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Tajikistan Table of Contents



Soviet social policy created a modern education system in Tajikistan where nothing comparable had existed before. However, by the time the republic became independent the quality and availability of education had not reached the Soviet Union-wide average, still less the standards for Western industrial societies. After independence, the education system remained under the control of the national Ministry of Education with full state funding.

Historical Development

By the 1920s, few Tajiks had received a formal education. According to the first Soviet census, in 1926 the literacy rate was 4 percent for Tajik men and 0.1 percent for Tajik women in the territory of present-day Tajikistan and in the Republic of Uzbekistan. During the late 1930s, the Soviet government began to expand the network of state-run schools. There was strong public opposition to this change, especially from Islamic leaders. As a result, some new state schools were burned and some teachers were killed.

Over the ensuing decades, however, the Soviet education system prevailed, although a uniform set of standards was not established in every instance. For the average Tajikistani citizen in the 1980s, the duration, if not necessarily the quality, of the education process was neither the greatest nor the least among Soviet republics. As elsewhere in the Soviet Union, the system was divided into schools for primary, middle (or secondary), and higher education. Middle schools were differentiated as either general or specialized. For the period between 1985 and 1990, an annual average of 86,800 students attended general-education middle schools and an average of 41,500 students attended specialized middle schools. In the academic year 1990-91, Tajikistan reported 68,800 students in institutions of higher education.

Data as of March 1996