|The EFA 2000 Assessment: Country Reports|
The Republic of Tajikistan is a small country the area in 143,1 thousand square kilometers. It borders with Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and China. The population of the country exceeds 6 million, of which 73% live in rural districts. The number of the women (3.049 million) exceeds slightly the number of men (3.018 million). The children under the age of 15 comprise 44 % of the whole population. Tajikistan has the highest population growth rate among the CIS countries. The average age of the inhabitant of Tajikistan is 22.9 years, with a life expectancy of 63.3 years.
Tajikistan is a multi-ethnic country. The majority of it population are Tajik: one of the most ancient peoples of the world, related to the Iranian group of peoples and having an ancient and rich culture. The creator of ancient Tajik literature Rudaki, the ingenious work of Avicenna, and the names Firdausi, Omar Khayam, Rumi, Saadi, Khafiz, Dzhami and many other Tajik-Persian classics sparkle as unfading stars on the horizon of world civilization.
Tajiks have always emphasized creativity and work, science and education, and have esteemed independence and good neighbourly relations.
Until 1991, Tajikistan was a part of the former USSR, entered in the structure and developed on the basis of centralized and planned economy. In Soviet times, the investment in social structures allowed Tajikistan to reach level of development within the education system which meets in many countries the average income. Up until the beginning of the 1990's, a high level literacy among the adult population (99% according to the 1989 census) and well-educated labour force were observed: 77% had a secondary education and above. The educational institutions at all levels were accessible to the majority of the population. However, centralized system, though protected from problems, did not prepare the Republic for economic shocks and held down development of human potential.
On September 9, 1991 Tajikistan became an independent state, a positive change but which resulted in poverty as a consequence of the termination of the grants from the center (i.e. Moscow). The poverty in Tajikistan was aggravated by civil war from 1991-1993, from which general damage is estimated at US$ 7 billion. Especially large losses were incurred in the Kurgan-Tyube zone of Khatlon area, the regions in Karategin Valley, and Dushanbe. The statistics assert that, as a result of the civil war, 55,000 children were orphaned and 26,000 women were widowed, losing the main breadwinner of the family and therefore forced to become the head of household. Another 195,000 people fled to other CIS countries. According to assessments done by the IMF and WB, about 20% of schools were destroyed and plundered: more than 130 school buildings require rehabilitation and complete re-equipping, education-visual grants, and means of training. 126 destroyed schools must be replaced with construction of new school buildings to accommodate 20,000 pupils. On precomputations, in view of inflation, on construction of new school buildings, rehabilitation works and the equipment of schools by all necessary is required of means about 66,3 billions Tadjik roubles. The war had drastically an effect and on children's psychology, behaviour of the children, weaked skills of the peace resolution of conflicts has changed. Practically all children require special treatment.
The usual conditions require perfection of structure of system of education of republic, in which includes: children's preschool and out-scool establishments, initial, basic and the basic and high schools, gymnaziums, professional schools, technical schools, colleges, institutes, universities, institutes and centres for graduate education (increase of qualification), post-graduate course and aspirant course.
In the last years in system of education of the country have appeared new government and nongovernment types educational institutions, are created education- bringigng up complexes: kindergarden - school, school - university, litseys-technical university and other.. In Tajikistan, the education provided for all, at a level of reception of complete average education (11 classes), is conducted in 5 national languages: Tajik, Uzbek, Russian, Kyrgyz and Turkmen.
1. PURPOSES AND TASKS OF EDUCATION IN THE REPUBLIC OF TAJIKISTAN
Education has strategic importance and priority as a developped sphere of activity, for the development of the individual underlies the development of society and the state. According to the Law of Republic of Tajikistan " About Education ", adopted on December 27, 1993, the purpose of education is to satisfy the requirements of the person in all-round development for realization of all abilities, survival, existence, and improved quality of life and work, thereby improving the economic, cultural and spiritual legacy for maintaining the social and economic development of Republic of Tajikistan.
