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Afghanistan Curriculum

Two education systems exist in parallel in Afghanistan. Religious education is the responsibility of clerics at mosques, while the government provides free academic education at state schools. From age 7 to age 13, pupils attend primary schools where they learn the basics of reading, writing, arithmetic and their national culture. Three years of middle school follow where academic-style education continues. Students must pass an examination at the end of this phase if they wish to study further. At secondary school, students have a choice between continuing with an academic path for 3 years that could perhaps lead on to university, or study subjects such as applied agriculture, aeronautics, arts, commerce, and teacher training instead. Both programs culminate in a bacilluria examination. The Ministry of Education (MoE) is responsible for the administration of primary education, secondary education, vocational education, and religious education, including funding, policy development, curriculum design, evaluation, and basic teacher education. Primary education runs from grades 1 to 6. Children typically begin school between the ages of six and eight. The primary curriculum is consistent nationwide; however, teachers can tailor it to the local content. 

Primary education is divided into two cycles.The first cycle covers grades 1 to 3, and the curriculum includes subjects such as religious studies, first language (Dari or Pashtu, depending on the region), mathematics, arts, and physical education. The second cycle includes grades 4 to 6. The curriculum covers the same subjects as the first cycle, plus additional subjects such as natural sciences, history, geography, and a secondary language (Dari or Pashtu, depending on the region). At the end of grade 6, students must pass an examination to gain admission to lower secondary education [Maktabeh Motevasteh]. At this point, they may opt to pursue a religious studies track, or a more general education trackThe vast majority of students pursue the latter. Secondary education includes two three-year cycles. The first cycle, from grades 7 to 9, is referred to as lower secondary education, and the second cycle, from grades 10 to 12, is referred to as higher secondary education. The curriculum of the first cycle includes subjects such as religious studies, local languages, mathematics, natural sciences, social studies, foreign languages (English, German, French and Russian), and physical education. Students who pass the examination at the end of grade 9 can continue to higher secondary education. (Upon completion of grade 9, students may opt to pursue technical and secondary vocational education, rather than higher secondary education.) The curriculum of higher secondary education is determined by whether the students choose to focus on natural sciences steam or social studies stream, although the subjects taken are largely the same, and duplicate most of the subjects taken in lower secondary education. No matter which streams the students take, they need to pass the graduation exam to be awarded the 12th grade graduation certificate.