About 80% of Afghanistan’s population (total of 30 million people in 2012) lives in rural areas. The rural population depends heavily on the country’s productive natural resources, which includes water, minerals and fossil fuels, in addition to a diverse agricultural resource base. Rural development goes beyond only agricultural development – it includes studying infrastructures such as roads, communications, health, education and energy services. And it also includes a study of what is happening at the household level, including labour division within the family, gender relations and needs of children and old people. All of these elements are needed to be functioning well in order to reach high agricultural production, food (and nutrition) security and diverse sources of income for people in rural areas. The Rural Development department covers all of these subjects and more in order to provide students with both a strong academic background and practical experiences in this important subject area.
To deepen their theoretical academic and research studies, students make excursions to various research universities, relevant companies, banks, cooperatives, farmer field schools, and gender-based projects. During the 4th semester at NAEC, students choosing to specialise in this area are also provided with the opportunity of engaging in a Rural Development research project. In addition, students will experience various mini projects during their two-year study; for instance, designing brochures for marketing of NAEC, preparing manuals, making radio programs, advertisements, and training programs. Moreover, various teaching methodologies are used in order to deliver the topics as practical as possible.
Rural Development department aims to give students knowledge of themselves, their society and their physical environment to recognise and make use of strengths and opportunities of themselves and their community. Rural development department allows students to think critically, identify and analyse their community challenges and ways to overcome them.
Specifically, NAEC graduates develop and build up their practical knowledge, problem-solving and teaching skills. With these tools, NAEC graduates can improve agriculture education at Agricultural High Schools; and in addition, those specialised in Rural Development can go on to work on rural development organisations, projects and companies seeking to enhance their communication and social development skills.
The Rural Development department provides 17 courses over two years of studies at NAEC. The main topics of specialisation are:
- Gender and Development
- Food and Nutrition Security
- Project Cycle Management
- Rural Extension
- Rural Microfinance
- Rural Development Approaches