Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
07DUSHANBE226
2007-02-09 12:57:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Dushanbe
Cable title:  

NO NEWS FLASH: SCHOOLS IN PANJ, TAJIKISTAN NEED HELP

Tags:  PGOV PREL EAID ECON EAGR TI 
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VZCZCXRO3127
RR RUEHLN RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHDBU #0226 0401257
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 091257Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9602
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 1977
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 2019
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 1996
RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE 1201
UNCLAS DUSHANBE 000226 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL EAID ECON EAGR TI
SUBJECT: NO NEWS FLASH: SCHOOLS IN PANJ, TAJIKISTAN NEED HELP


UNCLAS DUSHANBE 000226

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL EAID ECON EAGR TI
SUBJECT: NO NEWS FLASH: SCHOOLS IN PANJ, TAJIKISTAN NEED HELP



1. Summary: In Panj district in southern Tajikistan, the
educational system fails to meet the basic needs of a poor rural
community. A February 8 visit to a secondary school in the
district capital and a primary school in a rural village
demonstrated that Panj students still need better teachers,
books and facilities to become productive members of
Tajikistan's economy. Panj represents yet another place where a
Peace Corps presence could have a meaningful impact. End
Summary.


2. At the District Lyceum, cheerful students warmly greeted
visiting EmbOffs but struggled to answer simple questions in
English or Russian classes. The English teacher looked puzzled
and did not understand short questions about his name and his
students. The 8th form students were working from the 6th form
books, and only a handful felt confident enough to say their
names and their favorite subject in school. Working from shared
primers, most students seemed to be memorizing rote English
phrases. In the Russian classroom, most students chose to
answer their Tajik teacher in Tajiki.


3. Students in the Lyceum's government-provided computer lab
worked diligently, typing English phrases into six computers.
Although Panj has no internet connection, the government-funded
computers provided students with basic exposure to Windows and
Microsoft Word. (Note: The school director referred to the
computers as a "gift from the President's fund," despite the
fact that there is no President's fund, just taxpayer money from
the budget. End Note.)


4. In contrast to the computer center at the Lyceum, the
primary school in Kuldimon "jamoat" (subdistrict) founded in
1940 had mud floors, cracked walls and no wiring for
electricity. At 11 in the morning, the school rooms were dim,
lit only by sunlight through small windows. Young students
copied passages from their Tajik textbooks into notebooks, but
had difficulty reading them out loud, perhaps because they could
barely see in the poor light. The teachers noted they had a
limited ability to accommodate the handful of Uzbek students,
who were separated in a small classroom of mixed ages.


5. Comment: Panj is another good example of how a Peace Corps
English teacher could make an extraordinary difference in a
system with limited resources. A lack of English language
skills already prevents many Tajiks from taking advantage of
education and professional exchanges, but if the Panj Lyceum is
any indication, Tajik students from rural areas are also losing
their ability to speak Russian, the region's lingua franca. The
exodus of ethnic Russians during the Civil War means most Tajik
students no longer learn from native speakers. Post's reduced
educational assistance budget is committed to pilot programs in
other districts, and its program implementers will unlikely be
able to expand its programs to cover the Panj region in the near
future. End Comment.

JACOBSON