THE LANTERN FUND 2025
Lantern Fund 2025: Lighting the Path to Education
Investing in strong teacher education for a brighter future for Afghan girls
In Afghanistan, we trained 10,000 teachers. Now, we’re about to do something bigger. And we need your help.
At CW4WAfghan, we believe the best prospect for human development and peace is education. But not just any kind of education: it must be quality education. And the key ingredient to quality education is quality teachers. That’s why teachers are at the heart of our Investing in Basic Education Program. Further, we know that for girls to go to school, they need female teachers.
To reach the greatest number of teachers possible, we are working with Afghanistan’s national teacher education system, which runs teacher colleges in every province of the country. These teachers are responsible for the education of millions of Afghan girls and boys. By investing in the capacity of these teachers, and the institutions that train them, CW4WAfghan can help transform learning and teaching in Afghanistan. Join us, and become part of this promise for change, and help light the path to education for Afghan girls.
The Lantern Fund
The Lantern Fund is a five-year campaign to raise funds for CW4WAfghan to carry out its teacher education work in Afghanistan. Our goal is to raise $200,000 per year. In 2020-2021, we are focusing on:
TTC computer labs: We have been hooking up TTCs’ computer labs to the Internet, and installing our offline digital library of learning materials in non-connected TTCs. Next: We will be helping faculty and students at teacher colleges to acquire digital literacy, so teachers are better equipped to teach this topic to their students, and to use digital literacy skills to improve their own research and preparation as teachers.
Growing and modernizing TTC libraries: we have completed a needs assessment at 13 TTC libraries, and have provided over 1200 books to libraries in 6 TTCs. Next: We will buy and distribute another 3,600 books for 13 more teacher colleges, help the colleges develop and apply policies to run their libraries, train librarians at the TTCs and coach those librarians to excel at their jobs.
Access to professional development during the pandemic: COVID19 hit Afghanistan hard, shuttering schools and keeping teachers at home. We set to work accelerating our development and distribution of learning materials to serve students and teachers stuck at home. From hundreds of video lessons for all subjects in the curriculum, to COVID19 health resources, to “learning baskets” for families, we took action to make sure learning would not be stopped. Next: We will develop distance education courses that teachers can take from home on a mobile, tablet or laptop.
Bringing critical and creative thinking into education: We have pioneered the development of critical thinking education in Afghanistan, including developing an e-course on this topic. Next: we will convert the e-learning course to a course that can be delivered in person at the TTCs.
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 are 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 teachers, especially women, who now constitute the majority of students in teacher colleges. We do this through 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
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.
Lantern Fund Activities Tool Kit
If you are an educator or a supporter who may want a unique idea to help raise awareness or fundraise in your community, consider our Lantern Fund Activities Tool Kit. Each activity includes a description of how the activity can be carried out, a list of materials required, links to resources where teachers or facilitators can get instructions, patterns, supplies or ideas for planning the activity, and a list of ways the activity can be used as a fundraiser for The Lantern Fund:
Lanterns are highly symbolic, as objects that radiate light, and the metaphor of the lantern has resonance in Afghan culture and literature. CW4WAfghan is bringing that same metaphor to Canadians, and in particular, to Canadian schools, in inviting participation in the fundraising objectives of The Lantern Fund. We have created a tool kit to guide you through planning and organizing various activities making or using lanterns, that may be used for awareness-raising and educational purposes, or fundraising for The Lantern Fund, or both. These activities provide an opportunity for Canadians to engage in issues around the fight for the human right to education, girls’ access to education, the role of teachers in creating social change, and teacher education; while they can also support the goals of The Lantern Fund, and help more teachers be trained. These activities can be tied into curricula, as well as used by community groups, or just among friends for fun. Download a copy of the Lantern Fund Activities Kit HERE.