Results of the Girls Education Project showcased in Dushanbe
DUSHANBE, Tajikistan, 5 July 2011 – A national round table on girls’ education was held in Dushanbe today to showcase results of the Girls Education Project, which has been implemented since 2006 jointly by the Ministry of Education and UNICEF Country Office in Tajikistan. The project was handed over to education departments in seven districts, including Bobojon Ghafurov, Isfara, Istaravshan, Kulob, Panj, Panjakent, and Rasht.
“The Government of Tajikistan pays particular attention to ensuring that all boys and girls in the country complete all grades of secondary education,” said Tojinisso Mahmadova, Deputy Minister of Education. “Starting from school year 2011-2012, the Girls Education Project will be taken over by district education departments, which will implement it directly in about 100 schools. This change will help make the initiative sustainable and fully incorporated in the existing education system.”
“It is critical that girls complete a full course of learning in school,” added Hongwei Gao, UNICEF Country Representative in Tajikistan. “Girls with access to education not only improve their own lives but also bring change to their families, economies, and societies. Providing girls with a quality education is a highly effective tool to address poverty and fight for equity.”
Seventy eight schools across five districts in Tajikistan have benefited from the Girls Education Project so far. A 2009 evaluation of the project by UNICEF has indicated that the project resulted in regular attendance rate rising from about 82 per cent in the 2006-2007 school year to almost 88 per cent in the 2007-2008 year in these schools. The dropout rate fell from 6.6 per cent to 5.6 per cent during the same period.
The project was built on the UNICEF’s Child-Friendly School model, which seeks to ensure that schools operate in the best interests of the child. It owes part of its success to strong partnerships built between schools, parents, and communities, which have worked together to ensure that boys and girls enroll in school, attend regularly and complete a full course of learning. Students in the participating schools actively contributed to the effort through children’s clubs, which have played a major role in developing school improvement plans and monitoring attendance.
The school improvement plans have been developed to compensate for the specific shortcomings of the participating schools that might make it difficult for children, particularly girls, to attend regularly and complete school education. Based on these plans, each school could access up to 5,000 US dollars per year to finance activities, ranging from innovative extra-curricular activities to minor repairs. Some 20,000 children have benefited from improved school libraries, engagement in children’s clubs and special sessions for girls who were at risk of dropping out. Besides, the participating schools received about 61,000 books and 280 sets of furniture for their libraries, and 4,000 sets of school furniture through the project.
Although the Girls Education Project has been handed over to local education departments, UNICEF will continue supporting the initiative by assisting participating schools in identifying children which do not attend school or have dropped out. UNICEF will also support these schools through thematic grants, which will enable the schools to initiate extracurricular activities and implement small projects to retain children’s interest in attending school.
For more information, please contact:
Ministry of Education
Tel.: +992 (37) 2232046
UNICEF Tajikistan Communication Officer
Tel.: +992 (918) 310057