Zia Andar

I come from Afghanistan and am starting a Master’s degree in International Education supported by a Fulbright grant. I want to enhance my knowledge and skills in order to work more effectively for the improvement of the education sector in Afghanistan, where millions of children are out of school, the school drop-out rate is one of the highest in the world, and the quality of education in much of the country is poor.


My passion for education derives from my own experience. I received my primary education in a refugee camp, when our country was at war with the Soviet Union. I believe if I hadn’t had access to education in that camp, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. There are millions of children who don’t have access to education because of ongoing conflicts and insecurity. These out-of-school children would have a better future and work for a better world if they could receive education.


I have been working in Ministry of Education (MoE) of Afghanistan since 2009. I started my career in MoE as a Human Resources Officer, responsible for recruitment of Technical Assistants (TAs), funded by donors. I coordinated the recruitment processes and reported on the work of the TAs to the donors. Thus I gained experience working with international development projects. Then I moved to program management and worked as the Project Manager for USAID’s On-Budget interventions in the education sector from 2012 until the end of 2015.  


After completion of my Master’s program, I am committed to return to Afghanistan and to work in the education sector. My plan is to work on development of a platform through which the two major parties, the Government of Afghanistan and the International Development Partners, can work more closely and collaboratively and share their experiences and resources in a more coordinated and effective manner to mitigate the gaps in the education sector in Afghanistan.


Email: ZAndar@umassedu



Entrance Year: 
5-year span: 
CIE Graduate