The Government of Tajikistan and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have signed a $40 million grant to help strengthen science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in secondary education, including developing climate change awareness and promoting girls’ participation in STEM studies.

The ADB Tajikistan Resident Mission (TJRM) says Tajikistan Minister of Finance Fayziddin Qahhorzoda and ADB Country Director in Tajikistan Shanny Campbell signed the grant agreement here on December 26.

The project will improve STEM teaching and learning methods in Grades 5-11 by adopting a skills-based approach that will help students develop abilities such as critical analysis and collaboration to enable them to solve real-world problems.  It will train STEM teachers and modernize learning materials.  The project will upgrade the facilities of 20 selected schools in four regions and improve school management.  It will also support the inclusion of climate change-related topics into the STEM curricula and learning materials.

The project will directly benefit 11,500 students—including 5,600 girls—in targeted schools, as well as about 4,000 STEM teachers, education officials, school management staff, and communities in project areas.

ADB is the first development partner to help Tajikistan tackle its STEM teachers’ shortage, integrate climate change into secondary education, and shape an enabling environment for girls and women to pursue STEM fields.  To expand girls’ participation in STEM studies and help steer more women’s careers towards high-productivity sectors, the project will offer stipends and scholarships to girls studying at the schools and higher education institutions targeted by the project.  It will also prioritize women STEM teachers and teacher candidates for information and communication technology courses.

Since Tajikistan joined ADB in 1998, the bank has provided over US$2.5 billion in assistance to it, including over US$2 billion in grants.  ADB’s 2021–2025 country partnership strategy for Tajikistan focuses on three strategic priorities: structural reforms to enhance resource allocation and mobilization, improving labor productivity through human capital development, and fostering better livelihoods by investing in the land-linked economy.

Established in 1966, the Asian Development Bank is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.