Paper No. 275-3
Presentation Time: 8:20 AM
FOSTERING GEOEDUCATION IN AFGHANISTAN: FOCUS ON FACULTY AT KABUL POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY
One result of the Cold War in Afghanistan was establishment of Western-oriented Kabul University (KU), and Soviet-built Kabul Polytechnic University (KPU), both of which suffered extensive damage under the anti-intellectual Mujahideen/ Taliban. But KPU’s once well-developed facilities seem to have been most damaged, with ruined classrooms and laboratories, and a museum containing maps and samples from across the country completely destroyed, among other depredations. Everything of any value was looted, and all labeled samples thrown in heaps and labels burned. Strikingly, several returned Afghan faculty with fortunes made elsewhere, now without pay are rebuilding their departments and educating students. Everyone is preparing for a predicted bonanza as trillions of dollars of newly recognized resources come on stream. Now as the Western Coalition prepares to depart Afghanistan, the Task Force for Business Stability Operations (TFBSO) of the US Department of Defense has formulated educational refurbishment to rebuild professorial confidence and capability at KPU by engaging Missouri University of Science and Technology (MST) in Rolla, University of Nebraska at Omaha, and Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey, to help prepare for the anticipated mining boom and concomitant growth in geology majors. Two teams from USA traveled to Kabul in early and late summer 2014 under rigorous security to assess KPU. Selected KPU faculty from geology, hydrogeology, and mining were brought to Turkey and USA for special training in summer and fall of 2014. Weekly WebEx conferences until Ramadan have focused on faculty and curriculum development, measuring teaching effectiveness, program-quality assessment, advising and mentoring students, constitution of scholarly merit, and building research programs. Initial pedagogical emphasis is on course revisions in Historical Geology, Plate Tectonics, and Geohydrology for the geology program; Surface Mine Design, and Surface Mining Methods and Equipment for the open pit mining program; and Mine Safety and Health, and Mining as a Business in the underground mining program.