The Condition of Higher Education in Tajikistan

The Republic of Tajikistan was part of the erstwhile USSR. Today, as an independent nation, the government has formed many policies to give impetus to higher education in the country. After the country broke away from USSR, it went through a period of instability and civil war which saw brain drain. As a result education, industry and research and development suffered. However, now the government has taken steps that ensure equal access, improvement in the quality of education and integration of Tajikistan’s higher education system with the international education system.

Types of Higher Education Facilities

Tajikistan has three types of institutions for higher education. They are categorised as following:

Universities – These are referred to as Donishgoh in the local language and responsible for providing higher education in a wide range of specialisations. Universities also conduct applied and fundamental research. Universities offer specialist, Master’s and Bachelor degrees

Academics – Known as Akademiya, these higher education institutions offer specialisation in a few fields. As a part of the programme, students have to do indulge in several research activities. Academics too offer specialist, Master’s and Bachelor degrees.

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Institutes – In Tajikistan, these are known as Donishkada and offer education in a number of fields. However, institutes are not equipped to offer Master’s, Bachelor or specialist degree.

Use of Technology and Internet in Higher Education

Unlike many of the western European higher education institutions, the ones in Tajikistan are still not fully equipped to use technology and the Internet. While these institutes do have computers and Internet, the connectivity is not always available. Furthermore, most of the technology in higher education institutes is limited to the urban area, in particular the capital Dushanbe, while the rural areas are struggling with limited access to higher education institutes, technology and the Internet.

Measures Taken by Tajikistan Government to Improve Higher Education

A part of the problem is that 93 percent of the country has mountains and this has made it difficult to develop the country’s infrastructure. However, the government has realised the importance of providing high quality education from primary to tertiary levels. Many laws and regulations have been put into place to ensure that higher education in Tajikistan improves and gradually gets at par with the European Union standards. Thanks to the proactive steps taken by the government, today Tajikistan is noticing the following reforms in higher education:

• Integration with international education community, with the country setting up universities in conjunction with Russia
• Setting up distance learning centres for some of the higher education institutions in association with the other CIS countries
• Private and state higher education institutions have been certified, licensed and accredited
• Two higher education institutions have introduced credit-based education
• Setting up of higher vocational education system based on the Russian standards to impart specialist training to students as per international requirements and standards
• Tajikistan has created TARENA, which is an online corporative educational and scientific network to promote the use of computer technology in education. This network connects all the higher education institutions in the capital.
• Introducing skill-based education and training based on the demands by the labour market
• Plans are afoot to join Bologna Process, so that the education system becomes part of the educational zone of European countries.

Opportunities for Improvement

The country still has a problem with electricity, especially during winter. While certain universities and higher education institutions have installed generators to ensure electricity supply during outages, not all universities and school have this provision. So, if Tajikistan wants to ensure that students get access to computer, technology and the Internet as part of their curriculum and research, the electricity supply in the country needs to improve.

Furthermore, not all students can afford higher education due to poverty and high expenses. Merit-based scholarships need to be set up, so that deserving students get a chance to study further and contribute to the development and growth of the country.

Teachers and professors need regular training to enhance their knowledge and get them abreast with the latest methods of teaching. Today, this is not the case due to lack of funding. However, with agreements signed by the government with Russia and other European nations, teachers can look forward to regular training and knowledge enhancement.

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