The Afghanistan higher education leadership is part of the British Council’s Internationalising Higher Education Programme.  

The programme, known formally as Partners in Academic Learning, and informally as PAL, aims to significantly strengthen academic and research links between higher education institutions (HEIs) in the UK and Afghanistan to develop their leadership and management capabilities and their experience of the international higher education context.

To date, five major projects have taken place as part of the programme in Afghanistan. You can learn about these below. 


Find out more about the first PAL project in Afghanistan

PAL 1 (2011-12)

This project involved twenty-five Afghan academics and administrators in management positions from nine state universities, and from units within the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE), developing their leadership skills through working on development projects in their workplace.  

The ultimate goal of the project was to help prepare them to be the next generation of effective, top-level higher education leaders in Afghanistan.

Participants had a variety of roles, with some being heads of departments in the universities or heads of units in the Ministry, others being vice-chancellors and chancellors, and some having more administrative roles.  What they had in common was being passionate about developing themselves as effective and influential leaders.

The project was designed to assist them with this, through the support of tutorials and mentoring. They were guided by eight mentors from the UK higher education sector, mainly via internet communication.  

Find out more about our PAL 2 project

PAL 2 (2013-14)

This project launched in April 2013, is called the International Leadership Development Programme in the UK and PAL 2 in Afghanistan.  It involves eight Afghan academics who are heads or members of Quality Assurance Committees in six Afghan universities and the Ministry of Higher Education itself.

The project provides an innovative approach to supporting institutional and leadership development and international collaboration. It aims to support the development of Quality Assurance (QA) processes and capabilities in higher education in Afghanistan.

Find out more about our PAL 3 and 4 project

PAL3&4 (2015-17)

Centre of Excellence in Quality Assurance (CEQA)

Based on the positive outcomes of the PAL2 evaluation, the British Council has extended its support from 6 to 12 universities.

PAL3 raised the overall quality of Higher Education and the student experience in Afghanistan by developing Quality Assurance processes and capabilities throughout the HE Sector.

PAL3 and PAL4 has supported 12 universities towards getting the status of Centre of Excellence in Quality Assurance (CEQA) to be able to function as a hub and support other neighboring universities in their geographical zones to develop their Quality Assurance processes.

In PAL4, CEQA criteria was developed and participating universities went through the process in order to get CEQA status. Finally, six universities, Kandahar, Balkh, Herat, Nangarhar, Shaikh Zayed and Kabul Medical universities were successful universities and they got CEQA status.

Find out more about PAL 5 project

PAL5 (2017-2020)

Academic Programme Review (APR)

Following the success of the British Council CEQA Programme, plus the development of a revised Institutional Accreditation Framework, MoHE and the British Council decided that next iteration of PAL project focus on supporting MoHE to develop clear policies and processes for the review of academic Programmes.

MoHE established the National Committee for Programme Review (NCPR), comprising Vice Chancellors for Academic Affairs from 11 leading public universities and 1 private university, plus 3 MoHE Departmental Directors.

British Council provided technical support to the development and working of the NCPR. 

Since Aug 2017, the Committee developed a new APR Policy, and four processes that sat within this policy:

  1. New Programme Approval (NPA)
  2. Annual Programme Monitoring (APM1)
  3. Periodic Programme Review (PPR2)
  4. Programme Suspension, Merger and Closure (PSMC)

Two processes (APM and PPR) were piloted during 2017-18 at the 12 “Committee” universities, after which processes were finalized and an (ambitious) implementation timetable was agreed.

To support the implementation of APR processes initially within the Committee universities and then within all public and private HEIs, a National Training Team (NTT) was established consist of 20 faculty members from 12 universities.

So far NTT has been trained in APM and PPR and the plan is to deliver two more workshops by April 2020, one training for NTT to focus on the remaining two processes of APR, NPA and PSMC and one training for NCPR to update them on the progress and support them on how to embed the APR processes within their routine activities. 

Contact us to find out more about PAL in Afghanistan.