Increasing Labor Productivity & Investing in Human Capital

GOALS
During the past years of reconstruction efforts, citizens’ skill sets have not been well-aligned with market demands in Afghanistan, which exacerbates high unemployment rates. As anticipated, this situation has only gotten worse as the government’s growth strategy gradually takes hold. The government has planned programming to increase labor productivity of citizens and invest in needed human capital. To anticipate future market needs, the government is investing in vocational education, engineering, managerial skills, the service industry, and in reforms to make the Afghan labor more flexible and responsive. The approach also focuses long-term investments in human capital development, namely quality education and healthcare.

OVERALL PROGRESS
Achieved (2/12): 18.5 Achieved (2/12): 18.5 %Partially achievedand on-going(3/12): 27.2 %Partially achievedand on-going(3/12): 27.2 %In process (5/12): 35.9 %In process (5/12): 35.9 %No information(2/12): 18.5 %No information(2/12): 18.5 %In process (5/12)Percentage: 35.9

DELIVERABLES
– Prepare for future labor market needs, including labor exports

 PROGRESS: –In process.
  • The employment relationship is governed by the Afghan Labor Law (2008) and numerous Labor Regulations. Because most of these had not been updated since the Taliban regime, much work has been done to update and revise them. :
    • The Regulation on Overtime and Regulation on Temporary Employment were recently revised and published in the Official Gazette.
    • The Cabinet also approved the proposed Regulation on Pension for Non-Governmental Employees. This is now shared with members of the private sector for input.                       
    • The following regulations were posted in Official Gazette No. 1306 dated August 11, 2018
  • A regulation to form the High Council of Labor, which will study and assess legal matters that the employer/employee relationship, work to decrease unemployment in the country, analyze hurdles to employment, and propose legislation related to labor.
  • Regulation on Distribution of Labor Related Clothing and Protective Equipment
  • Regulation on Labor Dispute Resolution
  • Regulation on the Work Conditions of Day Laborers.
  • The Human Capital Development National Priority Program has been finalized. The Ministry of Finance is presently working on its results framework, action plan, and budget.  
  • On May 20, 2018, a National Labor Conference was held in Kabul and chaired by President Ghani to bring together a diverse group of stakeholders to plan for meeting labor market needs.  Hosted by the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled, the governmental, non-governmental organizations and private sector discussed aspects of unemployment and opportunities, challenges and resolutions to unemployment in nine different panels and pledged to create up to 2 million jobs in the next three years. 33 different agreements with different organizations were signed.

– Better align education with private sector requirements
 PROGRESS: – Partially achieved and on-going.
  • In April 2018, the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Authority (TVETA) became an independent organization. The TVET programs adopts the German apprenticeship training model, designed to instill technical and practical skill sets in Afghan youth, adequately matching their skill sets with the demands of the Afghan job market. So far, three high schools in Kabul and two high schools in Mazar-e-Sharif have adapted the Germanic curriculum model, with 12 school to adopt the model by the end of 2018. By 2020, the government will establish at least one TVET school in every province and by 2021, one TVET school in every district, eventually converting 70% of high schools in TVET institutions.
  • In April 2018, the National Unity Government launched a new package of human capital and education initiatives which including making the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) an independent organization and no longer part of the Ministry of Education with its own budget. (see more information below)
  • The Higher Education Law was revised and approved, with input from civil society.
  • The national university entrance exam (Kankor) was reformed to result in a transparent and fair procedure which includes examination schedules, conducting simultaneous examination in all provinces, printing of separate exam questions booklets for each student, and a systematic and examination electronic process.
  • A number of reforms were focused on the education sector over the past four years, including:
    • An increase of 8.7% in female enrollment in Teachers Training Institutes
    • 884 new schools and training centers have been established
    • Implementation of the Global Partnership for Education and Equal Access to Education resulted in an increase in the national literacy rate from 36% to 38%. Over a period of one year and a half, the implementation of Global Partnership for Education in Afghanistan has instituted 871 community-based classes in 36 target districts of 13 insecure provinces where now 12,314 girls and 11,836 boys are enrolled.
    • An increase in the number of university professors from 3,159 to 5,582, including an increase the number of female faculty members by 6.6 , to 774.
    • In January 2018, state-run universities were connected to one of the world’s most influential providers of online courses, edX. Founded in 2012 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University, edX is an online learning destination, offering high-quality courses from the world’s best universities and institutions to learners everywhere. Eight government-run universities in Kabul and universities of Balkh, Herat, Kandahar, Khost and Nangarhar had been so far linked to the program.

