Dushanbe, Tajikistan, August 26, 2015 – The findings of the recent World Bank analysis of the barriers to access and complete higher education in Tajikistan were discussed today in Dushanbe with government officials, civil society organizations, independent experts, and development partners. The report presented policy recommendations on how to improve students’ opportunities to access and complete higher education, building on the recent reform of Unified Entrance Examination (UEE) for university admissions launched in Tajikistan in July 2014.
“The World Bank, jointly with other development partners supported the Government of Tajikistan in adopting the new University Entrance Examination, aiming to improve access, transparency and fairness of admission to universities,” said Patricia Veevers-Carter, World Bank Country Manager for Tajikistan. “The study presented today looks at constraints that young people face in accessing and completing higher education, and how to alleviate those constraints so that education outcomes are improved.”
The report was prepared through focus group discussions and interviews with a broad group of users of the education system: parents, out-of-school youth, university and high school students, as well as administration of universities and schools. It also draws information from previous World Bank analysis and data of the education sector.
According to the report, the barriers to accessing and completing higher education are largely linked to students’ geographical location, gender and socio-economic background. For example, the proportion of students enrolled in higher education from the most well-off households is eight times higher than from the poorest families. Girls usually make up less than 30 percent of students enrolled in universities. Parents, out-of-school youth and students cited traditional gender norms and financial constraints as the main barriers to pursuing education after the ninth grade. In Tajikistan students today are twice as likely to stop their studies at the end of the ninth grade, which is the end of mandatory education, as their older counterparts.
The report concludes that the public support of a successful UEE reform creates an important window of opportunity to take further action to improve educational quality and inclusion in Tajikistan. It outlines recommendations for each step in the higher-education process according to the main barriers outlined in the report. Policies can be implemented to address barriers in high school, in university admissions and during university education. The recommendations also include increased monitoring and evaluation to assess the long-term impact of UEE reform.
The World Bank’s active portfolio in Tajikistan includes 26 projects (including regional projects) with a net commitment of US$406.2 million that aim to support economic growth through private sector development, while investing in better public services for people, such as education, health, municipal services and social protection. The World Bank Group is committed to continue supporting Tajikistan as it strives to improve the lives of its people and meet the aspirations of its young and growing population.