In September 2016, the Trade Union Committee of Education and Science Workers of Tajikistan organised two workshops on basic concepts of the trade union and its role in defending the rights of teachers. One workshop took place in Dushanbe on 15-17 September and another one was held in Racht on 18-20 September. Similar workshops were organised by Trade Union Committee of Education and Science Workers of Kazakhstan in Pavlodar on 19-21 October 2016 and in Semey on 23-25 October 2016. All workshops were part of the EI/ETUCE Central Asia Consortium Project which aims at promoting changes in the EI affiliate education trade unions in Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan) to more democratic, independent and transparent organisations.

The main objective of the workshops was to raise awareness among trade union leaders and to work on the concepts and principles of the leadership under the market economy conditions and the economic and social situation in the educational sector in Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. In the course of the workshop, participants, trade union members and Chairpersons of the School Committees, conducted analysis of the existing education situation in Tajikistan and Kazakhstan, discussed the challenges faced by teachers, children and schools in both countries, and formulated possible solutions. Moreover, they learned about the programmes and activities of EI & Partners, as well as about the essential components and strategies of the Campaign for Education for All (EFA) and Sustainable Development Goals. At the end of each workshop, an action plan was prepared to be implemented at the school and district levels with a view to strengthen local education trade unions and to realise the vision of Education for All.

Workshops were well received and participants asked a lot of questions, especially in Racht, one of the most remote areas of Tajikistan. According to the participants of workshops in Kazakhstan, trainings gave them the opportunity to understand deeply the essence of the trade unions’ work and set the directions of future activities of trade union committees. Workshops participants in Tajikistan also concluded that it is time for the trade union to prepare a manual for Chairpersons of the School Committees which would help them in their day to day operation of the school committee. It was also pointed out that the Rayon/Oblast Committee should organise follow-up activities with the participants and monitor their performance from time to time.

Participants in both countries suggested organising such workshops on a regular basis at least once a year for oblast primary trade unions leaders, as well as workshops for kindergarten teachers and teachers of special schools for disabled children.

The overall EI/ETUCE Central Asia Consortium Project that has lasted for three years (2014-2016) seems to have a positive influence on the leaders and members of the education trade unions in Central Asia. One of the oblast chairpersons in Pavlodar, Kazakhstan, pointed out that Kazakhstan trainers trained by EI during regional Training of Trainers (TOT) were invited to Novosibirsk oblast of Russia to make presentations and impressed Russian trade unions representatives with the quality of their work as trainers.