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Rebuilding Kabul University Engineering Program

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Engineering Education in India, the Far East, and Central Asia

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Page Count


Page Numbers

15.1017.1 - 15.1017.13



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Paper Authors


J Thompson Kansas State University

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Director of the Kabul University/Kansas State University Engineering Partnership and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Kansas State University
3002 Rathbone Hall
Manhattan, KS, USA, 66506
US Office: +01-785-532-2614
AF Mobile: +93 (0) 797-809-313

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Ata M. Nazar Kabul University

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Professor of Civil Engineering
Kabul University
Jamal Mina
Kabul, Afghanistan
Mobile: +93 (0) 799 33 94 43
Office: +93 (0) 202500194
G. P. O. Box Number: 1223 (Central Post Office, Kabul, Afghanistan)

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Rebuilding Kabul University Engineering Program Abstract:

Kansas State University (KSU) and Kabul University (KU) have established an Engineering Partnership for the purpose of rebuilding the engineering program at Kabul University. The partnership is part of the Strengthening Higher Education Program (SHEP) of the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE), sponsored by the World Bank. The ten year partnership started in 2007. This paper provides an historical backdrop against which the rebuilding project is described. The project was designed on the concept of preparing the engineering programs to qualify for ABET accreditation. A form of the Fundamentals of Engineering Examination is being used as a bench-mark of progress. The several aspects of the rebuilding project are described along with a report of progress and lessons learned. The paper concludes with observations about the ethical and cultural nature of engineering education and some recommendations about changes that are required to achieve the desired outcomes of the rebuilding project.

Historical Backdrop:

The Faculty of Engineering was established in the 1960’s and 70’s by a consortium of US Universities with USAID sponsorship1,2. The project was a “turn-key” project that provided a building, laboratories, and US based education for the new Afghan Faculty members. Faculty members from the participating US Universities established and taught classes and performed other aspects of the project while sending off candidates for faculty positions for degrees in the US universities. When the Afghan faculty members returned they took over the operation of the program. The Faculty of Engineering had a Research Institute based on a not-for-profit non- governmental organization (NGO) so that the members of the faculty were able to undertake sponsored research and service projects. The result was a first rate Engineering Program that was highly regarded within Afghanistan and the region that prepared graduates with world class skills and capabilities.

During the Russian occupation the Faculty of Engineering was regarded as a decadent Western institution and was closed. Members of the faculty fled the country or lost their lives. Many members of the faculty and graduates of the program made their way to the US or Europe and took up successful Engineering careers. Some are supporting the present rebuilding effort in a variety of ways.

During the civil war the engineering building was used by the military and laboratory equipment was scrapped and sold for funds to support the war effort. Even the plumbing and electrical wiring was stripped out of the building. During the Taliban administration the engineering program was restarted, but with little resources. Following the fall of the Taliban a number of international agencies have provided some assistance for rebuilding the engineering program including some renovation of the building and the contribution of some equipment. In 2005 the World Bank established the SHEP program with the Ministry of Higher Education. The SHEP program established a number of Partnerships between Afghan Educational programs and western educational institutions. One of these was the Engineering Partnership between KU and

Thompson, J., & Nazar, A. M. (2010, June), Rebuilding Kabul University Engineering Program Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16045

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