Tajikistan's Education Deficit
Tajikistan is desperately short of graduates, particularly in engineering and other applied sciences, because so many prefer to go abroad in search of work.
Nuriddin Qarshiboev, head of the National Independent Media Association, says state policy needs to change so as to provide more incentives for graduates to stay.
“I believe that as long as the government doesn’t put a value on highly-qualified, education personnel, this systemic problem is unlikely to be resolved,” he told IWPR. “I know many young people who are very well qualified but who, because they can’t get decent, properly paid jobs, are forced to leave the country, or else do work that isn’t what they trained for.”
Many prospective students apply for university places in the West or in Russia. Few return to apply their skills in Tajikistan.
“We’d like them to return, but only between 25 and 35 per cent do so. The rest remain in Russia, carry on studying, or emigrate to Europe,” said Samariddin Afghanov, director of the Centre for International Programmes based in Dushanbe.
The only exception is an group of around 80 a year who get government grants and are contractually obliged to repay them by working five years in their own country.
Part of the impetus to study abroad comes from the perception that higher education in Tajikistan is second-best. Most commentators agree that school, technical college and university education is in urgent need of reform.
Analyst Shokirjon Hakimov says the 30-plus universities and colleges that now operate in the country should be reduced in number, with specialisations concentrated in particular department.
Shahodat Saibnazarova is IWPR Radio Editor in Tajikistan.
The audio programme went out in Russian and Tajik on national radio stations in Tajikistan, as part of IWPR project work funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
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