– Increase the current skills base
 PROGRESS: – In process.
  • The National Education Strategic Plan for 2017-2021 was launched in 2017. The objective is to prepare skilled and competent citizens through the education system to sustain Afghanistan’s socioeconomic development and social cohesion. The priority of National Unity Government for over next five years is to finish building more schools, better the quality of educational programs, and to train the graduates, especially the poor and disadvantaged children in rural areas where only 21 of girls and 43% of boys attend school.

– Improve workforce quality through investments in preventative and curative health
 PROGRESS: – In process.
  • Improvements in healthcare facilities and skills over the past 18 years have yielded overall massive improvements in public health outcomes. Read more on health improvements over the past 18 years in the World Bank’s report Progress in the Face of Insecurity: Improving Health Outcomes in Afghanistan, released in March 2018.
  • The National Unity Government has taken the following actions to expand on these improvements over the past four years:
    • The Afghanistan Medical Council and the National Medicine and Health Products Regulatory Authority was established to improve quality of health services and medications.
    • Several public-private partnerships have been initiated, including with Jamhuriat, Ali Jinnah, Sheikh Zayed, and Nangarhar hospitals.
    • Chain pharmacies have been initiated by the government to supervise pharmaceuticals. Each chain is responsible for monitoring 500 other pharmacies.
    • Work permits of 813 domestic companies and 113 foreign companies have been terminated for importing low quality and expired medicines into the country.
    • Currently there are 358 government hospitals and 2000 government health centers in Afghanistan, 205 of which have been built in the past three years including the Sheikh Zayed hospital (after a delay of 11 years), a 105-bed hospital in Gardez province, a 140-bed hospital in Bamiyan province, a 120-bed hospital for women in Panjshir, a 100-bed hospital in Sar-e-Pol, and a hospital for treatment of congenital heart disease in Kabul.
    • The level of primary health facilities with at least one female health worker rose to 95% in 2017.
    • In 2016 two health centers were established for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, and 3,500 patients were provided treatment.
    • The government introducer the Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) across the country. In 2017, more than 9 million children below age five were reached in polio vaccination campaigns. The percentage of children who have received all essential vaccines increased from 29.2% in 2010 to 46.7% in 2016.
    • The government introduced the Rota vaccination, which lessens the mortality rate among children due to diarrhea.
    • The government conducted a demographic survey in the health sector with the support of ICF International which addressed the lack of information on mother and child health, HIV/AIDS, access to potable water, awareness about health, toilet facilities, and family planning.
    • In August 2017, with support from USAID, the Ministry of Public Health launched the first Health Data Warehouse, an online platform to better coordinate and use health statistics for improving the planning, decision making, and supervision of the health programs.
    • There are an estimated 3.2 million drug addicts in Afghanistan. The government established 16 drug rehabilitation centers, which include Omid and Ibna Sina, with 1000 and 1500 beds respectively, and a 150-bed rehabilitation center for female addicts in Kabul. The capacity to treat addicts has been increased from 28,000 to 39,0000 people per year.

– Expand vocational and technical education, utilizing the German apprenticeship model
 PROGRESS: –  Partially achieved and on-going.
  • In April 2018, the National Unity Government launched a new package of human capital and education initiatives which including making the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Board (TVET) an independent organization with its own budget. Nadima Sahar was appointed as head of TVET. By 2020, the government will establish at least one TVET school in every province and by 2021, one TVET school in every district, eventually converting 70% of high schools in TVET institutions. The TVET programs adopts the German apprenticeship training model, designed to instill technical and practical skill sets in Afghan youth, adequately matching their skill sets with the demands of the Afghan job market. So far, three high schools in Kabul and two high schools in Mazar-e-Sharif have adapted the Germanic curriculum model, with 12 school to adopt the model by the end of 2018. Plans are to have at least one TVET school in every province in one year and in less than three years one in every 340 districts all around the country.

