Tajikistan, Dushanbe, October 1, 2013 – Today the Minister of Finance of the Republic of Tajikistan Safarali Najmiddinov and the World Bank Country Manager in Tajikistan Marsha Olive signed an agreement to finance the Fourth Global Partnership for Education Fund Grant. The overall goal of this US$16.20 million grant is to support improvements in Tajikistan’s pre-school and general education and to strengthen the capacity of the system in general to sustain reforms in education sector.
The project builds on the success of a series of projects financed since 2006 in Tajikistan from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Fund, formerly known as Education For All Fast Track Initiative Catalytic Fund. The Fourth Global Partnership for Education Fund Grant will address improvements in education sector through four main components: 1) increasing access to affordable and quality early childhood education programs through enhancement of existing and establishment of new early learning institutions; 2) enhancing quality of general education through upgrading educational standards and programs, teacher training, methodological support and provision of teaching and learning materials; 3) improving child-friendly learning environment through financing the construction or rehabilitation of schools and provision of furniture; and 4) capacity strengthening at all levels of education sector to manage the education system through support to on-going reforms in education financing and data collection and analysis, as well as provision of training to pre-school and school directors in financial management and pedagogical leadership.
“This comprehensive project aims to ensure that the children of Tajikistan, especially the most marginalised including girls, ethnic minorities, rural children, and children with disabilities, are afforded the opportunity to achieve their education goals for future development and success,” said Marsha Olive, World Bank Country Manager for Tajikistan. “The World Bank is committed to further supporting educational sector development in Tajikistan in cooperation with other development partners.”
Previous World Bank administered GPE grants have played an important role in the country’s education sector reform. These projects have supported improved physical learning environment for 37,000 students; alleviation of furniture shortages affecting around 100,000 students; publication of 1.7 million textbooks in 27 titles, thus eliminating the shortage of Tajik and ethnic minority language textbooks in major subjects; provision of qualifications training for 4,300 teachers; introduction of per capita financing reforms resulting in increased transparency in the local budgeting process; improved pupil to teacher ratios; and a reduction in the wage bill share at school level with an increase in funds for discretionary use by schools to improve the learning environment and education quality; establishment of an Education Management Information System (EMIS); and improved management and fiduciary capacities within the Ministry of Education.
The World Bank, as the GPE grants administrator in Tajikistan, takes lead in supporting the Ministry of Education to prepare and implement the GPE-funded projects in close partnership with development partners in Tajikistan, such as UNICEF (lead coordination agency in education sector), Aga Khan Foundation, European Commission, GIZ, USAID and Open Society Institute (OSI).
The active portfolio of the World Bank in Tajikistan currently consists of 12 projects with a net commitment of US$205.9 million. The largest share of the portfolio is in agriculture and rural development (40 percent), followed by water and sanitation (15 percent), human development (14 percent), energy (13 percent), the public sector (12 percent), and the private sector (6 percent).