By Sadequllah Ahmadi
Enhancing the capacity of Afghan lecturers of national universities is in the priority of Ministry of Higher education (MoHE) of Afghanistan. Therefore, the lecturers were asked to take OBE/SCL training in their universities or where available and I took this training at Kandahar University. Hereafter, HEDP team at MoHE sent us as official latter to introduce lecturers for the Advanced OBE/SCL training which was going to be held at UTM. I and my colleagues were introduced to HEDP for the further process, after a series of evaluation I was selected to go to UTM in order to join the Advanced OBE/SCL training. I understood in the training taken at Kandahar University that OBE/SCL teaching and learning approach is the best solution for the transformation of Afghanistan higher education system. Before taking OBE/SCL seminar at Kandahar University I had some experience while attending courses during my master program at Ibaraki University, Japan. However, I was not confident that how to arrange such type of condition in a class.
Attending regularly the OBE/SCL class, discussing relevant issues in the class, practices by the participants, and homework was very helpful to get the OBE/SCL concepts. Whenever we faced with problems, the group members, class participants or trainer were asked to discuss and answer the queries. We took a look at those institutions who already started and still practicing OBE/SCL approach in their faculties.
The Advanced OBE/SCL workshop held at UTM was absolutely fruitful and wonderful. The Professors heading the training were so much professional and had experience of many years in this regard. We saw and listen to the facts from the actual people who started this journey decades ago and they well- known the challenges that they were faced with and that were very helpful to us. I enjoyed visiting the SCL class of the Engineering faculty and visiting the management staff of Science faculty at UTM. In the whole workshop, Demo Presentations were very helpful and was the best experience because the senior professors were closely watching, assessing and commenting on us to improve ourselves.
My main goals were to get more experience and learn much about OBE/SCL, see how they design the class, desired to compare a class at UTM with my class, wanted myself to be assessed by UTM Professors andfortunately, these tasks were achieved. As a lecturer, the workshop revealed that we have to struggle for the practice and extension of OBE/SLC approach at Afghanistan Universities. As a learner, I have yet to work hard for the better understanding and successful implementation.
I have gotten the basic concepts of Blended Learning, Student-Centred Learning and Outcome Based Education in the previous pieces of training. However, I am very much intrusted in OBE and will improve myself in the mentioned part because on the management level many universities/faculties still have the problems that how to design and select their goals and how to achieve them or their students will be able to do when graduates. My suggestion is to prolong the period of training to at least 3 weeks; the same program is alright for the first 2 weeks, on the third week each participant should improve his/her self in a specific part whether it is OBE, SCL or Blended learning under the supervision and instructions of a supervisor. Because, specification is very effective rather than learning something generally. We saw in the training that UTM professors delivered the lectures specifically and each of them was expert in a particular part.
I have a strong commitment to fully practice by myself and spread the gained knowledge from the Advanced OBE/SCL training to my department/ Faculty/University. We have enough examples and evidences to motivate my colleagues to implement what will be thought in the training. And fortunately, the whole academic staffs of ANASTU are young and very eager to take a part in the OBE/SCL training as I discussed when returned from Malaysia. To institutionalize OBE/SCL in the Afghanistan higher education; top management should emphasise on this issue, training at universities are the important step to be conducted, we were persuaded a lot in the Advanced OBE/SCL training and the champion should do the same, champions should focus on young academic staff to achieve the goal, it’s very much important to target the people who agree with you and train them simply after years the people who are in the opposition will see the facts and will accept the concept.