The Tajikistan – UK Education and Cooperation Discussion webinar was held virtually in November and included speakers from UK universities and Tajikistan’s diplomatic mission.
“The main target for us is to attract more Western educational and science institutions to teach in Tajikistan”
Delegates heard that institutions in the Central Asian country are keen to establish partnerships with UK universities, and that there is also a “huge demand” for English language training.
“The main target for us is to attract more Western educational and science institutions to teach in Tajikistan,” Masud Khalifazoda, ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary at the Tajikistan Embassy to the UK, said.
Khalifazoda explained that he has been actively visiting UK universities to establish cooperation.
These visits are being undertaken “to inform them about the educational policy of the government of Tajikistan, and to invite those institutions to Tajikistan in order to establish cooperation and partnership with universities of Tajikistan to establish exchange and training programs and to try to open a branch of the UK universities”, he said.
Khalifazoda added that a delegation from the University of Portsmouth were supposed to visit Tajikistan earlier this year but the trip was cancelled because of the pandemic.
This meeting would have involved the university meeting with the minister of education and leading universities, but also the private and the business sectors.
“Part of our strategy is to develop our global reach across the world, and Central Asia in particular is one of those areas that we’ve had in the past, very little engagement with, either for cultural reasons, historical reasons,” Chris Chang, pro vice-chancellor (Global Engagement and Education Partnerships) at the University of Portsmouth told delegates.
“[I’m] confident that the time has now come for us to look at Central Asia, particularly countries like Tajikistan, to see what the opportunities that we can work with,” he added.
Khalifazoda told delegates that many Tajik students want to study for a certain period in their home university and then they progress to finish their education abroad.
“It’s very important to say some words about English training courses in Tajikistan.
“English is the language of politics, law and economics, entertainment, music, business and art. This is very well understood in Tajikistan. That’s why the president said that each of our citizens should try to learn English.”
For this reason, he said there is “huge demand” for learning English in the country and the government is ready to provide the necessary infrastructure to establish more English training courses.