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Basic country data
Total population: 7,987,400 (Last available year: 2013, TAJSTAT)
Young dependency ratio: 58.90 % (Last available year: 2013, World Bank)
Total employment rate (15-75): 44.3 %
Total unemployment rate (15-75): 11.5 %
Youth unemployment rate (15-24): 16.7 %
(Last available year: 2009, TAJSTAT (2009), Labour Market Situation in the Republic of Tajikistan, Dushanbe. ETF calculation. Labour migrants are not included).

Tajikistan faces major economic challenges, together with consequences of the global financial and economic crisis. There is high dependence on remittances especially from nationals working in Russia. These have fallen recently whilst returnees seeking work have risen. There are limited institutional capabilities to adapt the workforce to the needs of the labour market.
Limited institutional capacity creates a poor quality workforce. After completing primary and secondary education an average of 85,000 to 90,000 young people enter the labour market each year without vocational training. As a result, approximately 80% of those officially registered as unemployed with the employment services are unskilled. Limited mobility and access to higher professional education by poorer sections of society have increased the social significance of vocational education and training (VET). The situation requires the implementation of substantial reforms to strengthen the economic and social contributions of the VET system.

VET and employment policy progress since 2012
New Law on Training Specialists Based on Labour Market Needs (August 2012) is well-timed and recognises the current state of the VET system bringing it more into line with labour market and employment needs for the first time. This law establishes the legal basis for a permanent mechanism that matches the demand for professional skills with supply. The implementation of this mechanism is currently at an early stage. The Institute of Labour Migration and Employment has developed the National Job Classification in 2013 and is expected to extend the analysis of labour market trends.

The Ministry of Labour has recently drafted a Law on Adult Education to strengthen the rapidly growing system of adult education. Some 28 Adult training institutes provide short courses mainly for unemployed and for potential migrants. In 2013, the responsibility for initial VET was transferred to the Ministry of Labour. In 2014, a Methodological Centre was established to support initial VET institutions and staff.

The new version of the Law on Education (July 2013) establishes standards for quality assurance and quality management.  However, a single national procedure for evaluating the quality of education and implementing mechanisms for monitoring, internal, and external assessment have not yet been developed. Quality assurance measurements are currently very fragmented and differ between regions.

Country priorities for VET and employment reforms
The priorities identified in the Torino Process 2014 are:

  • Social partnership  (education business cooperation in VET provision): Developing a medium-term action plan for the implementation of the new Law on Social Partnership;
  • Quality assurance: Developing quality indicators and mechanisms for monitoring and assessing the quality of education and training;
  • Continuous Professional Development of VET staff at different levels: Developing VET school managers, teachers and trainers with a particular focus on VET quality development, quality management, quality assessment and modern pedagogic methodologies.

ETF interventions
The ETF addresses the second priority of Quality Assurance by supporting VET school directors to introduce quality management and assurance mechanisms at school level. Policy learning actions will feed into policy discussions and recommendations for a national Quality Assurance policy.

Under the regional VET school development action, a survey will be made of the demand and supply for Continuous Professional Development (CPD). Findings will be used to develop recommendations for strengthening a demand-oriented approach of CPD programmes.

Support to the EU Delegation
The Education/VET (€ 75M) priority of the EU Multi-annual Indicative Programme focuses on strengthening planning and budgeting processes and improving the quality of secondary general education and VET. ETF has provided inputs to the EU Delegation for the identification of the first € 15M EU project on education and VET reforms, focussing on teacher training. The project will start in 2015 and ETF will provide inputs to the monitoring of the project.

EU projects Period Budget ETF role

Quality Education Support Programme I

2015-2017 € 15M Support Specification, Implementation & Monitoring


Key donors in VET
Unicef chairs the education working group of the Donor Coordination Council (DCC), in which ETF participates.

  • GIZ: Supporting Reform of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training System in Tajikistan (2008-2016) ETF cooperates with GIZ in the area of quality management and professionalization of VET staff
  • ADB: under approval $ 20M for 2016:  Curriculum, Certification, Some reconstruction, Teacher Training
  • DVV International: youth education in GBAO incl. business training, civil education, entrepreneurial learning
  • AKF/AKDN: VET courses at school for professional education and the University of Central Asia.
  • G20/ILO: development / implementation of simulation tool for VET school management.
  • ECHO: Activities based around Disaster Prevention and Recovery could involve VET schools in rural areas.
  • UKAID/DFID: Operational Plan 2011-2015 – Governance and Security; Wealth Creation. Works through donor partners. Interventions: Industrial sectors: Extraction, Mining; Agriculture; Small Businesses [all involving training components and potentially VET Schools].

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