Security Sector Reform as a Part of University Education of Young Afghan Professionals – Slovak Experience
1st October 2012 - 30th September 2013
The aim of the project is to establish Security Studies program at University in Kabul. It attempts to create space and conditions for the education in this field at selected Afghan universities. Slovakia will provide Afghanistan with the Slovak experience from transition process, Security Sector Reform, civil-military relations and building up of civil society.
Primary target groups are the academics and young professionals (students of Afghan universities), with potential to influence future orientation of Afghan security and foreign policy.
The project consists of the three main phases:
Phase I – Evaluation of the situation in the education in the area of security sector reform in Afghanistan. This stage also includes the 6-days exploration visit of Slovak experts in Afghanistan followed by report “Afghan Academia Needs and Challenges Assessment”. During the exploration visit Slovak experts also present Slovak experience from implementing studies of security issues with an emphasis on Security Sector Reform and its position within the education at Slovak universities.
Phase II – Selection of appropriate persons for dealing with the topic on Afghan side. This includes the 6-days study trip of four selected Afghan experts to Slovakia.
Phase III – Preparation of the curriculum of the Security Studies for the universities with study texts. This includes also presentation of the curriculum during the second visit of Slovak experts in Afghanistan.
Tertiary education deteriorated dramatically starting in 1990s, when it had a student population of 24 333. In 2001, only 8881 young Afghans were studying at the universities. According to the Afghanistan Statistical Yearbook 2011-2012, there are currently 69 higher education institutions in Afghanistan. The biggest state university by number of students is Kabul University (15 214) followed by Herat University (8691) and Nangarhar University (7538).
Although there are 30 different types of faculties in Afghan universities, there is currently no specialized state sponsored institution aimed on the education in the field of international relations and security studies. Nevertheless, some subjects belonging to the theories of international relations are taught for one year at the faculties of law and social sciences.
Similar situation is at private institutions, however, they differ by proving better school equipment and lectors from abroad. For instance American Afghanistan University in Kabul is linked to the several U.S. universities enabling them to exploit their personal resources.
There are also a few research institutions more or less associated with the state universities, such as National Centre for Policy Research in Kabul. In their capacity they deal also with peace studies (in general, it can be understood as a synonymous for security studies), but with no direct impact on teaching curricula at the particular universities. Thus, subject of peace or security studies is still missing in the framework of Afghan higher education. Young leaders educated also in these subjects are, however, very important for fulfilling the goals during the next decade of transformation.
- Low level of public awareness about importance of security sector reform processes and education in this area.
- General distrust of young generation towards all “security information” coming from the western world. This is caused by much negative experience over the last more than decade associated with robust international military presence.
- Deficiency of specialized workplaces dealing with these subjects, no professionalized institution.
- Fragmentation of relevant people from academia with satisfactory professional background, who would be able to promote the necessity to involve these subjects to the university curricula.
- Institutional and organizational unpreparedness for establishing new departments to be able to sustain all the efforts