KABUL CITY, Kabul Province – A large shoe rack holds scores of tiny student shoes, but this is no normal school. The Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM), located on one of the busiest streets of the Kart-e-Char district, west of Kabul City, teaches more than 300 pupils a full curriculum, focusing on both Afghan and Western classical music, as well as core academic subjects such as science, English, and mathematics.
Farhad Safari, 14, a student at ANIM who plays the dilruba, a local classical instrument, says, “I have learned so many things in this institute that I could never learn in regular public schools. The teachers are very friendly and they always help us solve our academic problems.” Farhad is taught by Afghan traditional music teachers as part of ANIM’s aim to secure the continuity of traditional music and use of Afghan classical instruments.
Studying at ANIM has changed Farhad’s worldview and given him the prospect of a career. “Now music has become so deeply engrained in my life that I spend most of my spare time playing it,” he says. “Nobody knew me before I joined the institute, but now I am known for revitalizing our traditional and classic music in the country. I have made friends with a lot of famous musicians and singers.”
ANIM, inaugurated in 2010, inherited its premises from the former Academy of Fine Arts, but the Academy “was existing as a school only in name,” according to ANIM’s founder and director, Dr. Ahmad Naser Sarmast.
The World Bank, together with other donors, has been providing support to ANIM since its establishment. ANIM, which operates under the Ministry of Education, received support 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 (ASDP II). 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 TVET institutional system as a whole in the country.