Music Institute Plays Vital Role in Rebuilding Society

March 25, 2015

  • The Afghanistan National Institute of Music, the country’s only music school, is nurturing budding musical talent and giving an opportunity to young people from across the country. Half of the students are orphans or come from poor and disadvantaged families.
  • Students at the institute learn to play traditional and modern musical instruments and are also taught academic subjects as in mainstream schools.
  • The institute, which plays a vital role in rebuilding a just, harmonious and civil society, receives support from the Afghanistan Second Skills Development Project, financed by the World Bank.

KABUL CITY, Afghanistan – His fingers move deftly on the tabla as he plays, and the rhythm from this pair of small hand drums coupled with the other musical instruments transform the atmosphere of the small room, where Hamidullah and his three classmates are practicing.

Eighteen-year-old Hamidullah has been playing and learning the tabla for more than five years. He and his classmates are students of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM), the country’s only music school. Located in the western part of Kabul City, ANIM has some 190 students, including 43 girls. Almost half of the students are either orphans or come from underserved or marginalized families.

" I used to work in our shop, but with the encouragement of my uncle I came into the world of music and I finally ended up here. Now music plays a huge role in my life. "


student, Afghanistan National Institute of Music

Currently a 12th grader at ANIM, Hamidullah is the only one in his family of seven involved in music but his relatives endorse his career choice and support him. It appears that family and friends play a huge role in motivating students to enroll in this music training institute.  

Farhad, 13, who is in seventh grade, joined the institute seven years ago, after his cousin encouraged him to learn music. He is learning to play the delroba and ghaychak, two well-known traditional Afghan stringed instruments.

“Initially I found it very difficult. I thought I would not be able to learn the instrument, but as time went on and I continued to practice hard, it became easier and easier,” Farhad says. “Now I want to be a good delroba player and I hope that I would be able to become an instructor one day in this institute and teach others.”

Well known at home and abroad

The World Bank, together with other donors, has been providing support to ANIM since its re-establishment in 2008. ANIM, which operates under the Ministry of Education, was earlier supported under the Afghanistan Skills Development Project (ASDP) that aimed to build a high quality Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system. ASDP, which was financed by the World Bank and Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), closed on June 30, 2014.

However, the World Bank is continuing to support Afghanistan’s TVET system through a follow-on project, the Afghanistan Second Skills Development Project. ANIM continues to receive support through this project, which focuses on providing incentives to schools and institutes offering formal TVET programs through a challenge fund scheme, while simultaneously strengthening the institutional system for TVET as a whole.

ANIM has risen to become known both locally and internationally as the most important, effective, and successful music education institution leading intercultural dialogue in Afghanistan. Furthermore, ANIM has proven that the role of music education is vital in rebuilding a war-torn country and contributing to the establishment of a just, harmonious and civil society. 

Farid is a music instructor at ANIM, teaching several subjects. He says: “The World Bank has been supporting us for a while now and this is a tremendous service. Through this institute, not only can we nurture music and art in Afghanistan, but we can also present well-educated and well-trained musicians and students to the country’s artistic community.” 

“In total, we have 20 instructors including myself; five of them are foreign nationals. The World Bank also provided the opportunity and the resources for the foreign instructors to come here as well as facilitated the first ever tour of our students to the USA,” Farid adds.

Students enjoy all round education

The first music school in Afghanistan, known as the ‘Music School’, was established in 1973. It subsequently merged with the School of Industries and the name changed to ‘High School of Arts’.

Students receive training not only in music but also learn languages, mathematics, and other subjects that are taught in mainstream schools. ANIM has 35 teachers altogether, instructing music and academic subjects.

The institute also provides a scholarship to each student since almost half of the students are coming from poor families or are orphans. At the end of the academic program, each student is awarded a diploma that enjoys international accreditation.

The institute has a wide range of resources and amenities including well-equipped studios, traditional and modern musical instruments, library, and a meeting hall with a capacity for 300 people.

The success story of ANIM has attracted a great number of people to enroll and study music, such as 20-year-old Ilyas, who has been studying and learning guitar at the institute for seven years. He says his attendance at the institute has encouraged many of his friends and family members to study music.

“We are five members in our family. I bought a guitar, but I did not know how to play. Now my father and mother are both happy that I can play it. This has encouraged my sister as she also wants to enroll in the music school.”