Progress Report №4

The project could leave the trial-and-error phase behind and has identified a suitable implementation approach. With an increase in activities, the project works at full capacities. The team is cautiously optimistic to compensate for lower activities during the previous two years and to tackle challenges during the second half of project implementation 2018 – 2020. Events continue to evolve slowly on a rising trajectory of communication and impact. Previous statements and evaluations are valid.

The first half of the project focused on overcoming limits that donor-funded activities face when working in Turkmenistan. These include, but is not limited to: dealing with a cumbersome bureaucracy; addressing lack of capacities, political will and skills at all levels of the education sector; and, adapting to a management paradigm that is reminiscent of the Soviet Union of 1960s.  The deeply embedded social narrative of Turkmenistan’s society represents a set of preferences that might be Pareto-efficient, but prevent successful communication, because people do not want to reveal their information to those who are different and distrust the motives of those who speak to them. [1] Positive factors for project implementation are: increased trust with policy and decision makers based on results achieved; addressing the expectation of the beneficiary and the community; and, a deepening of the economic crisis that results in higher sensitivity to impulses from abroad.

Highlights of project implementation during the fourth reporting period (April 2018  – September 2018) were: the third Project Steering Committee meeting (minutes in Annex 1), a study tour to three European countries (Belgium, Germany, and Poland) (report in Annex 2), workshops on teaching English, quality assurance in education, skills development in agriculture, and bilingual education and presenting Kazakh experience in education modernisation.

The current portfolio of activities that merit attention consists of the following:

  • Mini-projects : These are ToR compliant, bottom-up generated activities by TVET schools. Based on the success of the first wave, a second one is underway.
  • Kazakh seminars : Implemented by Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools they offer a modernisation impulse with low transaction costs as Kazakhstan is a top 10 global reformer.
  • The digitalisation of education : Contributing to a national concept, issued in September 2017, the project increasingly contributes to further education, consultancy and structural alignment.
  • Further education for English teachers: Following a request of the beneficiary, the project is instrumental in addressing a national concept with a Pearson-licensed training program and dissemination activities, aiming at a paradigm change in learning foreign languages.
  • Tackling selected objectives of the ToR: This covers workshops, trainings, and consultancy on agriculture, quality assurance, entrepreneurship, and other activities.
  • High-risk, high-impact interventions: Activities aim at capacity development of the beneficiary for attracting donor finance, as part of an opening of the education sector.

The next reporting period (October 2018 to March 2019) will capitalise on current achievements and strategies. Consequently, the focus moves towards operational efficiency, and maximising inputs and outputs.