Development of design, construction and maintenance procedures for school buildings in Afghanistan
The sustainable maintenance and operation of schools in Afghanistan is a very important issue. Architects, engineers and technical experts are discussing possible options so that the life span of school buildings can be extended and the overall environment for school students will be improved in the future.
In a series of four workshops supported by the German government, architects, engineers and technicians from the Ministry of Education and Provincial Education Departments from the provinces of Badakhshan, Baghlan, Balkh, Kunduz, Takhar and Samangan together with representatives from the Aga Khan Foundation, Mercy Corps, SPNA and ACTED have been introduced to the overall building life cycle management starting from the planning stage up to the operation phase of school buildings. The fourth and last workshop of the series ended on 02 June in Mazar-e-Sharif and focused on design and maintenance – the way to standard design procedures for Afghan schools.
The outcomes of the previous three workshops have also been reviewed and these findings will contribute to a multi-level action-plan for the design, construction and maintenance of Afghan schools beginning at the ministry level and reaching down to the grass root level. The main focus of the workshop was on the development of guidelines for design, construction and maintenance, so that the life span of school buildings in Afghanistan can be elongated. The importance of clear Operation and Maintenance (O&M) procedures and the role of all stakeholders especially the students, their parents and the local school Shura have been discussed with the technical adviser to the Minister of Education and KfW representatives. O&M guidelines and standards also ensure that all stakeholders will take over more responsibilities in order to offer suitable learning environment and to improve the hygiene standards in the schools. The conduction of provincial training in quality and construction management and on-the-job trainings during the construction of RIDF schools in Badakhshan, Takhar and Samangan will be part of the action-plan.
The quality and the outcomes of the four workshops have been highly appreciated by the participants, the ISD director and the technical adviser to the Minister of Education, since the trainings, discussions and group works have improved the capacities of the architects and engineers in design, project and construction managements. Further the workshops have raised the awareness of the participants regarding the importance of maintenance and operation.
Working closely with the Infrastructure and Service Development Department of the Afghan Ministry of Education (ISD), the German and Afghan Governments’ Basic Education Program Afghanistan (BEPA) aims to improve the quality of basic education in provinces and districts in northern Afghanistan. In addition, Germany’s Regional Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF), which is managed and financed by the German KfW Development Bank, will directly adopt the results of the workshops and use them in its school construction programs.
The Basic Education Program was set up in a framework of collaboration between German Financial and Technical Cooperation, with the Financial Cooperation part being co-financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through KfW Development Bank as part of German Cooperation with Afghanistan. Education is key to development in Afghanistan, and Germany has supported Afghanistan in reforming its education sector since 2005.
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Fereshteh Forough is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Code to Inspire. Fereshteh is from Herat, Afghanistan. She received