AKF supported Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centre near Khorog, Tajikistan.

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer

AKF supported playground near Khorog, Tajikistan.

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer

The Aga Khan Lycée, Khorog, Tajikistan.

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer

AKF supported Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centre near Khorog, Tajikistan.

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer

languageSwitcherThis page is also available in

Tajikistan | Early Childhood Development


The Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) has improved access to learning for over 18,000 three-to-six-year-old children

Established in 1998, the Aga Khan Lycée (AKL) in Khorog is the first privately operated school in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO). It is part of the Aga Khan Education Services (AKES) in Tajikistan. Each year, the Lycée educates over 1,000 students from grades 0 to 11 with a graduation rate above 95 percent.

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer

Aga Khan Early Childhood Development Resource Centre 

The Aga Khan ECD Resource Centre in Khorog, operated by the Aga Khan Education Services (AKES), is the national level lead site for AKDN ECD programmes in Tajikistan. In addition to providing pre-primary and parental support programmes, the centre and other AKDN agencies partner with the regional government of GBAO and community providers. Together, they support access to quality pre-primary care and education for children from birth to six years, with the ultimate aim of improving developmental outcomes for children.

The Aga Khan ECD Resource Centre provides support to AKES pre-primary units, as well as ECD centres within government schools, government kindergartens, remote rural government ECD programmes and the Care for Child Development Programme. Support provided includes technical support, teacher capacity development, prenatal and postnatal maternal health programmes, learning resources and classroom renovation.

The Aga Khan ECD Resource Centre has delivered professional development for teachers at government kindergartens in GBAO. The training and provision of teaching and learning materials have contributed to improved teaching and learning approaches in the environment, curriculum and teaching pedagogy, as well as partnership with families and communities.

Additionally, AKES and AKF have worked to support the continuation of access to quality pre-primary education during the challenging period of ECD centre closures in response to COVID-19. During this time, AKES and AKF developed storytelling television programmes and activity books for parents and students.

AKES is planning to expand its provision of ECD programmes and services in GBAO over the coming years with leadership from the ECD Resource Centre in Khorog.

Aga Khan Early Childhood Development Centres

AKES offers early learning opportunities for children in Tajikistan. Three ECD centres (two in Khorog and one in Ishkashim) serve children aged three to six in half-day and full-day programmes. Our most recent centre, the ECD Centre in Ishkahim, opened in 2020 and serves as a hub for best practice within its district. The ECD centres use best practice to nurture a caring and stimulating environment for children supporting the use of their mother tongue as well as Tajik and English.

The ECD curriculum is holistic in its approach and includes developing children’s knowledge and skills in communication, language and literacy, arts, maths, science and social studies. With a focus on instruction in Tajik as the national language, children also have exposure to English. The curriculum is designed to support the transition to school where children are prepared to enter English-, Tajik- or Russian-medium primary schools.

AKES ECD teachers are performing well at national-level competitions and are acknowledged for their commitment and expertise. An ECD teacher from Khorog was honoured with the state title of “Best ECD teacher 2019”.

Engaging with parents and caregivers

AKF ensures parents and caregivers develop the knowledge, skills and confidence to support their children’s development. We teach volunteer community health promoters and health professionals to offer counselling services, while providing optimal prenatal and postnatal care for mothers.

We also engage community volunteers to improve teaching and learning environments and support operations through ECD support groups. We engaged 14,844 community members through 1,040 education sessions on nutrition for children under five; 842 children with nutrition problems were identified and 230 community health workers were consulted.

AKF is fostering the active role of parents and caregivers in child development through capacity building of local health professionals, including primary healthcare staff, voluntary community health promoters and ECD teachers.

AKF engages parents and caregivers to provide nurturing home environments and to improve teaching and learning environments through ECD support groups and volunteering. It has been piloting “Responsible Fatherhood” programmes in remote areas of Gorno-Badakhshan. These have helped 376 men to date understand the role they play in the development of their children and become more involved in their children’s lives.

I was surprised to see the fathers' interest in obtaining knowledge and getting involved in the care of their children. I had assumed that, based on the traditions and observation from the past, fathers were reluctant to get involved in childcare. Usually, they consider themselves as a breadwinner. So the current project opened our eyes to different roles and commitment of the fathers. They came to learn more and obtain skills to nurture their children.

Khudonazarov Alovat
community health promoter, Sezhd

Despite my long teaching experience, I have never thought to identify and develop a child’s personal, social or emotional competencies. Going through the Early Learning Programme, I understood that we had only assessed academic knowledge, avoiding intellectual, physical and social-emotional development that are crucial in the early years of a child’s life. Through the programme, students take part in a transformative learning experience which significantly impacts their future life.

ECD teacher in Rudaki District