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Tajikistan’s Education Outcomes to Improve with Support from a New World Bank Project

The $50 million grant will invest in system improvements for better teaching and learning outcomes, modernize schools and enhance capacity to carry our learning assessments.

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved today $50 million in grant financing from the International Development Association (IDA) for the Learning Environment – Foundation of Quality Education in Tajikistan Project, aimed at enhancing the quality of teaching and learning in Tajikistan’s secondary education.

While access to general secondary education is high in Tajikistan, with enrollment at 96.6% in 2019, the learning outcomes remain low. According to the 2020 Human Capital Index, a child in Tajikistan born in 2020 can be expected to attend 10.9 years of schooling by the 18th birthday. However, with a harmonized learning outcome (HLO) score, the learning-adjusted years of schooling drops to 6.8 years, representing a learning gap of 4.1 years.

“Education is a critical investment in human capital and is linked to higher wages and GDP growth,” said Ozan Sevimli, World Bank Country Manager for Tajikistan. “We are very excited about this new investment as it seeks to improve teaching and learning for a young and growing population and supports capacity improvements and learning assessments towards a more accountable, effective, and inclusive education system.”

The first component of the project will support the development and implementation of a new national framework for teaching and learning environments. Among other aspects, it will include the update of the teaching practices and quality assurance mechanisms to ensure its implementation and enforcement and provide capacity building to staff across educational institutions for its implementation.

The second component will invest in rehabilitation and modernization of schools to allow for more classrooms, opening of modern laboratories, provision of ICT equipment and expansion of opportunities for STEM subjects so that Tajikistan’s students have the modern skills essential for the 21st century. Investments will also be made in school ventilation systems, energy efficiency and improvement of toilets and hygiene facilities, especially for girls. These investments will directly benefit 40,000 students and 1200 teachers of the 65 target schools.

The third component will enhance the country’s capacity to carry out national and international assessments, such as PISA (Program for International Student Assessment). These assessments are critical for monitoring of students’ learning outcomes and producing reliable data to inform policies and decision making.

Poor school teaching and learning environments are a major challenge in Tajikistan. Most public schools are in urgent need of improvements ranging from the skills and competencies of teachers to physical learning spaces. Poor learning outcomes are evident starting in the early grades. Only 55% of students in grade 2 can read the benchmark of 40 Tajik words per minute, decreasing to 41% in grade 4, where 80 Tajik words are used as a benchmark. Testing in Russian language produced similar results. Teaching and learning duration is reduced due to multiple shifts, and this negatively affects student learning outcomes. In 2018-2019, 88% of students attended double-shift schools, 5.2% attended triple-shift schools, and the remaining 6.6% attended single-shift schools. On average, one toilet is shared by 339 students. While most schools reported separate sanitation facilities for boys and girls, only 1% of schools had covered bins for disposal of menstrual hygiene waste, while only 2% of schools had water available in girls’ cubicles for menstrual hygiene. Based on global evidence, this is likely impacting girls’ attendance at school, particularly in the higher grades, leading to poorer learning outcomes and increased drop out of girls. Only 3% of schools have separate toilets for students with disabilities.

The project aims to address these challenges.

International evidence supports the role of teaching and learning environments in improved learning outcomes of students. The new project, by working at a higher level with the national framework, at the school level in the actual learning environment, and at the teacher level with training programs will support an integrated approach to improved teaching and learning environments, teaching, and learning practices in Tajikistan.

Currently, the World Bank is financing 24 projects in Tajikistan totaling $1.54 billion. Since 1996, the World Bank has provided over $2.72 billion in IDA grants, highly concessional credits, and trust funds for Tajikistan. The World Bank is committed to continuing its support as the country strives to improve lives and meet the aspirations of its young and growing population.

source: reliefweb