Recently, SIGAR published an audit on DOD, State and USAID’s over $759 million investment in primary and secondary education in Afghanistan.
The audit notes:
While USAID had a defined strategy for primary and secondary education in Afghanistan, DOD and State did not.
DOD, State, and USAID have not adequately assessed their efforts to support education in Afghanistan.
DOD did not assess the effectiveness of its education efforts, and State only evaluated individual programs.
USAID officials acknowledged that they do not assess the overall performance of the education sector but noted that they do assess the performance of individual education programs.
Without comprehensive assessments of the work performed in education, DOD, State, and USAID will be unable to determine the impact that the approximately $759.6 million they have spent has had in improving Afghan education.
In 2014, USAID cited Afghan government data showing increased student enrollment from 900,000 students in 2002 to 8 million in 2013 as evidence of overall progress in the sector. Importantly, USAID is not able to demonstrate how its specific education programs are linked to supporting these Afghan-reported results and cannot verify whether this Afghan data is reliable.
Both the Afghan Ministry of Education (MOE) and independent assessments have raised significant concern that the MOE’s education data may not accurately reflect the true number of students enrolled in Afghanistan. Because USAID relies on Afghan education performance data that is not solely and directly attributable to specific USAID programs and is unreliable, USAID may be portraying an inaccurate picture of what its programs have contributed to the education sector in Afghanistan.
Accurate and reliable accounting of data is necessary to ensure full accountability over U.S funds and inform decision making on programming and funding.