Teaching and Learning Materials in Tajikistan: How Do They Align With Reading Research?

Rebecca Stone

Tajik teacher at chalkboardThe Quality Reading Project (QRP) works to improve reading skills among primary-grade students in Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic through four main activities: (1) in-service teacher training; (2) increased availability of reading materials; (3) community support; and (4) government support. QRP covers 60% of the primary schools in each country.

This report describes a study that reviewed Tajikistan’s teaching and learning materials (TLM) for Grades 1–4. In Tajikistan, the Mother Tongue competencies are one of the core components of the TLM as they lay out what a child is expected to learn. These competencies in turn determine various other aspects of TLMs, such as curriculum, teacher training guides, and assessments. Therefore it is important that the competencies are reflective of the cognitive foundations of how children learn in general, and how they learn to read in Tajik in particular.

Key Findings

Major strides have been made to strengthen the Tajikistan Mother Tongue standards that are better aligned with research in key ways, namely:

  • A clearer match with reading research, in that there is a general, increasing complexity of reading skills through the grades and explicit mention of the five Big Skills
  • A focus on comprehension skills that are in line with the transparent orthography
  • Incorporation of significantly more general evidence-based pedagogical practices for how children learn best (in general, not reading specific), such as child-centered pedagogies, and this was apparent in the classroom as well
  • Several teaching methods and practices outlined in the Mother Tongue competency guides
  • A positive attitude toward the new competencies across all levels of education stakeholders

Next Steps

Key areas still exist where the implementation of these standards may fall short in producing the intended results. Primary among these is that a gap exists between the new competencies and all other TLM, including the textbook and assessment protocols (both summative and formative). Second, issues still remain in the confounding of certain variables (“fluency” and “comprehension” for instance). And, finally, the use of these competencies is only as good the training and continuous support teachers and educators receive on how to implement them.