Changing times: Aga Khan Education Service Afghanistan introduces innovative project management training for staff
Covid-19 has had a profound effect on the way we live, work and think. It is not just the scale of changes that shook normality, but the speed at which they occurred. Our experiences have required us to become more adaptable, resilient and agile in our ever-changing environment. Recognising the importance of such skills, the Aga Khan Education Service (AKES) Afghanistan, in collaboration with UK-based training provider the ILX Group, created a three-phase PRINCE2 Foundation project management certificate course for staff, sponsored by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
PRINCE2 (Projects in Controlled Environments) is one of the most widely used project management methodologies around the world. It teaches participants how to consistently deliver projects on time, within budget, manage risks and mitigate problems. The bespoke course comprises a live virtual training session (which took place in February 2021), independent online learning and practice (which is now underway), and the PRINCE2 examination in September 2021 to assess understanding and application of concepts covered.
In February, a celebratory event was held at the Serena Hotel in Kabul to mark the completion of Phase One that was attended by dignitaries from across the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) (including the Aga Khan Foundation and the University of Central Asia) and the Ismaili National Council, in addition to course participants.
At the event, Najeebullah Musafirzada, AKES Afghanistan Chief Executive Officer thanked the UK FCDO for sponsoring the course as part of the Steps towards Afghan Girls’ Educational Success project that they had funded. He remarked: “Participants have mastered the key project management concepts and the ability to manage project risks more effectively. We are assured that as participants complete the course successfully and achieve certification, we will be in a better position to implement our programmes effectively and ultimately support girls who do not have access to education.”
Reflecting on the mandate of the AKDN, Sheherazade Hirji, AKDN Diplomatic Representative for Afghanistan, commented: “One of the ethical principles underlined in AKDN is really about the ethics of intellect: every human being is born with intellect, and it is our responsibility to help and invest in building that capacity and strengthening it. What I see is that all of you are investing in your own intellect and simultaneously investing in improving the quality of life in your communities. Overall, we have about 2 million learners across the entire AKDN, and the network believes in one thing fundamentally: education is for everybody.”
One participant, Qurban Ali Waezi, who is AKES Afghanistan’s Head of Academics, spoke of how the course has already started to transform the way he approaches his work. He remarked: “I am focusing more on being adaptable and responsive in project and programme management as the current uncertainties and changes require such approaches.”
Throughout the event, guests and participants echoed similar messages about our changing times – learning and development must adapt in order to stay ahead of today’s pace of change, as well as incorporate new skills to be effective in an increasingly complex, uncertain and fast-moving world.
Photos (top to bottom):
- AKES delivers ECD and Pre-primary Programmes, Supplementary Education Programmes for school students and Continuing Education Programmes for adults (photo taken prior to COVID-19)
- To support staff to become more adaptable, resilient and agile in our ever-changing environment, AKES created a three-phase PRINCE2 Foundation project management certificate course for staff, in collaboration with UK-based training provider the ILX Group (photo taken prior to COVID-19)
- The PRINCE2 project management course will support AKES staff to deliver programmes effectively and serve girls without access to education.