Tajik School Clothing

Figure 1.--This is First Bell, the first day of school for these Tajik children in 2003. There is a formal ceremony for these children who are dressed up and brought to school by their parents to begin their school careers. Image courtesy of William Fergusson.

Tajikistan is a central Asian country, one of the new countries resulting from the break up of the Soviet Union in 1992. Until this, Tajik students wore standard Soviet school uniforms. We do not have a great deal of information on modern Takijistan. A HBC reader in Tajikistan has provided us some information about Tajik school uniforms and school life after independence. Because of the Soviet era, Tajik schools share many similarities with Russian schools. We notice some school schools with uniforms od sweaters, white shirts, and long pants. Colors vary from school to school. There is no nationwide school uniform.

Soviet School Uniforms


We have very little chronological information about Tajik education. Modern secular education is a relatively recent phenomenon. We do have a painting of a village school done about 1934 in which the children are in traditional dress. The painting looks like the 19th century, but may not be that old. The first Western dressed people appeared about 1927 in Tajikistan. Dushanbe was a 3 year old city then. The first car appeared in 1934. . I think this painting is about the Russian education system which brought scholarship children from the villages to be educated in Dushanbe. The painter was K. Tkackenko.

Selale Education Foundation

The Selale Education Foundation operates a number of schools throughout Tajikistan. This is a Turkish educational foundation. These are joint venture schools receiving support from both the Foundaionand the state. The schools help fill gaps in the Tajik state education system. They are specialist science, mathematical and language schools. All are co-ed. They are for children aged from 11 to 16. There is a school entrance examination to pass to gain entry. The academic standards are high and there is a great demand for places. They are all fee paying schools, but the fees are very moderate. The exception is the International School with many foreifn students. The school's fees there are very high. It teaches mainly in English and other languages include Russian, Turkish and French. This is the school were the International Community are most likely to send their children.The stuudents come from Tajikistan, Turkey, Pakistan, India and Russia. The students at the weekly boarding schools are mainly Tajik and Turkish. With the exception of the Selale International school nearly all offer weekly boarding for boys. It is my understanding that the girls are only day pupils at the moment. The joint venture means that Russian and Tajik lessons are compulsory for children of Tajik citizens. Other languages taught include English, French, and Turkish. All the schools start the week with morning Assembly at which the Tadik National Anthem is sung. The Selale Foundation have schools in every major town throughout Tajikistan. Other Turkish Educational Foundations have similar schools in other former Communist Block Countries.

Ceremonies and Special Days

There are several ceremonies celebrated in Takij schools. The children often dress up for them. They are largely inherited from Russian/Soviet school practices.

First Bell

The first day of school is very important in Tajikistan. There is a ceremony called First Bell. This back to school ceremony takes the form of children dedicating themselves to working hard at their studies. Children bring flowers for their teacher and dress in very formal clothes. This seems to be a carry over from Soviet days. A HBC reader provides us details of the 2003 ceremony at his school. After the long hot summer vacation and a life of carefree activity it was back to school for Tajikistan children. September 1st was the first day of the new academic year. It was marked by the special First Bell ceremony. Children wear their best clothes for the occasion. They bring bouquets of flowers for their teacher. The ceremony is attended by parents, children and teachers. The children wear suits and black school uniform. Boys wear white shirts, ties and bow ties. Most of the boys are dressed in long trousers and wear black shoes. The girls are dressed in white blouses, while ankle socks, black dresses and some have large white bows in their hair. The children in less formal wear are likely to be new students. They might also be pupils who are taking part in the ceremony or children who wish to dress in an individual way. The school principal gave the opening address and spoke about the academic programme and his hopes for the students and what he expected from his staff, parents and students. The new teachers are introduced by the vice principal and the teachers give short speeches. The children perform traditional and modern dances, other children give speeches about their hopes for the year and their future. At the end of the ceremony teachers and children go to their classes and the first lessons begin.

