With a fast-growing population, teacher shortage and an outdated curriculum, Tajikistan is confronting an educational crisis that, if not quickly addressed, could leave an entire generation of Tajiks ill-prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st century, experts say.
Almost 35 percent of Tajiks are under age 15, according to US government statistics. In primary schools, classrooms of 40 or 50 students per teacher are not uncommon. In some, classes run only 2.5 hours a day because students attend in two or three shifts.
On the surface, an acute teacher shortage appears the primary problem. With salaries topping out at a paltry $52 a month, few qualified Tajiks are opting to become teachers. "There are no incentives for young teachers and for teachers overall. Teachers' salaries are low and in the villages where they are sent the conditions are not the best," Bubuhafiza Majidova, Head of the Preschool and School Faculty at the Pedagogical University in Dushanbe, told EurasiaNet.
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