The tasks of training and education as components of education in conditions of the democratic legal secular state are entered by preparation of highly qualified, creative thinking, harmoniously advanced citizens, having deep knowledge, skills, and professional skills, and led by the ideas of peace, humanism, patriotism, social justice, preservation of conventional humanistic values, and the observance of rights and laws.
The given purposes and tasks of education are institutionalised within the legislative and normal activity of the Government of the Republic and the Ministry of Education.
Special emphasis is placed by the State on pre-school education, since the development of this branch of education systematically lags behind the requirements of the population. In 1991 141.4 thousand children were in pre-school institutions, while in 1998, only 44.2 thousand were enrolled; only 4.3 % of children of pre-school age. In the Concept of Pre-school Education, developed and adopted by the Ministry of Education, and in a Rule about Pre-school Education, adopted by the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan on October 12, 1995, the purpose and task of pre-school education are as follows:
To create conditions necessary for the support of a child and with the purposes of realization of the rights of the children for high-level physical, intellectual, spiritual, moral and social development according to norms of the Constitution of the Republic and the international obligations of the Republic, various measures on regulation and decision of key questions of childhood through rendering of moral and material support to a large families, the development of children's public health services and education are undertaken. Though in the working acts of the country there are not enough norms protecting the rights and interests the children (the Laws " About Citizenship ", " About Healthcare for the People in the Republic of Tajikistan ", " About Education ", " About Social Welfare of Invalids " and others), but at the same time with it they are keeping the method,which is not adequate to address difficult social and economic conditions.
Besides that, ratification by the Government of Tajikistan in 1993 of the UN Convention On the Rights of the Child imposes obligations, as stipulated in Article 4 of this document, about acceptance of all legislative, administrative and other measures for realization of childrens rights recognized by this Convention. A number of programmemes were developed: "The Programmeme of Development of the Population of the Republic of Tajikistan Until 2005", "The Programmeme on Improvement of the Role of Women and Family, Both Care of Motherhood and Childhood Until 2005" and others. However, the basic elements of these programmemes are not fully realized because of non-provision of material and financial resources.
Availability and actual reception for all of basic education are guaranteed by the Constitution of Republic of Tajikistan and Law "About Education", on the basis of which the concept of the national school, approved by the Government on June 13, 1994, is developed. The national school has five basic tasks:
The accomplishment of these tasks is provided by realization of developing training, its differentiation and integration, and also humanization and democratization of the education sphere, through a process of training and education.
With the purpose of satisfying the educational and cognitive requirements, and the specifications of the contents of education under the conditions created by the independence of Tajikistan, the Ministry developed new educational programmes and educational plans, which were accepted on June 3, 1994 and are recommended for application till 2000. The given educational plans, designed for the transition period, provide variety in training, introduction of new educational programmes and subjects, and the opportunity of having differential training, facultative and group lessons focused on interests of the pupils.
In the last years the primary schools of the Republic worked according to the first and second variants of the educational plan. For gymnasiums, lycees, and schools for gifted children, exceptional use of variants of the plans with the right of work under the author's educational plans and programmes is also given.
Large work on development of the standards is also underway. Leaning on the experience of Russia, educational standards in view of national, regional peculiarities of the country have been produced. The general requirements, purposes, problems and the principles of standardization of education are defined by the Government, and the contents of training, that is the standards of education under the basic educational programmes, are affirmed by the Ministry of Education. On June 4, 1997, the Government accepted the Resolution No. 266 "About the Statement of State Standard of General Secondary Education of the Republic of Tajikistan", in which, according to the Law of Republic Tajikistan "About Education", the state standard of general secondary education is established. The standard of education is the normative document and establishs total volumes of knowledge on educational disciplines, requirement to development of skills, skills and formation of the person.
According to the Constitution (Article 41) and the Law "About Education" (Article 12), all children must complete nine years (Classes1-9) of basic education. The state also guarantees entry into state educational institutions for free general secondary education (11 classes), secondary professional and, according to abilities and on a competitive basis, secondary special and higher education. The former uniform education system was replaced by multi-profiled, multi-alternative and other ways of education.
