Ostad Shagerdi: Teachers and Apprentices Come Together to Improve Vocational Training

Last weekend, a two-day teacher conference took place in the city of Herat. Eighty teachers from 24 Ostad Shagerdi pilot schools as well as 100 apprentices and officials of the Technical Vocational Education and Training Authority (TVETA) attended. Among the participants were 47 women. Attendees came together to discuss ways to improve vocational teaching in Ostad Shagerdi schools. The Afghan-German Cooperation supported the event to facilitate the modernisation of the traditional apprenticeship system in Afghanistan.

‘The country benefits from this programme in many ways. Afghanistan not only needs doctors and lawyers, but professional technicians and engineers are also essential for the development of this country,’ so Mr Shiralam Ghorbandi, teacher at the Kabul Mechanical Institute.

The Ostad Shagerdi programme is currently available in 24 schools across 13 provinces and benefits more than 1,700 apprentices. The next phase of the rollout will see both the number of schools offering the programme and apprentices benefiting double by March 2020.

On the first day of the conference, the participating teachers discussed opportunities to improve the teaching at Ostad Shagerdi schools and identified personal training needs. In addition, TVETA and the Afghan-German Cooperation shared information on the programme’s expansion plans, the next steps for teacher recruitments and the upcoming semester exams. The day ended with a test for teachers who are interested to further qualify and become technical communication trainers.

Mr Habibullah, an apprentice for car mechanics suggested, ‘It would be great to see our syllabus include up-to-date subjects. For example, if we were to learn more about the systems of newer, electric cars, we can prepare ourselves for the future as professional engineers.’

During the morning of the second day, teachers and apprentices joined forces for a panel discussion on the future development of Ostad Shagerdi. After lunch, the apprentices had the opportunity to map out perceived challenges and to suggest improvements.

The programme Supporting Technical and Vocational Education and Training in Afghanistan (TVET) is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and KfW Development Bank on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). TVET aims at expanding and improving the formal vocational education and training system in Afghanistan to increase young Afghan’s employability. In addition, the programme is modernising the traditional apprenticeship system Ostad Shagerdi in cooperation with the Afghan Technical and Vocational Education and Training Authority. After attending a formal TVET school besides Ostad Shagerdi for three years, apprentices can apply for 12th-grade degrees, allowing many young people to attend advanced schooling.