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Project Planned to Boost Quality Education for Poor in Tajikistan

News Release | 29 June 2006

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - ADB will prepare a project to improve the quality and responsiveness of Tajikistan's education system to meet the needs of a modern economy and supportive of poor, disadvantaged children - particularly girls and those with special needs - with the help of a technical assistance grant of $400,000.

The proposed project would address key issues facing the country's education sector including producing a curriculum development policy, planning for developing and providing textbooks and materials, modernizing learning assessment and teacher development, and preparing a school development plan.

The TA will help the Government review policies and sector needs, and outline recommendations for actions plans for the planned project. It will also assess achievements, progress, and remaining priorities of the education sector.

"Although Tajikistan has taken significant steps to reform its education sector and boost equity and equality of education, major challenges remain," says Raikhan Sabirova, an ADB Social Sectors Specialist.

"Building on the experience gained under previous ADB-supported projects, the TA will focus on improving access to education particularly in rural mountainous areas, and strengthening the Ministry of Education planning and management capacity in assessing education financing priorities, and improving system efficiency."

Since gaining independence in 1991, Tajikistan has had increasing difficulties maintaining universal primary education and high literacy achieved during the Soviet period, in the face of declining budgets and rising poverty.

The curriculum is overloaded and in need of modernization, while, despite external support, textbooks and learning materials are still insufficient, particularly in secondary education, and in the languages of ethnic groups. Learning systems lack modern approaches to improve quality of education and student learning assessments.

Further, teacher pay and incentives are low, making it difficult to attract and retain teachers, particularly in rural areas. Stronger support for strengthening teachers' professional development, including in-service teacher training, is required to support and carry out reforms in the curriculum and learning assessment system.

The Government's goal is to establish an education system that provides universal access to quality schooling for the country's children and young people, according to the country's needs.

The TA will closely coordinate with ADB's ongoing projects in the country, as well as with the Education for all Fast Track Initiative administered by the World Bank, USAID, and other external agencies.

The assistance will be conducted over about six months to February 2007. The Government is contributing $71,000 in kind to the TA's total cost of $471,000.