Education is one of optimal means of formation of equality and elimination of gender discrimination in the country. Therefore the state has the task to ensure that women, having the rights equal with men on reception of education, guaranteed to them by the Constitution, can freely exercise those rights. The Republic of Tajikistan on June 29, 1993, ratified the Convention on Liquidation of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. The equal rights of the women with men are reflected also in the Labour Code (since June 11, 1997), Criminal Code (since September 1, 1998), and the Codes about Family and Marriage. Following the instructions of an International Conference on population and development, the Government of the country set up a Commission, one of task of which is elimination of gender imbalance in the country. With this purpose on September 10, 1998 the Resolution of the Government "About the Statement of the National Plan of Actions of the Republic of Tajikistan on Increasing the Status and Role of women from 1998 - 2005" was accepted. The Ministry of Education places great attention on the reduction of illiteracy among the adult population and in particular inequalities between the literacy levels of women and men.
So, with the purpose of practical realization of the speech of the President of Republic, Emomali S. Rakhmonov, to the assembly of women activists of the Republic on April 26, 1997, and also his report on a meeting with the youth of Tajikistan on May 23, 1997, the Board of the Ministry of Education has accepted the Resolution of May 30, 1997 No. 612 "About Ordering of the Annual Reception in High Educational Institutions Without Entrance Examinations of a Certain Amount of Girls from Remote Villages". According with the Presidential quota for non-competition reception for 1997, 256 places were allocated for such students.
In order to implement the Resolution of the Board of the Ministry of Education, a plan has been devised for receiving external graduates of remote schools into institutions of higher education in pedagogical specialities. Also the digital plan was prepared for receiving the quota of youth, including girls, from remote mountain regions, in full time and correspondence branches of institutions of higher education without entrance examinations, at the expense of the state budget for 1997, in pedagogical, technical, agricultural, medical, economic, and legal specialities as well as journalism. A total of 491 places were allocated, including 269 places for girls.
For expansion of opportunities for obtaining the knowledge, skills and values essential for improving the quality of life, it is necessary to expand the network of music and art schools, and non-government educational institutions, to broadcast through television and radio programmemes concerning various problems, to provide access to mass media, libraries, studios and other initiatives.
2. STRATEGY OF EDUCATION.
The level of development of education, as one of the major social subsystems, is reflection of the general provisions in the state and society. The analysis of experience of advanced and developing countries, surviving in different periods of the history sharp crisis situations, shows, that the fast and successful decision arising economic, is scientific - technical and social problems is reached only then, when among many prime measures the paramount importance is given to development scientific - reasonable policy and strategy of development of education, when to it (education) priority place in investment policy of the state is given. A main guarantee of successful socio-economic development of a society is educative, intellectual potential. Historically such systems of education existing in many countries (for example, advanced countries of Europe, USA, Japan and others) provided development of all spheres of economy and public life.
On the threshhold of the 21st century, the role of education in the development and acceleration of public manufacture, the creation of modern civilization, and in strengthening mutual understanding and stability in the world, has much increased. The process of creating and developing a sovereign, independent Tajikistan requires deep reform of the education sector. It is impossible to satisfy the new needs of a society without essential reorganization of the structure of educational institutions, preparation of the modern pedagogical cadre of the country, and maintenance of much higher social and material status.
The present situation of the education sector in Tajikistan is that the country inherited an advanced network of education facilities and the appropriate the pedagogical staff, a high cumulative factor of scope for the children through the educational system, and gender balance in terms of reception of certain basic education. On the other hand, in the transition period, in all growth there was the problem of preservation of what has been achieved while adapting and improving the educational system in view of the future. It is necessary to resolve the current conditions impacting the education sector: reduced financing for the sector, deterioration of the material situation of families due to increased poverty, low morale within the ranks of teachers resulting in their leaving the system due to low wages, deterioration of the financial and technical base of institutions, increased numbers of children leaving school that can, in the future, create a "lost generation ", etc.
