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Until 1991, Tajikistan was part of the former USSR. In Soviet times, the investment in social structures allowed Tajikistan to reach a high level of development within the education system. Up until the beginning of the 1990s, literacy among the adult population (99 percent according to the 1989 census) and well-educated labor force were maintained: 77 percent had a secondary education and above. The educational institutions at all levels were accessible to the majority of the population.

Following independence in 1991, Tajikistan faced a series of crises. Separation from the Soviet Union caused an immediate economic collapse. Noninclusion in the ruble zone caused a cash crisis which was exacerbated when Russia delayed payments on shipments of cotton because of Tajik debts to Russia. A civil war in 1991-1993 resulted in significant loss of life and property and left close to 500,000 people homeless and set back children's education.

As of 2000, Tajikistan ranked among the 20 poorest nations of the world. With an average per capita annual income of some US$130, about 85 percent of Tajiks live below the poverty line.

Owing largely to its impoverished state, education has severely deteriorated in Tajikistan. Schools are physically falling apart and are often unable to supply students with quality equipment and supplies, there is a critical teacher shortage, curricular reform is lacking, and students are often faced with a choice between going to school or working to help support their families. It is hoped that recent international aid will allow the country to rehabilitate schools and curricula and recruit more teachers, along with involvement by parents, students, and their communities.

Quality education is critical for enabling people to participate actively in the economic and political process of development. It is also crucial for objectives of economic development. Education is the one of the keys to a higher standard of living and is vital for the future of Tajikistan.


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—Virginia Davis Nordin

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Education - Free Encyclopedia Search EngineGlobal Education ReferenceTajikistan - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education