First Cohort Graduates from BMET Associate Degree Program in Kabul

Reported by Javid Mussawy


The graduation ceremony for the first cohort of Biomedical Equipment Technology (BMET) associate degree program was held at Kabul University of Medical Sciences (KUMS) on September 11, 2018. The cohort of 25 BMET graduates, which includied five women, successfully completed the program. The ceremony was attended by a number of high-ranking officials who spoke at the ceremony including the Dr. Omari, the Minister of Higher Education, as well as Deputy Ministers from Public Health and Higher Education, and the Chancellor of KUMS.

CIE, as part of its work in USWDP, is responsible for creating partnerships between US community colleges and Afghan universities to create Associate Degrees in employment-related skill areas.  In Afghanistan these degrees are housed in four-year institutions rather than in separate community colleges. Unlike many of the technical and vocational education training programs in the Afghanistan, the associated degrees are explicitly tailored to the needs of employing institutions.  Students are required to complete four semesters of course work, followed by a semester-long internship to expose students to real employment experience.


In fall 2015, CIE oversaw the creation of a partnership between Community Colleges of Spokane in Washington State and KUMS in Kabul to establish the BMET associate degree program. The US partner, Spokane Community Colleges provided extensive assistance in curriculum development, faculty capacity building, laboratory installation, and classroom renovation to assist KUMS in creating the new program.


The new BMET associate degree program was well-received by Afghan officials at the graduation ceremony. Introducing the rationale for development of the BMET program, the chancellor of KUMS stated, “Although the concept of community colleges is new in Afghanistan this newly-established Bio-Medical Equipment Technology (BMET) is already a huge success”.


Dr. Omari (pictured right), the Minister of Higher Education concurred saying, “The BMET program speaks to the success of the MoHE academic programs showcasing the tireless efforts of KUMS leadership and faculty”. Given the demand for this these technical skills, Mr. Omary added, “the current Associate degree programs should be expanded and new programs should be established in every university in Afghanistan.”


The Deputy Ministry of Public Health, Mr. Naem echoed the sentiment, saying that, “based on a recent survey, we found that there is not a single bio-medical equipment technician in any of the public hospitals… we need to train at least 4,500 technicians in this field. I am glad to witness the graduation of the first cohort of BMET for whom we already have employment opportunities and for the many cohorts that will graduate after this”.


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