– Promote the establishment of private skills academies
 PROGRESS: –  No information available.
 
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– Identify opportunities to absorb returning migrants and displaced populations into training programs and labor markets
 PROGRESS: –  Partially achieved and on-going.
  • It is estimated that about 2.5 million Afghans have returned to Afghanistan after living as refugees in neighboring countries for years, mainly Pakistan and Iran. Furthermore, the rate of internal displacement reached 950,000 in 2015 and 830,000 in 2016 due to drought and conflict. To address the issue of jobs and re-integration for this large number of returnees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), the Displacement and Return Executive Committee (DIREC) was established and drafted a 2018 National Action Plan which provides a roadmap for land allocation, jobs, and front-line emergency services to accommodate 700,000 returnees and IDPs. Progress to date includes the following:
    • In provinces with high numbers of returnees—Nangarhar, Khost, Parwan, Laghman, Bamiyan, Kabul, Ghazni, Daikundi, Ghor, Kunduz, and Paktia—the development budget of the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations (MoRR) was increased from 13% in 2014 to more than 83% in 2017. 46 development projects have been implemented including roads, electricity, and water supplies, in returnee and IDP townships.
    • Structural reforms to better manage returnee needs included: establishing the High Commission of Immigration Affairs, chaired by the President, and the National Steering Committee on Solution Strategy for Afghan Refugees. Nine action plans were prepared, a deputy ministry for refugees and general directorates for returnees and IDPs established, and the first Migrant Information Center established.
    • 426,700 internally displaced families have been registered with the government, and 170,000 families were assisted in returning to their place of origin. $226.5 million cash and non-cash assistance have been distributed to returnees and IDPs, as well as assistance provided in obtaining Tazkira IDs and enrolling their children in school.
    • The government prevented land encroachment on the following returnees townships: Sorkhakan Qarghayee in Laghman province, business areas in Ghazni province, Qalam Wal Meena of Khost province, Beenie Warsak of Parwan province, Durahi Hairatan of Balkh province, QaleenBafaan of Balkh province, Shaikh Messri of Jalalabad city and some land plots in Kabul.

– Support community-based approaches to income –generation for people with disabilities
 PROGRESS: –  In process.
  • The Afghanistan Rural Enterprise Development Program (AREDP) was a government program that ended in 2016 that generates more, sustainable, and inclusive jobs for rural women and the unemployed through the provision of access to finance and skill training. The program supported 1,304 people with disabilities and their families. Similar programs are being explored, and citizens with disabilities are being included in community development councils and project development via the Citizen’s Charter National Priority Program.

– Review labor policy and regulations to increase flexibility
 PROGRESS: –  Achieved.
  • •    The employment relationship is governed by the Afghan Labor Law (2008) and numerous Labor Regulations. Because most of these had not been updated since the Taliban regime, much work has been done to update and revise them:
    • The Regulation on Overtime and Regulation on Temporary Employment were recently revised and published in the Official Gazette.
    • New Labor Law affords women 50 days family leave, on top of 90 days paid maternity leave, and Article 8 stipulates the equal right to work.
    • On April 29, 2018, the Cabinet approved the proposed texts for Regulation on Compensation of Work-Related Hazards; Regulation on Labor Dispute Resolution; Regulation on Labor High Council; Regulation on Daily Wage Employees; Regulation on Additional Sick Leave; Regulation on Labor Inspection and Supervision; and Regulation on Protective Equipment and Clothing. These are now under review by members of the private sector.
    • The Cabinet also approved the proposed Regulation on Pension for Non-Governmental Employees. This is now shared with members of the private sector for input.

