Academic Mining Education for Women: Excursion to Iran for Female University Students

Today, 34 female students and four lecturers from Balkh University, Kabul Polytechnic University and Kabul University returned to Afghanistan. They participated in a one-week geology and mining excursion to Iran to earn on-site experience. The Research Institute of Geological Survey of Iran (GSI) planned and conducted the field trip. The Afghan-German Cooperation’s programme Academic Mining Education in Afghanistan (AMEA) facilitated the activity’s implementation.

The activity aimed to familiarise students with important mining techniques such as sampling and studying rocks as well as with underground and open pit mining methods. Participants worked with geological tools on-site and learned how to use geological maps properly. They visited different mining sites, comprising gold, iron, and manganese mines. Prof Dr Khpalwak, Dean of Balkh University, commented: “This week, our students learned more about practice than in 4 years at university.”

The sites are located in various Iranian provinces, including Tehran, Qom, Gulpaygan and Arak. Geology and mining experts from GSI accompanied the students and provided valuable input on Iran’s geological features and mines. Representing the participants, one female student emphasised: “We thank the German government for this excursion. It was very useful for us students to combine theory with practice in the real world.”

The Afghan extractive sector offers vast potential and could play a key role in the country’s sustainable economic development. To fully utilise the sector, Afghanistan needs well-educated mining experts that are practically experienced and have international know-how. As possibilities for mining and geology students to earn on-site experience in Afghanistan are limited, AMEA facilitates field-trips to other countries such as Germany, China and Iran for Afghan students. In the future, participating students shall use their knowledge to participate in developing the Afghan extractive sector.

The programme Academic Mining Education in Afghanistan (AMEA) is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Foreign Office (AA) since 2014. AMEA aims at improving academic mining education in Afghanistan to facilitate the full utilisation of the Afghan extractive sector’s potential. The programme has been helping to modernise university training, adapting it to industry and labour market needs and building an educational network in close cooperation with the Afghan Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE), the Afghan Ministry of Mining and Petroleum (MoMP) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). So far, AMEA has organised academic courses, scholarships and internship programmes in Iran, Germany, and China for more than 240 Afghan students and lecturers providing them access to up-to-date technical knowledge and innovative teaching methods. The programme has also provided practically oriented advanced training and networking events on mining education for more than 600 university lecturers since 2014.