DUSHANBE, March 1, 2016 – A launch ceremony for the Tajikistan Higher Education Project took place today in Dushanbe and included representatives of the Executive Office of the President of Tajikistan, Ministry of Education and Science, Parliament, international development community, civil society, higher education institutions, and the World Bank. The goal of the project, financed from the International Development Association for the amount of US$15 million, is to develop mechanisms that improve and monitor the quality and labor-market relevance of higher education in the country.
“This is the first project in the higher education sector implemented in cooperation with a development partner in Tajikistan,” said Rahmatullo Mirboboev, First Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Tajikistan. “We hope that through the project, we will be able to implement system level and institutional level reforms, which will further improve labor-market relevance of higher education and improve quality control systems.”
“The World Bank is pleased to finance this project aimed at supporting young people, who are one of Tajikistan’s unique development assets, as they make up a very significant part of the country’s population” said Patricia Veevers-Carter, World Bank Country Manager for Tajikistan. “The project will help the higher education system in Tajikistan provide youth with what young people around the world strive for – a quality education that includes the knowledge and skills that can help them to find better jobs.”
To support quality and labor-market relevance improvements across the entire system of higher education, the project will finance a) the development of an external quality assurance system; b) the redesign of state-defined academic standards for select disciplines that are important to Tajikistan’s evolving economy; and c) an assessment of the financing structure for higher education to determine how it could better support key policy objectives (e.g., equity in access to higher education for students from less wealthy families).
At the institutional level, competitive grants programs will enable higher education institutions to design and implement initiatives aimed at improving the quality and labor-market relevance of their offerings. While the institutions are encouraged to be creative, examples of potential activities include redesigning curriculum, providing professional development for teachers, enhancing career services for students, or refurbishing laboratories. A portion of these grants will also help strengthen mechanisms that support young women in getting higher education and find better jobs. The programs will also fund the development and delivery of short-term courses for job-seekers, including returning migrants and secondary education graduates.
As part of the launch, the World Bank supported a national youth contest on the impact of higher education on young people in Tajikistan. The nine best participants, chosen from over 100 young people, who submitted their essays, were awarded prizes at the launch ceremony.
Launch ceremonies will also take place in Kurghan Tube on March 2 and in Khujand on March 4.
The World Bank is Tajikistan’s long-standing partner in education sector development. In collaboration with other development partners, the Bank has supported such key reforms, as per-capita financing in general education and introduction of the Unified University Entrance Examination in 2014.
The World Bank’s active portfolio in Tajikistan includes 23 projects with a net commitment of US$ 382.27 million (including regional projects) 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.