– Invest in women’s education and market employment
 PROGRESS: –  Achieved.
  • A number of legislative reforms have been undertaken to ensure women’s rights to work and to an education, including:
    • The new penal code, published in February 2018, included a reduction in sentencing for so-called ‘moral crimes’ committed, and removed discretionary authority from judges to handle honor killings of women, rendering the act simply a crime of murder. It also recognized war crimes and other crimes against humanity, including torture, as well as criminalizing sexual violence against children.
    • An anti-harassment regulation and anti-harassment law were enacted.
    • Amendment to some provisions of the Civil Servants Law to increase number of women
    • Gender integration policy launched by Civil Service Commission
    • Modification of Electoral Law to increase gender equality
    • The Passport Law removes obstacles for girls and women in obtaining passports
    • Inheritance deprivation has been criminalized in article 33 of EVAW Law
    • EVAW Law has set penalties for underage marriages. It has also been incorporated in the draft Family Law
    • Article 40 of the constitution recognizes the right of all citizens, including women and men, to own property. It is now required that new property documents must include name of husband and wife
    • New Labor Law affords women 50 days family leave, on top of 90 days paid maternity leave, and Article 8 stipulates the equal right to work
  • The National Procurement Authority instituted a 5% preferential treatment to women-owned businesses. The government’s business simplification reforms have also positively impacted women’s business.
  • The President’s Office and First Lady’s office facilitated the established of the country’s first Afghan Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which networks 850 women business owners across the country.
  • Government bodies and institutions have allotted scholarships and internship to female candidates to increase opportunities and employability.
  • The National Priority Program for the Economic Empowerment of Women (WEEP NPP) was launched in March 2017, and has so far supported 70,000 women in agricultural activities, including kitchen, gardens, nurseries and greenhouses, and supported 35,000 women in the livestock sector, including provision of livestock, technical support, and provision of inputs. Over 3,000 female teachers have been recruited in every province across the country through transparent recruitment processes via the Civil Service Commission, with the goal to hire 30,000 female teachers over the next few years. 900 midwives in communities across Afghanistan have been trained. Further achievements of the WEEP NPP to date:
    • The Innovation Trust Fund concept (part of WEEP NPP) has been approved.
    • 668 female businesswomen have had the opportunity to market their products in 28 handicrafts exhibitions in the center and provinces.
    • More than 220,000 women benefited from Sustainable Agricultural Income Programs in urban, semi-urban, and rural areas
    • 6,000 women benefited from the Economic and Social Empowerment Program in refugee camps.
    • Launch of a ‘Made by Afghan Women’ brand on May 14 2018, which included participation by the Afghan Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and the Office of the First Lady.

– Improve the Ministry of Economy by consolidating directorates
 PROGRESS: –  No information available.

– Define a sustainable model for health system financing
 PROGRESS: –  In process.
  • The World Bank’s report Progress in the Face of Insecurity: Improving Health Outcomes in Afghanistan, released in March 2018 assessed both models of healthcare service delivery (contracting-out with NGOS, and contracting-in with managers) utilized in Afghanistan to see which one is a more effective and sustainable model for future health system financing. This assessment was the first step in evaluating the current health systems in Afghanistan to make decisions about investments in future models of healthcare delivery. To read the entire report, visit this link. The report found the following:
    • Afghanistan has achieved greater improvements in key maternal and child health outcomes and service coverage than regional comparators. Improvements over time have also exceeded the global median for low and low-middle income countries over a similar period of time .
    • Provinces utilizing the contracting-in (CI) model achieve greater improvements in maternal and child health coverage relative to provinces utilizing the contracting-out (CO) model, but the difference is small.
    • The CO approach has clearly performed well in high and escalating conflict settings, and NGOs’ ability to respond quickly and with flexibility may explain good CO model performance. Substantially greater improvements in pharmaceutical and vaccine availability in CO facilities point to the importance of continuing decentralized procurement and supply chains.
    • Evidence points to the importance of a focus on provider autonomy and results, not inputs, in delivering better results, including improvements in equity.
    • The report suggests that going forward there are likely benefits to embedding services closer to communities and strengthening ties with and accountability to local communities.