Access to education

UNICEF works to ensure all children are enrolled in schools on time, particularly the most marginalized children.

girl in the school

The challenge

In Tajikistan, the pre-school net enrolment rate for children aged 3-6 years is the lowest in the region: only 11 per cent enrolled in 2014. More than three in five children under the age of two receive little stimulation at home; four in five do not have books to read 

Children with disabilities are the most marginalized group in the education system. In 2013, only 19 per cent of children with disabilities aged 7-18 years attended mainstream schools.

According to the latest information from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 1.9 per cent of primary school aged children (7-10 years old) and, 5.6 per cent of lower secondary aged children (11-15 years old) were out of school; in lower secondary the figure was 9.1 per cent for girls, compared to 2.4 per cent of boys. 

Despite the fact that secondary education is free, coverage rates for students aged 15-16 (Grades 10-11) drop dramatically once enrolment is no longer mandatory. More girls are out of school than boys: only 64 per cent of girls transition from lower to upper secondary, as opposed to 86 per cent of boys. This has consequences for girls’ readiness for adult life and its demands. Investing in girls’ education is crucial for societal development and is the cornerstone for their empowerment and strengthening their participatory role in society.

Education for every child

UNICEF is supporting the Ministry of Education and Science to improve access to education, in particular for marginalized children such as preschool-aged children living in rural areas, children with disabilities, children from ethnic minority groups and girls, and is conducting evidence-based advocacy on access to preschool, primary and secondary education. 

UNICEF is collaborating with various stakeholders to ensure that more girls and boys, including the most marginalized, benefit from increased national, sub-national and community capacity to access and complete preschool and basic education, and to transition to further education.

The Government has adopted and replicated a UNICEF-developed model for alternative early childhood education. This has increased the preschool education enrolment rate by 5 percentage points since 2010. The aim is to double enrolment and reach 25 per cent of children aged 3-6 by 2020. 

UNICEF is supporting the Ministry of Education and Science to expand and improve the quality of alternative early childhood education programmes, especially for the most marginalized boys and girls, including children with disabilities and children from rural areas. It will advocate leveraging resources from government institutions, donors and partners to expand early childhood education. 

UNICEF monitors and is continuing to improve data for pre-primary education. It works with key duty bearers to develop capacity to promote and provide alternative early learning opportunities, including in the home environment, while monitoring and promoting their equity focus.  

UNICEF is supporting the Ministry of Education and Science to build the capacities of schools and district-level authorities to create child-friendly, gender-sensitive, and inclusive educational facilities. It is continuing to work with the authorities to identify out-of-school children and children at risk of dropping out, and to facilitate appropriate measures to prevent absenteeism with educational authorities and parents. This includes scaling up piloted dropout prevention and response interventions, including the introduction of an in-service teacher-training course on the Early Warning System.

UNICEF is developing accelerated learning solutions for out-of-school children and adolescents and those at risk of dropping out, in order to enable them to re-enter mainstream education 

UNICEF supports communication campaigns for social change within schools and communities to reach wider society and policymakers, to promote the rights of children with disabilities to an inclusive educational environment, and to address social norms that hinder their full development. It is addressing social norms that undermine the enrolment of children with disabilities and the transition of girls to non-compulsory education grades.