Afghan policy makers perceive higher education as a vital engine of growth and development. The higher education system produces a pool of high level human resources, including policy makers, administrators, managers, entrepreneurs, engineers, medical personnel, highly skilled technicians, as well as qualified teachers and academics, that are essential for economic development. The availability of such a pool of well-educated human resources will be of central importance for the overall future development of the country. Recognizing this, the Government of Afghanistan and the World Bank (WB) have agreed to support the higher education sector through a Higher Education Operation that will succeed the previous Strengthening Higher Education Project (SHEP). The new Higher Education Development Project (HEDP) will support the overall Government’s own effort to expand and strengthen its higher education sector.
The proposed project contains two components: (1) A program component that finances strategic initiatives to develop the higher education sector. The strategic initiatives are (a) increasing participation in universities in priority degree programs for national economic development, (b) modernizing and enhancing the quality and relevance of teaching and learning; (c) expanding the professional qualifications and skills of academic and technical staff; (d) strengthening governance, quality assurance and accreditation; and (e) stimulating development orientated research. And (2) a program operations and technical support component that would support project coordination, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, research activities, human resource development for academic managers and administrative and technical staff, policy studies, beneficiary satisfaction surveys, communications and policy dialogues. The Director of Operations and Monitoring Support Team (OMST) in the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) will coordinate and facilitate the implementation of HEDP in close collaboration with its relevant departments.
CAPACITY BUILDING OF ACADEMIC AND MANAGERIAL STAFF
With less than 40 percent of the academic staff currently holding a Master’s degree or a higher degree, there is clearly an urgent need to increase the level of suitably qualified academics. As such, the project would support Human Resource Development (HRD) of academic staff in priority programs through the provision of scholarships to young and junior staff with only a Bachelor’s degree so that they can reach the Master’s degree level and to more mature and senior staff with a Master’s degree so that they can reach he Ph.D. level. Priority will be given to Master’s degrees as it typically takes 2-3 years to complete degrees, while the completion of a Ph.D. degree can take 4 to six years. Special preference for these scholarships will be given to female academics as only 16 percent of the public university faculty members in 2013 were women.
Staff Development Centers (SDCs) play an important role in the provision of continuous professional development for university teachers and management. The project would support the development of the SDCs to provide the professional development activities required in universities, including in topics such as research methods, student-centered and outcome-based teaching and learning in higher education, ICT in higher education, English language skills, career guidance, student counseling, soft skills, and assessment and evaluation. In addition, SDCs would be used to provide training in areas such as planning, budgeting, administration, procurement, financial management, and monitoring, for the management cadre, and relevant academics of the universities.
The main duties and responsibilities of the Academic and Managerial Development Manager are to:
- Support the MoHE in the development of a Human Resource Development (HRD) plan for academic staff in priority programs through the provision of scholarships for postgraduate degrees for young academics.
- Support the MoHE in establishing a comprehensive plan for the development of Master’s degrees in the priority degree programs including training of faculty to obtain Master’s degrees in the relevant priority degree programs. Special preference for these scholarships will be given to female academics.
- Develop and implement a master plan for strengthening the existing, and establishing new, Staff Development Centers at public universities and higher education institutions in topics such as research methods, student-centered and outcome-based teaching and learning in higher education, ICT in higher education, English language skills, career guidance, student counseling, soft skills, and assessment and evaluation. In parallel, courses for managers in areas such as planning, budgeting, administration, procurement, financial management, and monitoring, for the management cadre, and relevant academics, of universities.
- Coordinate, facilitate and monitor the delivery of short-term HRD activities through the Staff Development Centers in the above mentioned activities. This would include the: selection of trainees; selection of trainers; and obtaining feedback from stakeholders (trainer and trainee) on the quality and usefulness of the HRD programs.
- Maintain a comprehensive database of institutions and beneficiaries of the both long and short-term (Masters and Ph.D.) programs.
- Provide progress reports every quarter to the Director of the OMST and the World Bank.
The position is for the duration of the project, subject to satisfactory performance. There will be a probation period of three months. Annual performance evaluations will be organized by the Director of the OMST. Feedback will be obtained from the MoHE and Universities for the performance evaluation.
REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS AND EXPERIENCE
- Senior academic / administrator with at least a Master’s degree and a minimum 5 years of relevant experience, of which preferably some years in Human Resource Management in a donor funded development project and /or in the public/private sector
- Experience in World Bank funded higher education or other relevant projects will be an advantage
- A Ph.D. would be an added qualification
- Experience in building up a staff development and Human Resources would also be an advantage
- Ability to speak, read and write excellent English, produce project reports in English for regular and continuous presentations, and be computer literate
- Ability to interact with senior academics and administrative staff in the universities
- Ability to work with and be a partner of a team of diverse backgrounds
- Ability to work efficiently and to meet deadlines
- Ability to function effectively in a team environment inspiring trust and cooperation of other team members
- Strong communication, negotiating skills and good interpersonal relations
 The priority degree programs are those which have high priority for Afghanistan’s economic development such as Physical and Life Sciences; Computing; Engineering; Manufacturing and Construction; Health; Environmental Protection; Agriculture; Communication and Information Technologies; Management and Policy Administration; and English Language and English Literature.