Taking into consideration the above statements, what is the strategic vision of the future? On which results in education should we be guided? What it is required for achievement of expected results in the field of education? These and similar questions are key in developing the policy and strategy for the transition period and the future in Tajikistan.
The strategic purpose of education remains education of such citizens who can be trained during all life and are capable to live in difficult and constantly varied environment, who have the high moral foundations and are capable creatively to solve problems, in order to work in a civil society and democratic system. For this purpose it is necessary to:
The main strategic task, upon which the basic realization of the above-named strategy depends, is the creation of new system of financing, resource maintenance and management of the educational system as a whole and the schools themselves. Taking into account the difficult economic situation of the country, in the short-term (2000 - 2002) it is necessary not to allow any reduction of state budget allocations to the education sector, while reconsidering and developing a new system of financing, defining priority solutions of problems, developing measures to stimulate investment activity in sphere of education, and creating a legislative basis and structure for multi-source financing. Paramount within all of these activities is the protection of elementary schools.
In the medium term, (2003 - 2005) it is planned to carry out the transition to a new system of normative financing education institutions, calculated on the basis of costs per student, instead of per class, as was earlier done. Normative financing will be calculated depending on the number of the pupils or children within a certain age group. There will be the development of self-financing schools, ensuring transparent use of non-budget means, such as parental payments. To enter mechanisms of credit for educational purposes, concessionary terms in material and resource maintenance of sphere of education are required. All measures of this period should be directed on achieving financial stabilization of the education sector.
In a transition period strategy of management, education takes on new characteristic features, connected to change of sphere of granting education services, and system of financing. Therefore decentralization becomes one of the main problems in management of the education system and its financing. It is important to consider, at which level of management decentralization occurs. Effective decentralization cannot be achieved at once. Years are required for this purpose. Therefore it is necessary to define more precisely the elements subject to decentralization. But while striving for institutional reorganization, the state cannot detach itself from the responsibility for maintenance of a certain universal educational level and provision of maximum opportunities for children through education. Central authorities will play the important role in the plan of the control, regulations and establishments of norms. Nevertheless in conditions of weak state financing, key to the strategy of management is the mobilization of the parents and public in management of school, and encouragement of parental participation in school activities, and creating a partnership with wide layers of a society.
One important condition for effective management of reform is the creation of standards with a legal base, requiring the review and updating of the laws and other normative acts in the field of education. Therefore, the creation of a coordination body, serving as an analytical centre, and called to promote organizational and administrative maintenance of the reforms is necessary.
3. ACCEPTANCE OF THE DECISIONS AND MANAGEMENT(MANUAL).
The state policy in the field of education in Republic of Tajikistan is developped and comes true on the basis of the Constitution of the Republic of Tajikistan, as indicated in the Law "About Education", Decrees of the President and other acts of the country. The legislative basis and budget financing of the education system is determined solved by the Madjlisi Oli (Parliament) of the country. The Government is responsible for execution of the Decrees and orders of the President, laws, resolutions of the Madjlisi Oli, carries out state policy in the field of education, considers and approves the republican programmes of development of education, including interstate and international, decides financially - technical and financial maintenance of realization of these programmes, establishs the state specifications and order of financing of education system, etc. The Ministry of Education is working to realize, in practical terms, state policy and coordination of actions of the participants of maintenance EFA countrywide.The local authority (Khukumat of areas, towns, regions) carries out state policy in the field of education, develops and realizes territorial (regional) programmes of development of education in view of national and socio-economic, cultural, demographic and other peculiarities of district. In formation of state policy in the field of education and its realization, active participation is accepted by authorities in terms of self-management in settlements of a urban type and in village (jamoats) educational establishments, and public and non-governmental organizations.
It has always been the practice in Tajikistan to create interdepartmental commissions, or councils within the central Government and local Khukumats, on youth, children, and women, where problems of education for all and gender are considered. However in modern conditions it has become necessary to create special interdepartmental commissions within Government and an Advisory Council under the President to address questions of EFA, consulting experts in the field of education, scientists (teachers, psychologists, philosophers, sociologists, doctors, demographists and other), experienced teachers and other representatives of the public. The forms and the modes of work of these bodies should be modern and correspond to the requirements of a democratic and open civil society, as opposed to the former practice.
