Challenges to education in Tajikistan: the need for research-based solutions
This work was published before the author (Sarfaroz Niyozov) joined Aga Khan University.
Education in Tajikistan today is acknowledged by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Tajikistan and by international agencies as facing many challenges. Infrastructure and materials need replacement or repair; curriculum needs to be adapted to changing conditions; professional development for teachers is required, while means to retain experienced teachers and attract new ones need to be found. At the same time, children's' meaningful access to education has been threatened by various factors that reduce their attendance and participation in education, keeping some youth out of school altogether. This chapter argues that research in education in Tajikistan and the development of research capacity throughout the educational system is one of the prerequisites for improving the education of youth in Tajikistan. The chapter outlines Soviet educational research traditions and the systematic centralization of curriculum development and research during Soviet times outside the republic and the resultant local underdevelopment of curriculum development and educational research capacity on independence. Educators in Tajikistan today are influenced by inherited and new ideas on curriculum, pedagogy, teacher training, textbooks and assessment, and analyzes documents issued by the Ministry of Education and the World Bank to identify current discourses on the education system's needs. Nevertheless, there is still insufficient knowledge about the current state of education in Tajikistan, and a lack of information about the attitudes of all stakeholders towards educational change. The chapter cites recent field work on the lives and work of teachers in the field as an example of how practitioners' experience is both in accord and discord with views of both the Ministry of Education and external educational development agencies, and suggests that effective long-term development of education in Tajikistan needs more grounding in qualitative and quantitative research, and a greater development of local research capacity at all levels of the educational system.