The Darakht-e Danesh Library
At Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, we believe that the greatest investment that can be made in Afghanistan’s future is in its teachers. To invest in teachers is to invest in their professional development and to ensure that they have access to knowledge and information that will stimulate their own learning. This, in turn, will contribute to the overwhelmingly important task of providing a high quality education to the youth of Afghanistan.*
- A major impediment to quality education is the lack of local language educational resources for both teachers and students. Many organizations and individuals have undertook to create specific resources to address this gap for their own programs. The Darakht Danesh Library seeks to bring together as many of these resources as possible, to tap into the wealth of Farsi language materials available from Iran, and to encourage teachers to create and contribute their own educational materials to this collection. We seek to support Afghan teachers to become part of the Open Educational Resource movement, and to harness the potential of OERs for the benefit of Afghan classrooms.
What is the Darakht-e Danesh Library?
The Darakht-e Danesh Library is a digital repository of open educational resources (OERs) for teachers, students, and anyone with a curious mind who wants to learn more on a particular subject. Darakht-e danesh means "knowledge tree" in Dari, one of the official languages of Afghanistan. The library's learning materials include lessons, exercises, experiments, backgrounders, work books, curricula, full texts such as children's stories and other resources for Afghan teachers to develop their knowledge on a subject or use in their classrooms, as well as general information on a range of subjects. The Library was created to increase access to quality, locally adapted educational resources, to encourage teachers to consult a wide variety of information sources in their practice, and to support teachers to adapt, create and share their own resources with other educators. We believe that digitalization can make more out of less and nurtures teachers' independent learning and professional development. The DD Library currently houses more than 2,000 resources in over 100 subjects, for both primary and secondary teachers, in three languages: Dari, Pashto and English, and hopes to expand into additional Afghan minority languages such as Nooristani, Uzbeki and Hazaragi. The DD Library was developed by the Canadian charity, Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan (www.cw4wafghan.ca). Read More...
How is the Darakht-e Danesh Library Used?
Anyone with internet access can download and use the resources in the collection. Trainers, such as trainers in CW4WAfghan's Excel-erate Teacher Training Program, can use the site to download resources and then distribute these in print in their teacher training sessions, or to use in adapting their own local language resources. CW4WAfghan has a computer station in its office with internet access for any educators wishing to book time to browse through the resources and print what they need for their training room or class.Read More...
Why is an Online Library Needed?
The education system in Afghanistan is experiencing a rebirth. With millions of girls back in school, new teacher colleges opening, and a reformed curriculum in use, there have been many changes of late. A National Education Strategy for Afghanistan guides these changes with more to come. Yet the challenges which remain are significant. Thirty years of war and an ongoing insurgency which has singled out teachers and girls' education for attack, makes this a difficult environment to teach in. Afghan teachers contend with a daunting lack of resources. Most schools do not have libraries or science labs, many students go without textbooks, and teachers have little material provided to them to help cover the curriculum. In particular, it can be difficult to find quality resources for educators in Dari and Pashto. Even when such resources are available, books are expensive and teachers are not well paid. The Darakht-e Danesh Library aims to increase access to quality resources for Afghan educators, encourage teachers to consult a wide variety of resources in their practice, to use these tools to adapt their own, and to share their own resources with other teachers through this open-source collection. We believe that digitalization can make more out of less and nurtures teachers' independent learning. Read More...
What is the Excel-erate program?
The Excel-erate Teacher Training Program is a project jointly supported by theCanadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan (CW4WAfghan), to train 500 teachers in rural districts of Kabul province. This program was designed by CW4WAfghan and its Afghan partner organizations, the Afghan Women's Resource Centre (AWRC) and Arya Training Institute (ATI), to support girls' education through quality teacher professional development for in-service teachers who have not previously had any teacher training or post-secondary education. The program uses the Afghan national curriculum, and also works to provide teachers with supplies and resources to support their practice, such as books and science laboratory supplies. . Read More...
Progress on the Darakht-e Danesh Library
The Darakht-e Danesh Library’s design is complete and over 350 resources have been added to the Library, in three languages: Dari, Pashto and English.CW4WAfghan volunteers have researched OERs that are appropriate for the Afghan curriculum and uploaded them to the library. Afghan translators have been working to translate the OERs to increase the collection of local language resources. Resources can be searched across 12 different subjects, in the primary and secondary levels.
Our next goal is to secure funding in order to undertake training with Afghan teacher trainers, teachers, and Ministry of Education personnel on accessing and using the Library. This phase would also include the procurement of computer stations in half of all Departments of Education at the province level (16/32 provinces). We are currently seeking like-minded funders to partner with us on this new phase. Read More...
Contacting the Darakht-e Danesh Library
The Darakht-e Danesh Library was created by Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, the site designed by GetOn.com, with start-up funding support from the Canadian International Development Agency. CW4WAfghan can be reached through its headquarters in Calgary, Alberta or its country office in Kabul, Afghanistan.