The Ministry of Education constantly carries out teleological work on realization of state policy in EFA and Laws, decisions of Parliament, Government, and Decrees of the President related to it, and coordinates fulfilment of tasks indicated by them. So, for example, in accordance with acceptance in conditions of independence of the country of the Law "About Education", the concept of national school and standards of education, and other decisions of Government, the Ministry of Education defines the strategy and practical measures for realization. According to Order No. 6-0 "About the Statement of Measures of Ministry of Education on Realization of the Law of the Republic of Tajikistan About Education" signed on March 24, 1994, they are developed and Rules about pre-school establishment, comprehensive school, secondary special school, non-school childcare establishment, students organizations of all types of a comprehensive school, and higher education institution, are authorized. Similarly, the concepts of pre-school education, concept of education learning at schools; criteria of state standards of education and mechanisms of their introduction, etc., are determined.
The Concept of National School is the major document in education sector, as it defines the purposes, tasks and prospect of education. Taking into account the importance of this document, the Ministry of Education, on January 3, 1995, issued the order "About the Statement of Measures of the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Tajikistan on Realization of the Concept of National School". The developed measures cover questions of organization, including maintenance of the control, preparation and increase of qualification of the pedagogical staff, development of urgent problems, definition of the contents of education, study of the existing educational programmes, textbooks and their updating, realization of experimental work, etc.
The Ministry of Education gives constant attention to providing schools with educational programmes and textbooks. The sharp necessity in it has arisen in connection with the independence of the country and acceptance of the Law about language. Therefore the Ministry of Education, on May 29, 1993, has issued the Order No. 88 "About Improvement of Development and Ordering of the Programme, Textbooks and Educational Methodical Literature for Secondary Comprehensive Schools of the Republic". The present order authorizes measures for drawing up and improving the quality of the educational programmes, textbooks and educational methodical literature for comprehensive schools.
Taking into account the acute shortage of experts in separate branches of the national economy and especially within the education sector, with the intention of rational use of graduates from higher and secondary special educational institutions, the Government has accepted Resolution No. 406 "About Some Measures on Improvement of Use of Young Experts after Graduation from Higher and Secondary Special Educational Institutions ", on June 12, 1995. With the given Resolution the Government enters the new order to provide work to the young experts who finish high school at the expense of the state of the budget and obliges the graduates not less than 3 years of work according to assignment and direction of ministries and departments. This document has become the legal basis for Ministry of Education to provide work for graduates of high and secondary special pedagogical educational institutions.
In the last years because of deep economic crisis, the consequences of civil war, the fall of the standard of living of the people, low bringing up work with teenagers, involving them to training and provision of work, the amount of offences by graduates of 9th class has sharply increased. Taking this into account, the Board of the Ministry of Education, on April 28, 1995, accepted Resolution No. 41 "About Scope by Training and Employment for Graduates of Class 9" and has defined measures on expanding the scope by training in high school and especially girls, on strengthening bringing up work and bringing up.
In the performance of Item 3 of Article 12 of the Law "About Education", which grants all children the right to receive a basic nine-year education, the Ministry of Education has issued the Orders No. 476 (August 21, 1997), No. 608 (October 27, 1997) and No. 654 (November 25, 1997). These Orders, which estimated a condition of businesses on Education For All, aimed departments of education towards areas and regions to define the number of school-aged children and to involve them in certain training, with special emphasis on the continuation of girls studies and to compensate for the loss of studies by refugee children now returning to the country.
The Ministry of Education has also focussed its attention on the question of maintaining schools by the pedagogical staff and increase of their professional skill. Therefore, with the purpose of complex definition of qualification of the pedagogical workers, estimation professional, business, personal qualities of the teacher, final result of his labour in training and education of the pupils, a Rule about the order of realization of certification of the pedagogical workers and retraining of the staff was developed and was authorized on June 4, 1997 by Government Resolution No. 264. In the given Rule, terms of realization of certification and its periodicity are considered, the functions of the certification commission and the order of its work as well as qualifying requirements for certification are determined. The certification promotes improvement not only of the professional skill of the pedagogical worker, but also of his material well-being.
