Assalam-o-Aalaikum! I grew up in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan. My interest in pursuing doctoral studies has initially grown during my over five years of tenure with the USAID funded Afghanistan Higher Education Project (HEP) and later during my master’s program studies CIE. My purpose for seeking the Doctoral Degree is to expand my knowledge with the theoretical tools, interdisciplinary knowledge, practical skills, and professional experiences needed to positively contribute in transforming education system in Afghanistan. Education in Afghanistan does battle every day: with families who need children to earn income, with fathers who deny their daughters access to formal learning, with insurgents who destroy school buildings, poison students and threaten teachers, with a government unable to train enough teachers and produce quality textbooks. The higher education system has to absorb the results of the above facts in the student, staff and university professor populations.


Since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, the government of Afghanistan and the international community have made notable efforts to revive the higher education sector. Public higher education institutions were reopened and over 70 public and private higher education institutions have been established since then. Yet due to the devastation caused by thirty years of conflict and civil war, higher education is facing enormous problems. Under-qualified faculty members, lack of buildings, outdated curricula, lack of proper educational assessment, poor planning in national, institutional, and faculty levels, ineffective budgeting and planning, poor quality of instruction; and lack of classrooms and laboratories are among the acute problems the higher education sector in Afghanistan must confront. At present, only 5% of faculty members have PhDs and about 36% have Master’s Degrees. The majority of current faculty members hold bachelor degrees that do not produce the kind of skilled and knowledgeable graduates to meet the nation’s needs. To increase the number of higher degree holders the MoHE planned to establish more graduate degree programs, but the question is: would it be possible without qualified faculty members. Hence, lack of doctoral degree holders, specifically in the higher education system, is another important reason for me to pursue my doctoral program at UMass. 


I selected the Center for International Education (CIE) for various reasons. Firstly, during my Master’s studies at UMass/CIE, I found the courses offered by the School of Education fully related and responsive to the higher education needs in Afghanistan. Secondly, UMass has been a key partner in implementing HEP since 2006. For me in addition to gaining academic knowledge I will also have the opportunity to discuss some of the specific issues and how to effectively address them with my professors and colleagues in the center. Thirdly, at CIE, being a diverse community, I will learn about other countries with similar situations to Afghanistan.


I got my B.Sc. from the Faculty of Agriculture, Kabul University. Currently, I am assisting CIE/UMass team in managing Higher Education Project (HEP) in Afghanistan. Before coming to UMass for my Master’s studies, I worked for Afghanistan Land Authority (ALA) as a Monitoring and Evaluation Director. I also served as a Monitoring and Evaluation Manager and as a consultant for the HEP for over five years. Previously, I worked as a National M&E officer in Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO-UN), as a Senior Reporting & Data Management Officer, and as an Administrative Officer with CARE International in Afghanistan.


I believe that upon completion of my doctoral degree and return to the country, I will be able to use my skills and knowledge to help improve the planning and management of development activities in different sectors, particularly in higher education of Afghanistan.



Entrance Year: 
Off-Campus Student