Primary and secondary education
Primary and secondary education in Afghanistan
In Afghanistan, there are 2 types of education: regular education and Islamic education. On this page, we only describe regular education.
Pupils are educated in Dari or Pashto. It is compulsory for children aged 6 to 15, so from primary and lower secondary education.
In Afghanistan, primary education is for pupils aged 6 to 12.
- : 6 years (grade 1- grade 6).
- Content: primary education. Usually, all pupils follow the same subjects, but there may be small differences depending on the region within Afghanistan. In the final year, pupils take an entrance exam for secondary education.
Secondary education lasts 6 years. Students aged 12 to 18 complete 2 stages:
- lower secondary education;
- upper secondary education.
The language of instruction is Dari or Pashto.
Lower secondary education
Lower secondary education is for students aged 12 to 15.
- Duration: 3 years (grade 7– grade 9).
- Content: general education subjects, such as Dari, Pashto, mathematics, biology and a foreign language.
Upper secondary education
Upper secondary education is for students aged 15 to 18. At the end of upper secondary education, students take exams for the 12th Grade Graduation Certificate.
The official length of the full-time programme (not part-time) without study delay.
12th Grade graduation certificate
- Duration: 3 years (grade 10 – grade 12).
- Content: pupils have to choose from 2 subject clusters:
- the general subject cluster. The curriculum consists of general education subjects.
- the vocational subject cluster. The curriculum consists of mainly vocational subjects from a certain field of study and a few general education subjects.
- Function of the diploma:
- With the general subject cluster, pupils have access to higher education.
- With the vocational subject cluster, pupils have access to vocational study programmes in higher education.
For access to study programmes at public higher education institutions, students need to pass the national entrance exam (kankor). This is not necessary for study programmes at private institutions.
- The diploma from the general subject cluster: 12th Grade graduation certificate, issued by the Ministry of Education.
- The diploma from the vocational subject cluster: 12th Grade graduation certificate, issued by the Ministry of Education – Technical and Vocational Education and Training.
Please note: sometimes ‘12’ is mentioned on the diploma instead of ‘12th’.
We compare the 12th Grade graduation certificate, issued by the Ministry of Education, to a diploma.
Senior general secondary education (hoger algemeen voortgezet onderwijs, HAVO). A HAVO diploma is awarded upon successful completion of a 5-year programme of general secondary education.