other universities have undergone methodological and practical training in Afghanistan and abroad. They can apply innovative, practical teaching methods. Scientific exchange has been resumed with universities, mining companies and authorities in Afghanistan and abroad.
As such, the participating universities, primarily KPU, are able to train qualified mineral resources experts who are well prepared for the labour market. These experts help ensure that Afghanistan can generate more state revenue from mining in the long term and hence has greater funding available to support development and stability in the country.
Measures and Results
The project takes a broad approach: newly designed degree programmes, better university facilities and teaching staff qualifications, internships, and national and international exchanges are helping to strengthen the mining sector in Afghanistan. Improvements that are felt quickly, if possible, are pursued.
At Kabul Polytechnic University, five bachelor degree programmes in mining have been modernised. In addition, subsidiary subjects related to mining have been developed for people studying public administration, economics and law, and have been integrated into the relevant curricula. Thus, the two large universities in Kabul can offer students a broader range of education in the extractive sector. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg and Ruhr Universität Bochum (RUB) supported the universities in adapting their courses to international standards.
Greater practical focus
A central aspect of the programme is the stronger practical focus of university education in the extractive sector. A new faculty laboratory has therefore been set up at KPU, and students can take part in international excursions and sign up for internships in Afghanistan and abroad. Around 180 students have already taken advantage of this opportunity, gaining direct insight into everyday work in business and administration. This practical experience improves the students’ job prospects and supports them as they start their career.
There are also practical further training opportunities, such as excursions and laboratory training, aimed at the lecturers, which help the teaching staff focus more clearly on practice in their teaching. In addition, the programme gives lecturers the opportunity to take part in methodological training.
The programme has managed to reintegrate Afghanistan’s previously rather isolated mining faculties into scientific exchanges at national and international level. It now primarily aims to further develop regional networking between Afghan universities. There is already close cooperation with universities in Germany, Iran and China. This gives teaching staff and students access to up-to-date knowledge and innovative teaching methods. Plans are being made to establish contacts with other countries, such as India. The programme supports participation at specialist conferences and enables Afghan university staff to present their research in countries such as Iran and Kazakhstan. So far, around 360 Afghan lecturers have taken part in conferences, symposiums and study trips. In this way, the experts from Afghanistan are once again becoming part of the international scientific community.