After long time conflict and efforts for adjustment to an incipient free market economy, higher education in Afghanistan is facing the challenges of centralization, outdated curricula, inefficient strategies and inadequate budget which causes high unemployment rate for its graduates. This paper examines higher education in Afghanistan based on qualitative research to purpose a model for its educational reform to respond to market demands and help Afghanistan meet its own development goals, including economic growth and eradication of unemployment. As part of this change, Afghan universities should have the autonomy to train students in light of the needs of the region they serve by implementing market based curriculum and decentralized educational policy. The article begins by describing the current structure and curriculum offered by institutions of higher education in Afghanistan, including the structure and role of the Ministry of Education and the past rationalizations for the current system. Next it discusses the shortcoming and challenges faced by graduates attempting to enter the workforce, identifying the need for training competency based employees and graduates that can meet the market demands. Next it provides a model implemented by Malaysian educational system. From there, it explains how that system provides useful ideas for a viable approach in Afghanistan, a new educational policy that enables collaboration with industry and enhances economic development.
Keywords: Ministry of Higher Education, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Graduates, unemployment, autonomy, curriculum.