​'Opening New Doors to Education in Afghanistan'

"I believe that anyone who is passionate about teaching, will benefit largely from studying at AKU-IED. The diverse and rich experience of shaping and reshaping one’s self as a teaching professional is very rewarding. It is through this sacred purpose one can improve the quality of education and serve the society."

Omidullah Khawary
Graduate of MEd Class of 2012

I was born in a middle class family in Kabul province of Afghanistan. My family members were not literate; however I was encouraged to study. I completed my primary education in Kabul in 1996. We migrated to Peshawar, Pakistan after the war broke in Afghanistan. I studied at the Aga Khan School and later on at Sir Sahib Zada Public School, Peshawar. Before I could complete my matriculation my family moved back to Afghanistan in 2002. I rejoined school and graduated from grade 12 from Naderia High School, Kabul.

Passing the matriculation exam called “Cancor in Afghanistan” led me to join the school of Science at Kabul University from where I completed BSc in Chemistry. During that time, I used to teach English proficiency courses first at Hewad English Language and Computer Center and later at Kardan Institute of Information and Technology.

Quest for knowledge

Reflecting on my education, I realized that I might have learned professional skills to manage and adapt myself in different contexts with different standards, languages, expectations, cultures and lifestyles; hwever this experience was not enough to quench my thirst for skills, knowledge and attitudes required in today’s rapidly changing and competitive world. None of these institutions could ignite the much hidden competencies in me; to become bold enough to challenge my perceptions, unlearn, and re-learn. I strongly believe what Rumi says “Not only the thirsty seek the water; the water as well seeks the thirsty”.

I knew that like any other human being I had the potential to improve my skills, knowledge and attitude in a field that could help in self-realization. The realization that all human beings irrespective of  background, cast, gender, religion, color have come up from one soul and through realizing that “united soul” I could selflessly serve my war torn country particularly those innocent children in remote areas whose lives need to be touched and improved.

Learning experience at AKU-IED

The quest for intellectual development took me to study at AKU-IED. I chose the institute for its unique quality of maintaining high-quality international academic standards while serving the needs of the local contexts. AKU-IED develops its graduates as sound professionals with the skills, knowledge and attitudes to come up with creative solutions for educational problems in their local contexts.

My experience of studying at AKU-IED remains unique because I learnt to question notions I had taken for granted in the past. AKU-IED helps its graduates to exchange their “taken for granted lens” with “critical lens” to see problems from critical and diverse perspectives.

I had joined AKU-IED to quench my thirst for the quest I had for learning and intellectual stimulation but to my surprise I did not know that studying with people from diverse backgrounds and faculty makes the students life-long learners! Perhaps that’s why I could not stop at MEd and am now studying in an online MSc in Global Human Resources Management from the University of Liverpool, UK.

Becoming a facilitator of change in education

After completing MEd from AKU-IED, I joined the Aga Khan Education Service, Afghanistan as a Professional Development Officer. I was promoted a year later to the position of Head, Human Resources Management and Development. Working at this position, I have committed myself to function as a catalyst in transforming the remote communities to stand on their own feet and develop themselves from within.

I have realized that we are all created from one and same soul and if one is suffering others cannot stay at rest. We believe that the presence of outside experts for developing our communities is fruitful in the short-run but in the long-run our communities need to be facilitated with the competencies they need so that they can themselves respond to their contextual educational needs.

Our communities should be the producers of hope, the creators of opportunities and the designer of their future. In order to carry out this heavy but significant duty we are hiring teachers from the very remote contexts of Afghanistan. After recruiting them their professional development needs are identified, designed, developed and conducted through professional development trainings.

Our duty does not end with the internal trainings rather we also provide the opportunity for our teachers to study at the University of Central Asia, AKU-IED or other renowned institutions so that they can learn and grow themselves before they can bring positive changes in their communities.  In my efforts to create awareness about educational issues and viable solutions, I have published over a dozen articles in the op/ed sections of newspapers, such as the Express Tribune Pakistan, The Afghanistan Express Tribune, The Afghanistan Times, and The Daily Outlook Afghanistan.

Message for future students

I believe that anyone who is passionate about teaching will benefit largely from studying at AKU-IED. The diverse and rich experience of shaping and reshaping one’s self as a teaching professional is very rewarding. It is through this sacred purpose one can improve the quality of education and serve the society.

I feel that the day I joined AKU-IED, I decided to transform myself, not just as a professional but also as a person. This is what gives me contentment and satisfaction; once you transform yourself, only then you can transform your community and the society!