Country Listing

Tajikistan Table of Contents


Education in the 1980s and 1990s

Prior to 1991, the level of educational attainment in the adult Tajikistani population was below the average for Soviet republics. Of the population over age twenty-five in 1989, some 16 percent had only primary schooling, 21 percent had incomplete secondary schooling, and 55 percent had completed a secondary education. Those statistics placed Tajikistan ninth among the fifteen Soviet republics. Some 7.5 percent of inhabitants had graduated from an institution of higher education, placing Tajikistan last among Soviet republics in that category, and another 1.4 percent had acquired some higher education but not a degree.

In secondary education, 427 out of 1,000 Tajikistanis graduated from a nonspecialized middle school and another 211 out of 1,000 went through several grades of such schools without graduating. An additional 110 out of 1,000 had attended a specialized middle school. Despite the nominal emphasis placed by the Soviet system on science and mathematics, the quality of education in those subjects was rated as poor in the last decades of the Soviet period.

The languages of instruction in the state system were Tajik, Uzbek, Kyrgyz, and Russian. When Tajik became the state language in 1989, schools using Russian as the primary language of instruction began teaching Tajik as a second language from the first through the eleventh grades. After independence, school curricula included more Tajik language and literature study, including classical Persian literature. However, few textbooks were available in Tajik; by the end of the 1980s, only 10 to 25 percent of students attending Tajik-language schools had textbooks or other teaching materials in their own language.

By the late Soviet era, education in Tajikistan also suffered from infrastructure problems. School buildings were in poor repair. The construction industry, an area of particular weakness in the republic's economy, produced only a small fraction of the new school and preschool facilities it was assigned to complete each year. As a result, schools sometimes ran on triple shifts.

Data as of March 1996