Pre-school education prepares children for the first year of primary school.
We are very proud to provide preschool education to 5-6 year old children in the remote mountainous regions of central Afghanistan. The main objective of the project is to contribute to the overall quality of the fragile educational system in place, especially in rural areas.
The program encourages reading and pre-writing skills and provides basic math skills. Children are introduced to the everyday environment, acquire social skills and develop self-confidence; these concepts help create a strong identity, especially in areas where the prevailing extreme poverty can be felt as humiliation.
The specificity of this project lies in the fact that it is conducted in partnership with parents and the community. Parents are involved in the project through monthly meetings and are directly involved in their children’s education and are made aware of the rights of the child. As part of this program, we train local young women as teachers and prepare them to become committed educators.
We strongly believe in empowering local communities; we encourage them to have confidence in their ability to contribute to the development of their own regions.
An inclusive and pluralistic approach towards education
In 2017 the Nai Qala Association set up an education project that is transforming some remote villages in Afghanistan. The program focuses on an inclusive and pluralistic approach towards education by providing quality pre-school experiences to children. The early childhood education lays emphasis on the holistic development of children and making parents and families realize the importance of early childhood education in their children’s lives.
The program is designed to provide an expanded range of experiences for young children helping them to develop skills and form attitudes that will enable them to make good use of learning opportunities both within the class and later formal education. A trained teacher leads the children in story-telling, counting, writing, singing, playing, learning the local language and practicing good hygiene and sanitation behaviors like handwashing or teeth-brushing. Boys and girls are encouraged to spend time and play together, without segregation.
Preparing the new generation
An independent study commissioned by the Aga Khan Foundation and undertaken by McGill University in 2014 demonstrated the important role that pre-school education is playing in children’s school readiness and learning, in Afghanistan.
Early childhood education is organized in partnership with the Afghan ministry of education and is fully embedded in the national curriculum and the National Education Strategy Plan. It is rooted in the universal target of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals that state “by 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education”.
By proposing new education opportunities, children from rural and remote Afghanistan can work towards realizing their full potential.
It all started with a small pilot project
To add a new dimension to our commitment in the areas where we have built schools, we decided to expand our educational efforts by offering a preschool program that improves the quality of education and targets young children aged 5 to 6.
The pilot project began in 2017 and lasted 6 months. It reached about 60 children, girls and boys, divided into two classes. The great success of the pilot project and the very positive feedback from the children, parents, teachers and the community has encouraged Nai Qala to continue the project and expand the program to other villages.
In 2021, Nai Qala is supporting 65 classrooms in the provinces of Bamyan and Daikundi. More than 1300 children are benefiting from our program.
Nai Qala is committed to continue to plant seeds of hope in those remote and isolated regions.