The Government, despite extreme financial difficulties, constantly finds an opportunity to increase the living level of educational workers, and regularly considers questions related to the increasing of wages and social welfare of educational workers. The Government, on December 25, 1997, accepted Resolution No. 550 "About Additional Payments and Extra Charges to the Working Tariff Rates and Salaries of the Workers of the Education System of the Republic", which promoted increased social status of teachers.
It is necessary to note that in the Ministry of Education, all EFA questions are considered and solved at the board level, and in places at a level of Boards and Councils of local bodies of education. The questions of education also are constantly considered and are solved at a level of the Government, Parliament and local authority.
4. COOPERATION IN EDUCATION
In this Report, education is considered in broader sense and not identified only with school, as education covers a wider range of issues than just training and professional training. Education is a process that proceeds all life, and is an integral part of the environment in which we live. This process is oriented towards the formation of the individual, the development of human resources and the increased quality of life and concerns for all members of a society, occurring in formal and informal ways during the entire lifetime of a person. Education in turn concerns the sphere of social services and, accordingly, unites many subjects, groups and individuals (i.e. servers and consumers of services). Certainly, the responsibility for granting educative services in interests of a society rests with educational facilities and the education system.
However, the more effective granting of educational training, as well as services in the field of professional training, and the organization of childrens recreation with the maximum use of human, physical and financial resources of a society, requires increased participation of different partners in this process, namely the cooperation and partnership of the citizens and establishments. In general, the educational process is inconceivable without cooperation, since the level of a class, teacher and pupil is created as a whole by internal and external interrelations of the education system.
It is evident to us that, within the conditions of a transitional period, when the socio-economic situation of the country is hard, the structure of the former system weak, and the new structure not yet determined, the development of the collective responsibility and the expansion of cooperation in the field of education are of great importance. It is impossible to expect that the Ministry of Education will be able to single-handedly accomplish everything, although it plays a key role in this process. Hence, in educative policy of our country, the issue of maintaining effective cooperation in the field of education through intersectoral interaction should be a priority.
Cooperative decision-making mechanisms have been developed in Tajikistan and in a determined measure continue to work, supported by intersectoral cooperation. So, in order to expand activities directed towards ensuring the support and development of young children, effective interaction between the Ministry of Education and public health services, culture and local authorities is supported. In addressing the problems of guaranteeing availability and receipt of basic education for all, many branch ministries, departments, law enforcement bodies, and local Khukumats contribute appreciably to the efforts of the Ministry of Education.
In efforts to achieve perfect cognitive levels, reduction of illiteracy among the adult population, especially the inequalities between a level literacy among the women and men, requires active participation of various state services, institutions and non-governmental organizations. Interaction between the Ministry of Education and the Ministries of Labour and Employment, Culture, Environment, and the State Committees on Television and Broadcasting, on Women and Youth, and on Sport, are characteristic of the process of expanding basic education and training to other important abilities and skills required by young people and adults. Mass media, non-governmental organizations and informal education contribute to the expansion of opportunities for individuals and families to obtain the knowledge, skills and values necessary for improving the quality of their life. One characteristic of Tajikistans plan of cooperation in the field of education from 1990 to 1992 was the dominance of state bodies, ignoring opportunities offered by the non-government sector, the initiatives of local authorities and educative establishments, even the role of the family.
The increased role and contribution of international and local NGOs, funds, centres, and international organizations in the realization of the above-mentioned targets concerning EFA is currently being observed. The problem remains how to attract the attention of all interested parties (i.e. the state and NGOs), to the problems related to EFA, and to unite efforts in strengthening and developing the educational system. This will be examined in more detail and, particularly, about cooperation in the field of education, in the analytical part of the Report.
