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Chancellor’s Research Grant

Exploring Kankor Examinations: The Chancellor’s Research Grant invites qualified researchers to submit research proposals related to critical elements of Kankor examination systems, practices, and impacts in Afghanistan.


Deadline for Proposals October 26, 2019
Number of Grants 5
Funding Ceiling per Grant Afs. 150,000
Duration of Grant 3 - 6 months
Submission Email grants@kardan.edu.af

About the Chancellor’s Research Grant

The Kardan University Chancellor’s Research Grant is dedicated to the study and advancement of knowledge and practice in higher education sector in Afghanistan. The Chancellor’s Research Grant is designed to enable Kardan University students, faculty, and Kardan Research Society members to pursue high quality research projects addressing specific problem areas in higher education in Afghanistan. This research grant is borne out of a commitment on the part of the grant benefactor to contribute to higher education sector development through quality research activities. Through this grant, Kardan University researchers will contribute to reducing the research and knowledge gap currently present in the higher education sector.

The Chancellor’s Research Grant will enable Kardan University researchers to gain access to critical financial aid to support their research activities. Furthermore, selected research papers produced by the Chancellor’s Research Grant recipients will be presented at the annual “Kardan University Conference on Higher Education in Afghanistan.” The inaugural conference is scheduled for April 16, 2020. Research emanating from this grant facility will be published in the annual conference proceedings.

Problem Statement

The Ministry of Higher Education conducts university entrance examination also known as ‘Kankor’ as standardized testing that is used to assign students to state-owned universities across Afghanistan. As the demand for higher education has grown over the past decade, Kankor examinations have come under increasing scrutiny for many reasons including regulatory deficiency, examination practices, and their impact on student performance and secondary schooling systems nationwide. Implicated in the conduct of Kankor examinations are many issues and challenges that confront higher education in Afghanistan amidst increasing demand, limited resources, and stagnant regulatory responses to these challenges.

While, the conduct of centralized examinations is common in many countries in the region and around the world, important innovations in policies, regulations, and practices characterize those systems. The inaugural Kardan University Chancellor’s Research Grant invites Kardan University researchers and Kardan Research Society Members including faculty and students to submit proposals responding to one of the following questions pertaining to critical elements of Kankor examination systems, practices, and impacts in Afghanistan:

  1. What are the most important processes that underpin the conduct of Kankor examination in Afghanistan leading to examination day? Provide a process mapping of kankor examination in Afghanistan.
  2. What is the current state of digital technology integration in Kankor examination? Describe opportunities for innovation in the context of digital technology integration in the conduct of Kankor examination.
  3. Is there a link between obtaining high Kankor scores and student performance in university? Provide an achievement profile of Kankor toppers from 2005 to 2015 and their performance in university.
  4. The establishment of the Afghanistan Central Examination Board is expected to lead to dramatically different processes in the conduct of university entrance examinations in Afghanistan. Identify models and best practices for conducting professional licensing certification services.
  5. What is the current state of professional certification and licensing in Afghanistan with reference to the Afghanistan National Qualification Framework?
  6. What are privatization possibilities in the provision of Kankor services in Afghanistan? What are the risks and advantages of privatization of Kankor services?
  7. What are the laws, regulations, and other legal documentation that underpins the Kankor examination in Afghanistan? Provide a detailed breakdown of regulatory framework of Kankor examination system including the governance structure at the national and sub national level.
  8. What is the economic impact of the Kankor examinations in Afghanistan? Provide a detailed examination of the value chain and the spin-off economies generated by Kankor examinations?
  9. Failing or not gaining sufficient kankor score is associated with social stigma that may have transcending impact on students. What mitigation mechanisms and actions can be taken to reduce the social stigma associated with failing kankor?
  10. What are opportunities for conducting specialized testing based on disciplinary competencies at the university entrance examination level? Provide an analysis of ‘standardized’ vs. ‘specialized’ examination models?
  11. What are potential alternative university entrance examination systems? Provide a profile of examples of three countries that don’t conduct standardized university entrance examinations?
  12. How is university entrance examination conducted in Japan, India, and Canada? Provide a complete profile including business process mapping for each of these countries.

Application Process

Applicants need to submit their responses in the form of a proposal. Your research proposal should include at a minimum the following elements:

  1. Research project personnel: profile of the Principal Investigator and at least 2 Kardan University student research assistants;
  2. Research Summary: 1000-word summary of your response to one of the above research questions.
  3. Research Methods: Brief summary of the proposed research methods being considered for the project or for the specific questions;
  4. Project Timeline: A month by month breakdown of research activity timeline leading to submission of final research report on February 28, 2020;
  5. Budget and Budget Justification: A detailed budget and justifications for funding requested including an anticipated disbursement plan.

Research Proposal Evaluation & Selection Process

The proposal evaluation process will be undertaken in three stages.

  1. Review: In the first stage, all complete proposals will be reviewed by the Chancellor’s Research Grant Review Committee Secretariat.
  2. Nomination: In the second stage, all shortlisted proposals will be invited for a research workshop by the Chancellor’s Research Grant Review Committee Secretariat to dialogue on proposed research content, budget, and research plan.
  3. Selection: In the third stage, nominated research proposals are put forward for selection to the Chancellor’s Research Grant Review Committee for selection.

Chancellor’s Research Grant Review Committee

The Chancellor’s Research Grant Review Committee is responsible for selection of nominated proposals. The committee is comprised of the following members:

a. Kardan University Chancellor or designate (Chair)
b. Kardan University R&D Coordinator (Secretariat)
c. Faculty member proposed by Vice Chancellor – Academics (Member)
d. Finance representative proposed by the Chief Finance Officer (Member)

Proposal Nomination Criteria

The Chancellor’s Research Grant Review Committee Secretariat shall nominate research proposals for selection against the following criteria:

Criteria Score
The research proposal directly responds to the proposed research question 20
The proposed research team consists of at least 2 Kardan University students as Research Assistants. 30
Completeness and quality of research proposal. 50
Total 100
Late submission of proposals will not be considered for evaluation. Clarifications or questions should be addressed to grants@kardan.edu.af

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