Civil engineering Department Expands its Teaching and Research Outreach Activities to Afghanistan

(Funded $3,550,000 by World Bank for the first 3 years)

KSU Civil Engineering Department is actively engaged in reviving the Civil Engineering Department and in turn the Faculty of Engineering at Kabul University, Afghanistan.

The World Bank is providing financial assistance through the Strengthening Higher Education Program (SHEP) to reconstruct and revive a group of core universities in Afghanistan. The development objective of the SHEP is to progressively restore basic operational performance at a group of core universities in Afghanistan. Kabul University is considered as the major university to be reconstructed and serve as a “flag ship” for other universities in Afghanistan.

KU is located in Kabul, Afghanistan and was established in 1947. The attendance is more than 10,000 students, of which 25% are female, studying in fields like Agriculture, Economics, Law, Literature, Science, Engineering, and fine Arts. The Faculty of Engineering, with more than 700 students, of which 30 are female, has four departments: Architecture, Civil, Mechanical, and Electrical Engineering. Department of civil engineering is working on the road mapping, layout, water supply and industrials park designs. During the Communist regime, the University lost several professors, doctors and higher education personnel. The majority of the University's faculty left during the period of unrest following the fall of the communist regime, civil war, and Taliban regime never to return. The university is in urgent need of professors, for many of the current instructors themselves only have Bachelors degrees from Kabul University.

“A partnership initiated between KSU and KU and when a six-member team, including myself, from Kansas State University visited Kabul University to assess the conditions at Kabul University on November 2006.” Dr. Asad Esmaeily, a faculty member of civil engineering department at Kansas State University and the civil engineering coordinator of the KSU-KU partnership project, funded by the World Bank, adds that, “the quality and relevance of the current engineering curricula and the extent of required revisions, the needs for skills and technical knowledge, the current state of facilities, evaluation and examination system, fellowships and training programs for Afghan faculty members, a framework for a stronger and long-term partnership between Kansas State University and Kabul University; were among the first issues assessed in our first trip to Afghanistan on November 2006.

We had a lot of meetings, observations, discussions on various items, including the required budget before the final proposal was submitted to the World Bank. The official work started as soon as the proposal was approved and the contract was officially signed in US and Kabul on March 2007.

The partnership is a 10-year project to be implemented in 3 phases. The first phase, funded 3.55 million dollars during the first 3 years, started on April 2007.”

The civil engineering coordinator of the KSU-KU partnership adds that “as soon as the contract was officially signed, the engineering coordinator of the project, Dr. Garth Thompson, professor at the KSU Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering Department, stationed in Kabul and assumed his duties to coordinate various activities, namely; rehabilitation of the college of engineering building, (including the structural items, cooling and heating, emergency power, refurbishment of classes, laboratories, library and offices); rebuilding the library system,  providing internet connection, finalizing the curricula for the college (civil, Electrical, Mechanical and Architecture), short-term training for the faculty at KU in class and laboratory, and teaching sample sessions of selected-representative courses by KSU faculty members. Other activities such as selection of the qualified KU faculty members to continue their graduate studies at KSU to enhance the quality of teaching and research at KU, determining qualified students for short-term training as temporary lecturers at KU and in turn long-term training at KSU, founding a research institute for enhancement of research and financial self-sufficiency of the college, development and mentoring basic engineering courses during the first 3 years, and other pertinent items were among the activities initiated when the implementation of the first phase of the project started on April.”

“In my recent trip to Kabul, I applied the last revisions on the Civil Engineering Curriculum, by considering the feedback from the CE faculty members at KU and addressing their concerns and suggestions and considering the real conditions. This was done in several one-to-one meetings and faculty meetings. The final daft was approved by the faculty.” Dr. Esmaeily says: “I also actively participated in assessment of the laboratories in terms of the existing conditions and equipments and preparation of a list of necessary items; teaching sample representative classes and providing short-term training for the faculty; drafting a list of faculty for long term training at KSU, as well as qualified students for temporal lecturer and in turn training at KSU after meeting the requirements, through a large number of meetings and observations; helping with issues such as engineering library, leakage of the roof, utilization of the generators donated by Pakistan, helping with installation of the temporary satellite connection and discussion on a potential Earthquake Conference in Kabul to address the eminent danger if an expected earthquake happens.”

He mentions that: “Successful achievement of the initial goals so far, makes me certain that the role of our department in elevating civil engineering education in Afghanistan to a standard level at the end of the projected 10 year partnership will be well appreciated.”







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