UNESCO supports the Afghan Ministry of Higher Education to develop the national policy for science and technology. In 2007, for the first time a needs assessment survey was done by UNESCO Kabul Office for this purpose. The survey was based on a series of discussions and consultations with the members of Afghan Science Commission, the Ministry of Higher Education, Kabul University and other concerned ministries and national/international organizations working in the field of science and technology.
The report of this assessment provided UNESCO and the MoHE with some very fundamental and important information to pave the way towards the development of an integrated science policy for Afghanistan.
Following this assessment by UNESCO the members of the Afghan Science Commission along with H.E. Minister for Higher Education participated in the Regional Conference on Science and Technology held in New Delhi in November 2007. The conference provided the Afghan delegation a good opportunity to get involved in the activities of science on a regional platform.
Based on the assessment done in 2007, UNESCO is committed to support the MoHE in the development of an integrated science and technology policy.
In collaboration with the National Science Commission which unfortunately is not functioning at the moment, UNESCO will pursue its plan in the near future to finalize the policy through conducting dialogue among all stakeholders. The absence of the National Science Commission urged UNESCO to get involved in one of its inter-sectoral activities linked to the science policy.
Therefore, the science policy project was linked to one of the Education related projects to support the Ministry of Higher Education in developing “National Strategic Plan for Higher Education”, one of the objectives of which is to integrate science and technology at policy level.
This inter-sectoral activity mainly provided the following technical support:
- Organization of a broader consultation workshop in August 2009 to review the matrix of each sub-programme, including the sub-programme on research which includes a focus on science and technology development.
- Preparation for the National Conference which took place in October 2009 to launch the strategic plan.
This joint activity also contributed greatly to finalizing the more solid and independent science and technology policy to be prepared in the near future through conducting dialogue between different government and non-government institutions which will help UNESCO’s immediate support to the government in terms to develop the systematic infrastructure in this field.