Trani and Bakhshi (2006) estimate that 2.7% (550,000–650,000 people) of the entire population of Afghanistan are people (children) with disabilities, caused by damage from more than 20 years of war and land mines (Mohammad Alam Bayan, 2005) as well as natural and secondary causes. The recommendations of the “First Joint Seminar on the Development of Education for Children with Disabilities,” which was held at Kabul Education University by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in 2003, led the Ministry of Education (MoE) and Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) to recognize the significance and importance of special needs education, and in speaking to the National Assembly the Minister of Education at that time expressed the need for urgent efforts for special needs education. Since that time, in step with the international community, there has been growing awareness in Afghanistan that special needs education is essential to raising the level of education in the country overall.
Then the MoHE acknowledged the importance of special needs education, and in 2005 approved the establishment of a special needs education department at Kabul Education University, which is the central teachers training university in Afghanistan. Thus came into existence Afghanistan’s first university department to train teachers of special needs education.
However, there needed professional assistance to start the new department in terms of curriculum, professional knowledge, teaching materials. To improve the situation, in 2005 JICA implemented a project at Kabul Education University to improve education for children with disabilities. Although this project brought teacher training for special needs education in Afghanistan to the starting line, university instructors, curriculum, and teaching materials are still lacking, so conditions for a teacher training department have not yet been met. Kabul Education University has therefore asked JICA to continue to share with it the experiences of teacher training in Japan. Having accepted this request, and in 2006 JICA started the project “Strengthening Special Education in Afghanistan.”
a. The quality of special needs education is to be improved and more children with disabilities can receive appropriate education.
b. Policy on special needs education is to be formulated by the concerned ministry.
a. Contents and teaching methods of special education at Kabul Education University is to be improved.
b. Teachers and students at Kabul Education University are to gain proper knowledge and skills on special needs education.
c. The problem on special needs education is to be shared by the concerned organizations and cooperation among them is to be promoted.
d. Proposal for Policy on special needs education is to be submitted.
1) Conduct surveys on the current state of special needs education and summarize results in preparing to make policy recommendations.
2) Compile textbooks, revise curricula, develop teaching materials and aids, and give advice and guidance on instruction methods so that educational content and teaching methods are improved and enhanced.
3) Deepen faculty and student understanding by introducing special needs education in Japan.
4) Teach methods to scientifically study the characteristics of schoolchildren with disabilities.
5) Exchange opinions with related organizations, and share information with a wide range of people on the current state of and issues related to education of children with disabilities.