The first group of 10 Afghan women arrived in Tashkent to study in Uzbekistan under the program of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in the field of Agronomy for the next 2.5 years.
This is made possible by a cross-border initiative aimed at supporting the economic empowerment of Afghan women through education grants to study in Uzbekistan.
The Regional Project “Supporting the Economic Empowerment of Afghan Women through Education and Training in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan” funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) aims to provide educational opportunities for Afghan women, who face disproportionate barriers to education and employment compared to their men counterparts back home.
Overall, 50 young women from Afghanistan will study and graduate from universities in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. EU has provided a €2 million grant for the initiative, which will be implemented by UNDP in 2020-2025.
The main goal of this project in Uzbekistan is to deliver TVET training for Afghan Women due to the proximity and the experience of the government and higher education institutions in providing international exchange education. The priority sector for education is agriculture as a growth sector with particular attention to promoting gender equality.
The initiative is implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Higher and Secondary Specialized Education of the Republic of Uzbekistan (MHSSE), which is providing practical assistance and support. The Action Plan and Memorandum of Understanding for the implementation of this project was signed between UNDP Uzbekistan and MHSSE.
The first cohort of Afghan women will study agriculture at the Education Center for Training of Afghan citizens in Termez, Uzbekistan with support from the Tashkent State Agrarian University, and after graduation will receive TVET Certificates.
The open contest to select program participants was carried out in August-September, 2020 by a Selection Committee formed from representatives of the MHSSE, Embassy of Uzbekistan in Afghanistan, Administration of TVET Afghanistan, UNDP Uzbekistan and UNDP Afghanistan. The winners of the competition are women of different ages – ranging from 17 to 27 –representing six provinces of Afghanistan.
All 10 Afghan students underwent the necessary procedures at the TVET Administration of Afghanistan and arrived in Tashkent. Student visas for the Afghan women have been provided by the Government of Uzbekistan free of charge.
After passing the quarantine measures for COVID-19, they will be ready to start basic training under the TVET program. During the quarantine period, students were provided with a new laptop for distance learning. In addition, all of them are covered by medical insurance, including on COVID-19, for the entire period of study in Uzbekistan.
In the first year of education, the students will study the Uzbek language and receive orientation on the TVET program. From September 2021 to June 2023, the Afghan women will undergo a TVET curriculum in agriculture in partnership with educational institutions of Uzbekistan. In July 2023, the first cohort of Afghan women will be awarded TVET diplomas.