A Waldorf School in Tajikistan
Tajikistan: The Waldorf School is located in the immediate vicinity of Chudjand and was founded by Rano Achunowa in 2002. The kindergarten, the nursery and the school add up to a total of 300 children. The work of the Waldorf pedagogic initiative is highly respected and therefore the parents recently spoke up for the survival of the school on a political level. Unfortunately they could not change that public authorities claimed the school building and forced the initiative to move.
Wine, tobacco, rice, chili and large fruit plantations surround the valley of Chudjand. The city itself is clearly marked by entrances with oriental ornaments at houses and mosques. Interestingly the main population of Tajikistan is linguistically and ethnically rather related to the Persian and not to the Turkic peoples, as for example in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. The educational system of Tajikistan raises many questions. The country is known as one of the few in which the younger generation is less educated than the older and also the purchase of exams is still on the agenda. An additional problem is the prevailing teacher flight. Add to this the poor payment and the poor condition of the school buildings and it becomes clear why the teaching profession in the country is not particularly attractive.
All the more evident is the difference to the Waldorf School. Here, children do not wear school uniforms and at the end of classes they remain in school. The teaching staff loves to dedicate themselves to their students and therefore they are planning a collective project for the upcoming holidays.
Another difficulty is the language situation in Tajikistan: The official language is Tajik, whereas Russian is the country’s lingua franca. However, the state and the parents require their children to be able to speak both languages. Therefore, Tajik and Russian are used as language of instruction at Khudjand Waldorf School and English and German are being taught as foreign languages.
One of the objectives pursued by the school is the expansion of the classes up to twelfth grade. Although a regular school period of just eleven years is mandatory in Tajikistan, the advantage of a school with twelve classes would be the possibility to incorporate practical training opportunities so that the students could quickly complete their apprenticeship after twelfth grade through further training.
In spring 2009, an efficiency control by the Tadjik state successfully documented the quality of the school and its students. The many government interventions that the school had to submit to, caused the teachers and parents, to consider again and again whether a continuation of the work as an independent community school would be more desirable. Currently the recently relocated school and the responsible authority have established better relations, and therefore considerations of privatization have lost their relevance for now.