Mirzoeva Nozanin of TUESWRT's international department is holding Go Public! campaign material
Mirzoeva Nozanin of TUESWRT's international department is holding Go Public! campaign material

Empowering education in Tajikistan: Unionists organise for robust public funding

published 7 May 2024 updated 21 May 2024

Top education unionists in Tajikistan vocalized a strong appeal for enhanced public investment in education, aligning with the global "Go Public! Fund Education" campaign by Education International (EI).

The Trade Union of Education and Science Workers of the Republic of Tajikistan (TUESWRT) organized a seminar from April 29th to May 1st, 2024, in Dushanbe to harness and promote this international initiative. Their objectives are clear: to elevate the understanding and engagement of union leaders in the campaign, advocate for teachers and education support personnel’s interests, and to push for better working conditions and competitive wages.

The urgency of funding education

Rebeca Logan, EI’s Director for Campaigns and Communication, underscored the urgency of the campaign during her address at the seminar session. “We are calling on governments to fully fund public education systems and to invest in the educators who are fundamental to ensuring the right to education," Logan said. “Now is the time.”

Participants at the seminar discussed the importance of integrating the campaign with national priorities and aligning it with the realities of Tajikistan.

The campaign argues that funding public education systems improves pay and working conditions and empowers teachers and education support personnel to stay and thrive in the profession they love. It inspires a new generation to join the professions the world desperately needs. 

The Go Public! Fund Education campaign contends that there is sufficient funding for sustainable investment in education and in educators to achieve quality education for all. 

Confronting local challenges

In Tajikistan, adapting these global initiatives to the local context presents unique challenges. The country grapples with a high birth rate and corresponding demographic pressures, which complicate budget allocations.

Though Tajikistan has a law prohibiting the privatization of public education, there are attempts by private actors to introduce new initiatives that undermine the public system.

Leveraging networks and taking action

During the seminar, Logan also presented the recommendations from the United Nations High-Level Panel on the Teaching Profession which emphasize competitive teacher salaries, manageable workloads, and a secure, permanent teaching workforce as essential steps toward elevating the status of the teaching profession.

Logan called for proactive steps towards adapting the U.N. recommendations to the Tajik context and urged participants to utilize the toolkit developed by EI, "Activating the Recommendations of the UN High-Level Panel on the Teaching Profession,” to navigate and implement these guidelines effectively.

Her closing remarks encapsulated the collective sentiment: "You are at the heart of education; you are at the heart of what makes a difference for students every day. We are part of a movement; we believe that education is a human right and a public good. This is why we resist privatization for those who want to make money out of our children. Together, we build our future.”

Participants agreed that by resisting privatization and fostering a well-funded, well-resourced educational system, Tajikistan is taking critical steps toward ensuring that its educational system is both sustainable and equitable.