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Program Overview


Children in Tajikistan almost all enroll in school and rarely leave during the primary years (grades 1 to 9). Net enrollment rates in 2008 were 95 percent for girls and 99 percent for boys in this age group.  According to Tajikistan’s Education Management Information System (EMIS) for 2009-10, primary dropout rates are very low (under five percent) until ninth grade.

NERs for secondary school (grades 10 and 11) are 77 percent for girls and 88 percent for boys. Although these enrollment rates are relatively high for secondary schools in developing countries, it is important to note that the rate for girls was considerable lower than that for boys. Thus, most children in Tajikistan do enroll, and schools do experience some dropout, which occurs largely during the years of secondary school when girls are more likely to drop out than boys.

SDPP will focus its efforts at reducing dropout among grade 9 students, given their relatively higher dropout rates and the fact that this is the final year of compulsory education in Tajikistan. The project will target its work in Khatlon Oblast region in the districts of Baljuvon, Temurmalik (Sovet), Vose, Khovaling, and Dangara. According to the EMIS, these districts are among the fifteen districts in the country with the highest grade 9 dropout rates.

Creative Associates’ Tajikistan office will be responsible for implementing SDPP in Tajikistan.

Dropout Trends

Analysis of Tajikistan’s Education Management Information System data shows that:

  • Dropout soars in grade 9—the terminal grade of compulsory education—the between-grade dropout rate is 23% (22% males; 24% females) while the in-grade dropout is 11% for both males and females.
  • The total dropout rate notably falls in Grade 10 and 11, but the negligible gender gap widens notably in grade 10.
  • There is a steady but modest increase in dropout from grade 1 through grade 8.

Dropout Rate by Grade: 2009/10

Dropout in Context

A situational analysis was conducted in three high-dropout districts to identify the factors and conditions associated with dropout, develop a profile of a child at risk of dropping out, and inform intervention selection and design. The top reasons of student dropout among 9th grade students in the target districts—cited by at-risk students, dropouts, and their parents/guardians— are both economic and academic.

Economic reasons are the top two reasons cited:

  • More than 40% of the at-risk students, dropouts, and dropouts’ parent/guardians cited the need to supplement income through household chores/domestic work. About 25% of respondents cited need to work to earn money.
  • Over half (56-59%) child respondents and 70-76% parent respondents cited school-related expenses.

Students also drop out of school for academic reasons:

  • About 15% of the child respondents cite poor academic performance.
  • 12% of at-risk students and 14% of dropouts said they were unable to keep up with their lessons.
  • 10% of at-risk students and dropouts experience poor school quality, 13% of dropouts discouraged by teachers
  • Chronic absenteeism is a major contributor to dropout.  The majority of at-risk students (52%) and dropouts (53%) have missed more than 15 consecutive days of school; about  20% miss 5+ days a month. 34%-36% of the parents/guardians reported they were never or infrequently aware of their child’s attendance.
  • Negative behavior exists: About 18% of child respondents say they have broken school rules; 19% of at-risk students and nearly 30% of dropout children have gotten in trouble at school.

Other factors cited for dropout were: next grade/school being too far away and asked to leave by school. Factors not frequently cited: marriage, pregnancy, conflict, and migration.

Top Reasons of Dropout by Students, Dropouts, Parents/Guardians Top Reasons of Dropout by School Personnel, Local Education
Officer (LEO), Community

The Interventions

In agreement with the Ministry of Education, SDPP will target grade 9 in five districts—Baljuvon, Danghara, Kovaling, Vose, and Temurmalik. Key education stakeholders attended a design workshop to develop ideas for dropout mitigation through a consultative process. Two priority interventions—an Early Warning System and an After-School Tutoring/Enrichment program were developed, consistent with the government’s strategic sector plan and replicability requirements. Implementation is planned to start in September 2012.

Early Warning System (to reduce student absenteeism and support at-risk students in school)

  • Use existing school level data on attendance, performance, behavior etc. to identify students at-risk of dropping out of school
  • Enhance the capacity of schools to address the needs of at-risk students
  • Strengthen the partnership between school personnel and the parents/guardians of at-risk students

After School Tutoring/Enrichment Program (to provide academic support and motivate attendance)

  • Offer extra-curricular support and enrichment activities to at-risk pupils (identified through the EWS)
  • Engage tutors in using wide range of student-centered, active/hands-on, cooperative learning instructional practices

Impact Assessment

Intervention impact on dropout will be assessed using randomized control trials. Outcome measures include in- and between-grade dropout, grade completion, promotion, attendance, and performance. Changes in student, teacher, and parental knowledge, attitudes and practices for dropout prevention will also be measured. Data will be collected and analyzed at baseline, mid-term, and end-line.

A sample of 165 schools was selected (based on an anticipated dropout reduction of 7 percentage points). Only schools that have target grades, are not subject to high migration, have minimum number of students and agree to participate in SDPP were included in the sample.

Schools were randomly assigned to treatment and control groups:  82 schools will receive the intervention while 83 schools will not receive the intervention and serve as the control group.

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