Afghanistan has suffered decades of war, civil unrest, deep poverty and repressive governments. With most of its formal education system devastated under Taliban rule, it is now one of the weakest in the region. Although progress has been impressive since the fall of the Taliban, from a 4% enrolment in 1999 to 79% in 2010, education still faces significant obstacles in Afghanistan. Girls from rural areas and/or poor households are particularly disadvantaged. Their access to education is curtailed by a myriad of factors ranging from early marriage to a major shortage of female teachers. The chances of girls advancing to the secondary level of education are even slimmer – the net attendance rate of girls is more than two times lower than that of boys. Only one in five Afghan women aged 15-24 are literate. Despite immense donor investment in the early post-Taliban years, the education sector in Afghanistan continues to suffer. In a country where nearly half of the population is under the age of 15, the fate of education lies hand in hand with the fate of the entire country.
Great Idea taps into the potential of mobile technology to develop an innovative distance learning opportunity for both students and teachers at the secondary school level. The specific goals of the Great Idea project are:
- To support the Ministry of Education in the provision of quality secondary education to 21 existing secondary and high schools in the districts centres of Sayed Khel, ChariKar, Bagram and Jabal Saraj through distance learning (DVD, radio and the support of mobile communication).
- To increase the enrolment of girls in the selected secondary schools and to decrease the drop out of students during the course of the secondary education cycle.
- To raise awareness on the importance of education, especially for girls and strengthen involvement of parents, pupils, teachers, religious leaders and other community members in the four selected districts of Afghanistan.
In the longer run, increasing access to secondary education for girls will also have an impact on the socio-economic situation of rural women increasing their income generating activities. Teaching is still one of the professions for women relatively accepted in Afghan culture. Secondary education will also increase women’s chances of taking a more active role in economic and social development within the household and the community.
The quality of both primary and secondary education is poor in Afghanistan which is caused by the lack of;
1. thorough content-based knowledge;
2. understanding and knowledge of effective teaching methods;
3. safe, student-centered, conducive learning spaces;
4. low quality teaching and learning materials
A video produced by MSR Productions for partner organisation CHA explains the need of the Great Idea project in more detail.