Teacher's Day

Tajik schools have a charming custom--Teacher's Day. Friday October 2, 2003 was Teacher's Day. I believe it is a continuation of Soviet practices. This is a time when students present a ceremony of dance, verse speaking and group singing to commemorate the day. Children bring flowers for their teacher. It is a lovely and very happy occasion. The children dress less formally then on a normal school day. None-the-less some children dress in their best clothes and several girls wear long white dresses. Those in less formal clothes are taking part in the activities. The children in the picture are singing a song which they have learnt especially for the day. The boys have white shirts with and without ties, long trousers and shoes. One boy is wearing a jacket. The girls wear white dresses, white, ankle socks and black shoes. One girl is in -less formal wear. One boy is casually dressed. The occasion is attended by parents, children and teachers. Everyone greets each other by wishing "Happy Teacher's Day". The ceremony began at 11 am and finished before lunch time. When it was concluded the students returned to their lessons. Unfortunately, after the excitement of the ceremony, both the teachers and the students did not have much enthusiasm for learning.

Alphabet Ceremony/ABC Day

There is a special celebration in Tajikistan school children. It is one that only kindergarten children experience. The festival celebrates a child's mile stone in learning. The time they learnt the alphabet. Often the alphabet they celebrate learning is the Russian one. However it can also be about learning the English alphebet as well. It is a very exciting festival which is held at the child's school. Parents are invited as are all the school teachers and older brothers and sisters come to watch the event and share their younger cybling's special day


A HBC reader has provided information about Tajikistan School graduating ceremonies. Tajikistan children believe May is their favorite month. It is strawberry and cherry season. There is no stopping their consumption of these fresh and delicious fruits. These are in abundance and mark the start of summer. Another indicator that summer is here are the many school preparations for the Graduation Ceremonies which will be held at the month’s end. This is main reason why May is a good month for children for it is the start of their summer holiday. No more school and three whole months of holiday bliss until September 1st.

Last Bell

The Last Bell Ceremony involves the graduates in secondary school. School year ends by a First Grader ringing a bell. t the end end the academic year is over. The ceremony includes singing, dancing, and poetry readings to celebrate the school year. Graduation takes place. Then holidays. Nice experience.


We do not have much information on class room teaching at this time. We do have an interesting report from a private school in Dunshambe where the teacher was using The Railway Children by E. Nesbit a part of a literature and English lesson. Students as part of the class began asking questions about England, including canals and barges.


We note children involved in many of the same activities as children in other classes. Class room arrangements seem generally very traditional with the pupils' desks in rows facing the front of the classroom. . Schools have breaks of 10 minutes after every 40 minutes of lessons. This is a factor in making children very exciteable because they play for 10 minutes rather than going to the bathroom for which the time is theoretically allocated. It is also change classroom time too. Very quickly the 10 minute break becomes 15 minutes and by April 20 minutes. There is a recess period during the morning. There is a lunch break. Few schools have cafeterias so the children bring their lunches. Sports are very popiular. We note special events like plays and recitals. There are sports days.


All Tajik schools have a uniform and it is the same regardless of the school you go to. There is a destinct Soviet influence, but the uniform is not the same as worn in Soviet days. There are no destinctive uniforms for individul schools. The boys wear a black uniform, a long trousered suit, with matching black waistcoat, white shirt and bow tie. The uniform for girls is also black. It is a black skirt and white blouse. The girls wore blouses done in differeent styles, but they are all wite. Girls wear white ankle socks and black shoes. They also wear large white bows in their hair. Some children do not wear this and go in other schoolclothes. Some children wear a neckerchief. This is made of silk. It is red, green and white, the colours of the Tajikistan flag. It is recognition that these children have attained an educational standard of excellence at their school.

School Projects

There are school based projects about keeping the city clean. Each school in the programme is responsible for keeping an area of the city free of litter. This is usually a Sunday morning activity. Everyone dresses in old clothes and they descend on their allotted area and clean it up.

School Names

Every school has a number. Few schools are named after famous people. This basically follows Soviet practice. The capital Dushambe is divided up into education districts and these are responsible for educational provision in that area.

Individual Schools

We have very limikted information on individual schools in Tajikistan. Most do not have names, but rather numbers. This is espcially true of primary schools. We do note the Economic High School in Dushambe. I am not sure why the school has that name. It seems to offer the same educational fare as all the rest of the Tajik secondary schools. It is highly regarded by Tajik families who enter their children to sit the entrance examination. It is a Turkish run school. It is one of the schools in the Turkish/Tajik partnership. I believe that it was originally a specialist mathematic teaching school.


Related Chronolgy Pages in the Boys' Historical Web Site
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Created: May 29, 2003
Last updated: 8:26 PM 10/2/2007