Tajikistan is a small country located in central Asia that gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. A civil war followed for the next six years, which caused the collapse of political regimes and educational systems.
While Tajikistan is one of the poorest countries in the world, the poverty rate decreased from 72 percent in 2003 to 47 percent in 2009. Tajikistan has been working to recover from the effects of the civil war and the global economy, but many remain trapped in a future of poverty due to a significant lack in educational opportunities.
In Tajikistan, children begin school at seven years old and are allowed to continue on to secondary school until age 18. However, many children drop out of school by age 12 to help around the house or to acquire a job, which means that the majority of children are only receiving four years of schooling or less. In addition, 66 percent of children in Tajikistan live in poverty, which affects both mental and physical development. Because of their living conditions, these children usually do not attend school due to economic reasons.
Tajikistan spends 3.8 percent of its GDP on education. Of its total expenditure on education, 73 percent goes to personnel costs, yet teachers’ salaries remain low. These costs leave little for school improvement and teacher training.
However, both Tajikistani officials and citizens are working toward a better educational system. In 2005, Tajikistan joined the Global Partnership for Education, or GPE, which focuses on universal access to quality education. The Tajikistani government spent 68 percent of the educational budget on basic education; yet, there is a funding gap when it comes to implementing the government’s action plan due to a lack in the necessary infrastructure.
The Tajikistani government worked with the GPE to develop the National Strategy for Education Development, which fights to ensure adequate sector coordination in support of the government’s education strategy.
In 2008, Tajikistan received its first grant from GPE for $18.4 million, and it received its second grant for $13.5 million in 2010. The money has been used to construct classrooms safely, provide school furniture and supplies, publish and supply multi-subject textbooks and improve authority training.
Tajikistan is working hard to decrease its national poverty rate, but there is still a lot of work to be done. Without education, children are far more likely to work at young ages, provide for families, take care of homes and continue living in poverty.
– Alaina Grote