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Foreign agencies allocate 5m-dollar grant to improve Tajik education sector - FOREIGN AGENCIES ALLOCATE 5m-DOLLAR GRANT TO IMPROVE TAJIK EDUCATION SECTOR - 2003-08-22

Saturday, 2003, August 23

The Dushanbe [the Tajik capital] office of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) will realize three projects to improve the educational sphere in Tajikistan, in cooperation with the Aga Khan Fund, Open Society Institute-Assistance Fund [of the Soros Foundation], Save the Children (USA), Save the Children (United Kingdom) and the Zdrav/Plus.
The total amount of the projects is 5m dollars, the director of the PEAKS [Increasing Public Participation in Education and Knowledge Sharing] project of the Academy for Educational Development (USAID-AED), Jeff House [transliterated], told Asia-Plus in an interview. 'These are a Step by Step project and a project on basic education, and also a PEAKS project,' he said. 'All of them are grant programmes, which means they are free of charge.' The leading organization in their implementation is the AED, the Asia-Plus interviewer said.

'The characteristic similarity is that they consist of five components, and the main one is the retraining of teachers,' he said. ''We intend to discuss all issues relating to the direction of activities at a special seminar in the second half of September.'

The other important direction is the mobilization of efforts of the local communities, which have to determine their requirements themselves. 'Meanwhile, it has to be determined what kind of problems communities are able to solve themselves, and with which they will need help from other structures,' House said. The direction of work on improving the education management system is also considered important, along with restoring and rehabilitating schools and also perfecting the learning programmes.

'USAID is interested in these components supplementing each other,' the director of the PEAKS project said. He also said that it is planned to hold a donors' meeting, where they will discuss the practical realization of projects. The Asia-Plus interviewer also stressed the importance of the Tajik Education Ministry's involvement in the implementation of projects.

Currently, projects are being implemented in the Kulob and Vose districts ([southern] Khatlon [Region]), Vahdat, Nurobod and Fayzobod districts [central Tajikistan], as well as Roh-i Ohan District of Dushanbe city, and in the future [projects will be implemented] in the Ghozimalik, Kolkhozobod and Moskva districts (Khatlon) and Ghonchi District ([northern] Soghd [Region]).

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