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Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan

Fanoos "Lantern": Teacher Education for Afghanistan

Teacher Education in Afghanistan

Afghanistan has an estimated 200,000 teachers, who are tasked with the education of around 9 million students (including 3,443,049 girls) in the public school system. A network of government teacher colleges, covering all of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, is responsible for training and certifying new teachers, through a two-year diploma program. During the Taliban period, a single teacher college operated out of Kabul, training male teachers only. Today, a majority of students attending the dozens more teacher colleges that exist today, are women, and currently there’s 42,299 students (25,887 female) enrolled in the country’s teacher training colleges (TTCs). This represents tremendous progress. However, the quality of teacher education delivered by the TTCs is uneven, and is generally well behind modern standards. TTCs often lack the resources they need to do the best they can preparing young women and men to become excellent teachers. In addition, many TTC graduates do not go on to enter the teaching profession. Remote and rural areas continue to experience shortages of female teachers in particular, which denies girls access to an education.


CW4WAfghan’s Teacher Education program works to strengthen Afghanistan’s teacher colleges to provide the highest quality and most relevant education possible for the country’s future teachers, especially women, who now constitute the majority of students in teacher colleges. We fundraise for this important work through The Lantern Fund 2025: read more here

Since Fall 2018, our teacher training program has been carried out within the TTCs in order to reach more teachers before they start teaching. The Fanoos Teacher Education Program carries out activities in the following four areas:

1. Building the capacity of leadership in the teacher education system

2. Helping teachers teach reading and writing, increasing children’s literacy

3. Developing critical thinking skills in teachers and students

4. Improving access to learning resources at teacher colleges

Highlights of Results to Date

  • The Darakht-e Danesh digital library was installed in campus computer labs at 15 TTCs by the end of 2018, in its offline version (DDL Lite) in 13 locations and full online version (through Internet installations arranged by CW4WAfghan) in six locations
  • Training provided to TTCs on managing DDL Lite and their computer labs in six TTCs (Parwan, Panjshir, Bamyan, Nangarhar, Kandahar and Mazar-i-sharif)
  • 310 student teachers and their instructors (50% female) completed a workshop on using the DD Library and working with open educational resources (OER) in TTCs in Parwan, Panjshir, Bamyan, Nangarhar, Kandahar and Mazar-i-sharif
  • CW4WAfghan developed a librarianship training curriculum for teacher college librarians, producing a TTC librarianship manual for the newly designated TTC librarians
  • A survey of the TTC libraries was carried out to understand the conditions of their libraries, collection size, personnel capacity needs, and resource requirements
  • CW4WAfghan upgraded the libraries of six TTCs, providing 200 books to each TTC library to increase students’ access to up-to-date information on teacher education

To learn more about how you can help support these activities, visit The Lantern Fund.


In the late 90s the Taliban regime closed all girls’ schools in Afghanistan and all but a few religious schools for boys. In 2002, a large number of schools were opened and children flocked into the classrooms but many of the newly-hired teachers lacked any teacher education or training. This was the impetus that in 2008 led CW4WAfghan to start training in-service teachers in pedagogy and in their subject areas. For the next decade, we would train close to 10,000 teachers in seven provinces, who then earned a certification from the Ministry of Education. Teachers improved their practice by adopting active learning methodology, gained confidence in the academic subjects they were tasked with teaching, and children became more engaged in their lessons as a result. Training was complemented by the provision of Science Lab and Library Starter Kits in the schools where the trained teachers worked, so they could apply the new methods they were learning. 

By 2017, conditions in the schools had changed. The majority of teachers now arrive in the classrooms after attending one of the 42 Teacher Training Colleges (TTCs) that opened across the country, and most students in TTCs today are female. The Ministry of Education is now focused on improving the quality of education in schools, and not merely on enrolling students, recruiting enough teachers and getting schools re-opened. To support this focus, CW4WAfghan evolved its teacher education programming to invest in the public teacher college system.

The following map summaries the number of teachers who were trained through The Lantern Fund from 2008-2016. View more details under Archived Projects.

Fanoos/Lantern: Teacher Training for Afghanistan, 2008-2016
Locations: Kapisa, Laghman, Panjshir, Parwan, Kandahar, Herat and Kabul Provinces


Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan
PO Box 86016, Marda Loop, Calgary, Alberta
Canada T2T 6B7

t: 1 (403) 244-5625

Registered Charity #887718203RR0001

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