5. INVESTMENT IN EDUCATION, MADE SINCE 1990
One decisive condition for the successful progress of any state to achieve both intermediate and long-term goals of Education for All to satisfy the basic requirements of the citizens in education is priority investment in the education system, implementing measures connected to decreasing the level of illiteracy among the adult population, and expanding opportunities all young and adult people to obtain important knowledge, abilities and skills necessary for improving the quality of their life. As indicated earlier, the given factor for Tajikistan is important and plays a special role.
Since 1990, the country witnessed sharp changes in state financing of basic education and other levels and, forms of education as a whole. The changes were appreciable and created negative results. The main reason is the fact that the whole educational system as well as the provision of any educational services depended on state financing. Other sources of financing were not advanced. Therefore, during this decade (1990 - 1999), the system of general education has been confronted with serious difficulties caused by the conditions of the transition period, the consequences of civil war and long economic crisis. So, by virtue of these reasons, the share of the state budget allocated to education decreases yearly. For example, in 1990, education received in general 22.1% of the state budget, while in 1998, this decreased almost twice, to 12.3%. For this same period, the percentage of the state budget allocated to education in terms of IGI has decreased from 9.5% to 2.2%. These parameters are appreciably reduced since 1994 and this process continues even at this moment. State expenses per pupil have similarly decreased. Certainly, this situation is explained by the reduction of public revenues. During the past seven years, Tajikistan has suffered sharp economic fall. It was affected also by the consequences of war and natural disasters, creating an essential loss to the national economy. Only in 1998, for the first time, was economic growth achieved, by 1.7 % (2.2%, according to IMF data) since 1991, the time of independence.
At the moment, the education system is deprived of basic financing for the purchase of equipment, materials, and the conducting of training. Until 1991, comprehensive schools were allocated a budget of only 91 roubles per class for the purchase of class furniture (the same price as 1984), and 2,850 roubles per year per high school for the purchase of the manuals. Now general educational facilities are deprived of amortisation funds, making it impossible for schools to replace worn out, out-of-date furniture. Even new school buildings, which are commissioned in small volume, are compelled to use old, broken furniture, equipment, and materials.
Unfortunately, the annual reduction of the charges of the state for education, which even in the last rather "full" years were "residual", has resulted in the decline of the education system, deterioration of study conditions of children, and decreased quality of their training and education. As a result, the future will be negatively affected in the educative, cultural shape of the members of society and there will be an overall lower quality of human resources and experts. Finally, it will weaken the stimulating role of education in development of the economic potential of the country.
Moreover according to Government Resolution No. 12 of May 27, 1996 "About Free Sale of the Textbooks of a Comprehensive School Through a Trade etwork", the state budget is exempted from former expenses incurred by providing free textbooks to schools. It is necessary to note that in the last years, the state expenses for these purposes amounted to a solid sum. For example, according to data from the Ministry of Finance, in 1990 the provision of free textbooks to schools cost 3,000,927 roubles (at the price of that period). Now these expenses must be borne by the students families, although they lack the financial means due to poverty.
The reality is that even after decades of mass expansion of reception learning at all levels of training, the education system of the country still has many tasks ahead. (see Table 1).
Number of pupils per kind of training (by the beginning of academic year, thousand people)
|Also in general education schools||1325.4||1272.7||1240.5||1288.1||1322.8||1340.9||1388.9||1451.1|
|In professional-technical estabilishments||42.5||34||32.8||29||30.6||27.6||26||24.7|
|In secondary special educational estabilishments||40.7||38.4||38.4||34.9||26.8||23.5||19.9||19.4|
|In high educational estabilishments||69.3||70.6||69||73.3||74||76||76.6||75.5|
On the other hand, it is impossible to ignore that the sphere of education, especially its general educational level, is directly connected to consequences of a high natural gain of the population in the country.
