Teaching English in Afghanistan

Although English used to be shunned by the Taliban in Afghanistan, it is now the language of choice for a growing number of foreign language schools springing up in a climate of more tolerance in the country. In many schools English is taught from the fourth grade and Kabul University has a dedicated English department.

It is recognized that in order to succeed internationally, English is necessary but also with the influx of foreign concerns there is a need for English too for liaison with businesses as well as NGOs.

Typical qualifications are a degree and a TEFL Certificate such as the IWeb TEFL Certificate and government sponsored schemes will usually ask for these; however if you find a job privately (especially if you are in Afghanistan already) you may well be able to forgo the degree although be sure to have some English teacher training before you go.

Getting a visa and work permits is awkward; however if you secure a job before you go then the school will be able to help out with this. It will take time though so give yourself a good couple of months to arrange this side of things.

Salaries are fairly low – up to about $1000 USD (€791, £636) per month, but of course the cost of living is likewise very low.

Schools tend to be poorly resourced, however this is often offset by the friendliness and willingness to learn shown by local Afghan students. Without doubt teachers in Afghanistan are making major contributions to rebuilding the country and should be applauded. The country has a rich cultural heritage and students are often very enthusiastic to share this with their foreign teachers; you can do much worse than base a lesson plan around traditional stories and tales from Afghan history.

There are also some opportunities at the British Council‏‎ and the International Schools in Kabul which pay more – with experienced and qualified teachers up to about $2500 USD (€1978, £1591) per month.

In November 2013, the British Council signed an agreement to begin training over 16,000 teachers in the country.

Volunteering in Afghanistan

On the other hand you may decide to volunteer in Afghanistan; if this is the case then be sure to use a registered and reliable volunteer agency‏‎ and not to pay for your time there. If you are already living in Afghanistan there are several volunteer organizations who are helping and teaching just a few hours a week can make a major difference.

Volunteering positions in Afghanistan can be short term for as little as a few weeks. A relatively new option is also to teach online to Afghan students.

Security & Safety

Security and safety is obviously a concern but the major cities are relatively safe and getting safer. However, bear in mind that in July 2011 the British Council offices in Kabul were stormed by the Taliban leaving 12 dead.

Before setting out for Afghanistan you should be sure to contact your national government and look carefully at the situation there; many US and UK teachers are put off because of the current situation but teachers from other nationalities do certainly work there.

The US Embassy in Kabul sponsors a number of initiatives to help the spread of English including teaching programs for local teachers. A number of military personnel stationed in Afghanistan are also involved in teaching English to local people so this might be an option for military or former military personnel.

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Posted in Country Guides.

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