History of Engineering Faculty - Kabul University

History of Engineering Faculty

The idea of establishing Engineering Faculty within the Kabul University was put into practice in 1956. Before this, Afghan Engineers were trained in foreign countries, mainly in Western Europe and United States of America.

At the beginning of the year 1956, an engineering department was established in the Faculty of Natural Science of Kabul University. For the first time, 23 Afghan students enrolled in this newly established engineering department and on the basis of a contract between the government of Afghanistan and USAID, the partnership was given to Wyoming University. 

In 1958, a joint faculty named “Faculty of Agriculture and Engineering” was established within Kabul University and replaced the engineering department of the Faculty of Natural Science and following four years program of study.

In 1959, only 4 students successfully completed their education and graduated with a degree of B.Sc. in general engineering field.

In 1963, this joint Faculty of Agriculture and Engineering separated from each other and each started functioning as an independent academic unit by the names of the Faculty of Engineering and Faculty of Agriculture. During this year, the contract of Wyoming University was finished and United States Engineering Team, USET took the responsibility. This team was consisted from Educating Development Center, Newton Center, Massachusetts with eleven American Higher Education Institutes namely, Purdue University, Stevens Institute of Technology, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Cincinnati, Camegi-Mellon University, North Carolina State University at Raleigh, Illinois Institute of Technology, Lehigh University, University of Notre Dame, Washington University ( Saint Louis) and Rice University. However, the University of Rice did not take part in this consortium from the very beginning.

In 1963, the college of Engineering had two departments- Civil Engineering and Electro-Mechanical Engineering Department. In the same year, the credit system replaced the semester system which was in use from the beginning.

In 1964, the Department of Electro-Mechanical was separated in two departments- The Mathematics- Electrical Engineering –Physics Department (MEEP) and Mechanical Engineering- Chemistry.  Department (ME-Chem).

In 1966, Agricultural Engineering was established within the structure of Civil Engineering. Also, in this year, female students enrolled in this college.

In 1967, Architectural Department was established. At the beginning of the first semester a special exam was given to those students who were interested to continue the field of Architecture. After receiving a passing grade, these students were introduced to the Department of Architecture while other students were distributed to other three departments of this college at the beginning of 6th semester. After two years (1969), some adjustments were done to accept students to Architecture Department at the beginning of 3rd semester.

From 1967 to 1978, a three month winter course for freshmen students by the name of Pre-Engineering courses got started. These courses were mostly focused on mathematics and some physics.

In 1968, by a joint effort of Afghanistan government and USA, the first Seismic Center in the country level was established and equipped with modern seismic instruments and other necessary apparatus and facilities. Faculty of Engineering and its Seismic Committee had the responsibility to operate, maintain, forecast and register all the activities of this center. In 1976, the contract was extended considering expansion and modernization of the mentioned seismic center. This center was active till 1990.

In 1970, the four year program of studies changed to five years program. The last group of four year program was graduated in 1972 while the first group of five year program was graduated in 1973. The five year program was designed to have nine semester and six months practical training program.

Also, in 1970, a center named –Center for Engineering Consultation, Scientific Advices and Applied Research, CECSAR was officially opened within the Faculty of Engineering. The main objectives of this center were:

  1. To give scientific and engineering advise to officials and private organizations and individuals.
  2. To prepare engineering norms and standards to be applicable all over the country.
  3. To seek and find solutions to the engineering-based professional and practical problems forwarded to the center.
  4. To perform required laboratory tests for construction materials.
  5. To perform, organize, facilitate and carry out research projects.
  6. To design and evaluate governmental and private engineering projects.

This center was active till 1981-the year which Engineering Faculty envisaged to gradual abrogation.

In 1974, USET contract concerning Engineering Partnership came to its end and Nebraska University took the place with a limited support. In this year a new department which was functioning at the Faculty of Education, then at the Faculty of Natural Science, transferred to this college of engineering. The aim of this department was to educate vocational teachers for vocational schools in the field of Civil Technology, Electrical Technology, Machine Technology and Auto Mechanics Technology. This department was following four years program.

In 1976, the annex building, 3000 Sqm, was constructed and the number of freshmen students suddenly increased to 900, while before this year it was from 100 to 150.  The reason was the increasing demand for engineers in care of growing construction works anticipated with the five years plan of the country

Due to new political changes by Democratic Parties of Khalq and Parcham, Nebraska University Team left the country at the end of 1978.

From the early establishment of Engineering College till 1978, due the deep attention of the government and cooperation and collaboration of various universities of America, this college was one of the top and famous colleges in the region. Its diploma, B.Sc, was well known as a standard diploma, locally and internationally. The medium of teaching from the very beginning up to the year 1978 was in English. In 1978 this school of engineering had 20 PHD holder faculty members, 25 M.Sc. holders and 20 B.Sc. holders to 65. In this year the following laboratories were used by students with having enough materials and instruments.

EE Labs: Electronic Lab,, Circuit Analysis Lab., Energy Conversion Lab., Power Lab., Physics Lab.

ME Labs: General Mechanics Lab., Drawing Lab., Manufacturing Process Lab., IC Engine Lab., HVAC Lab., Chemistry Lab and Machine Shop.

CE Labs: Strength of Materials Lab., Soil and Concrete Lab., Surveying Lab., Hydraulics Lab., Fluid Mechanics Lab., Geology Lab.,

Architectural Studios: Architecture Studio, Design Studio.

In 1979, the medium of teaching changed from English to official languages of Afghanistan- Dari and Pashtu.

In 1981, gradual abrogation of this collegestarted and last group of students graduated in 1985. Then, the door of this college was closed and all professors were distributed to other colleges of the Kabul University.

In 1989, the restoration and rehabilitation process of Engineering College started and at the beginning of the year 1990, students enrolled and the academic activities started with very limited resources.

From 1992 to 1995 due to internal conflicts, the door of this college was not closed officially, but the staff, administration and students were moving from one part of the city to other from time to time and it was one of the worst academic lives for Afghanistan. During these years of internal conflict, all the properties of this college were looted, destroyed or burnt.

In 1996 to Nov. 2001, Taliban came to power and they did not allow the female students to go to schools and universities. During the Taliban time, college of engineering was functioning very poorly and had very limited and un-sufficient financial and human resources.

In 2002, after the Taliban and from the start of the Interim Administration, this college continued its academic life with having 35 faculty members from which, 1 PHD, 7 M.Sc and degree and the rest B.Sc. degree teaching 750 students in four departments. The building of this college was in a very poor condition and the classrooms had very limited number of chairs for students.  During this year and after while, some small steps have been taken to provide better opportunities for school of engineering with the help of government, private sectors and international agencies.

From 2007-upto now, Kansas-State University started supporting this college (funded by World Bank) with the first funded phase will last in 2010.  The curriculum of this faculty restored five years ago and the five year program changed in to four year program and engineering faculty is going to prepare the four year program.

Note: the fourth and fifth classes graduated in the same time on the 2011 year, the credit system starts on the spring seasons 2012.