The demographic processes in the last years have undergone changes due to the socio-economic situation, difficult living conditions of the people. Since 1992, there has been some decrease in the birth rate and therefore the population growth. However, such decreases cannot bring even in the forthcoming decade an appreciable reduction of students learning in comprehensive schools, as the specific group of population aged 3 to 17 years, upon which opening/operation of pre-schools and comprehensive schools is calculated, in general remains high. For example, the number of children between 3 to 17 years in 1998 totalled 2,348,401 persons, and constitutes almost 40% of the general population of the country.
Presence of such demographic factors objectively dictate the necessity for preservation and rational use of the existing base and even expansion of the network of pre-school establishments. Therefore the process of pre-school education and education of the children in Tajikistan was always considered necessary forthcoming of school, in order to promote development of cognitive and creative abilities of future pupils. Therefore, in the next 10 years, provision of basic education with reduction of means of the state budget is inadmissible, and it is necessary to actively attract nongovernment means, and foreign investments. Otherwise, as in the beginning of the 1930s, during the Great Depression, when economic crises occurred, it was realised that "education is a necessity, not a luxury, for the growh of a child cannot be postponed nor detained during times of economic difficulties": this applies entirely to the present situation of Tajikistan.
In hard economic conditions, in order to maintain and preserve the legacy in education, it is necessary to improve, to adapt this broad sphere to present conditions. It is therefore necessary to carefully take into account all expenses and compare them with the available budget. It is necessary to determine which problems are to be solved first, and which are to be solved at the expense of the state, which at the expense of private sources, how to develop the NGO sector, and other issues.
In the conditions of the transition period and budget deficits, it was a matter of urgency for educational establishments to identify various channels for updating the budget. These include payment from parents, creation of self-financed divisions, expansion of sphere of rendering of additional paid general educational and other services. Slowly, but gradually, there has been increased development of private non-government schools, high schools, and pre-school establishments. With the intent of organizing this process amendments to the Law "About Education" were adopted on December 14, 1996.
As a result of the charges from the family budget for the education of children in Tajikistan, this frequently and rather appreciably worsens the material situation of a large number of families. As indicated above, costs for textbooks, school materials, and meals are now paid from the family budget. The clothes and footwear, without which it is impossible to go to school, is no longer provided by the state and must be provided by the population.
In Tajikistan, by comparison with other young independent CIS states, after steel to be allocated the foreign investments in sphere of education. The first investments, received as free aid through UNICEF, were made at the end of 1997 by the Governments of the Netherlands and Sweden for the purchase of 280 tons of paper and other materials in order to publish 800,000 copies of textbooks for Classes 1 - 4. In November 1998, the Government entered a Credit Agreement, to be realised over three years, with the Islamic Bank of Reconstruction and Development, amounting to USD 9.5 million for the construction of 8 school buildings accommodating 4.5 thousand students.
The Government, in 1999, signed a credit agreement with the World Bank for USD 5 million. The period of realization of the credit extends from August 1999 to December 2002. The basic purpose of the project is improved access to high quality education, and also improved pupil knowledge. The main tasks of the project are:
Work with the Asian Bank mission for the granting of a similar credit for the education sector is currently underway. In all these projects the main focus is the assistance in expanding the qualitative basic education for all. In the restoration and rehabilitation of schools, damaged during armed conflicts, international organizations provide assistance. From 1997 until 1999, UNOPS has restored and rehabilitated 48 schools in the Karategin Valley and Khatlon Region. The World Bank, through the Project Coordination Unit responsible for executing the Post-Conflict Credit for Reconstruction, has rehabilitated during 1998 30 schools in the Karategin Valley, and plans to reconstruct 43 other sites in 1999. UNHCR has restored 5 primary schools in the Kurgan-Tyube zone of Khatlon Region. Save the Children (USA) has rehabilitated 9 schools in the same region. TACIF has partially restored 8 sites. MCI, UNICEF, and ORA International render humanitarian assistance to boarding-schools, providing food, clothes, footwear, and school materials.
The Government and the Ministry of Education will carry out the policy encouraging investments, including both foreign and local investments. However basic, ultimate responsibility for providing basic education for all lies with the state financing, which depends upon the development of the economy.