School Dropout Prevention Pilot Program

In the eastern Khatlon Oblast of Tajikistan, almost a quarter of students drop out after ninth grade, the last grade they legally must complete. Many cite economic reasons for this decision: More than 40 percent of the at-risk students, dropouts and their guardians referenced the need to supplement income through household chores or domestic work.

Unfortunately, schools fail to adequately track and support at-risk students. Indeed, many educators feel they are not responsible for student attendance and do not usually make parents or guardians aware of their children’s absence from school.

Creative’s School Dropout Prevention Pilot program is a research project aimed at finding what works in reducing dropout among students in Tajikistan and also in Cambodia, India, and Timor Leste. It is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

In Tajikistan, the program introduced two interventions in 82 schools. One, an Early Warning System, uses existing school-level attendance, performance and behavior data to identify at-risk students. Once identified, the system works with parents, teachers and administrators to address students’ needs and keep them in the classroom.

To support these efforts, an after-school tutoring/enrichment program—which uses a wide range of student-centered, hands-on, cooperative learning instructional practices and enrichment activities—was introduced. The program now reaches 3,744 students.

The School Dropout Prevention Pilot program will be measure data on dropout, grade completion, attendance and performance and will compare them to the same indicators from non-intervention schools. It will also measure changes in student, teacher, and parental knowledge, attitudes and practices for dropout prevention.

USAID and education ministries can use the resulting evidence to create dropout interventions that identify at-risk students and provide the support they need to stay in school.

To visit the School Dropout Prevention Lab, click here.


Tajik’s educational system, overburdened due to high enrollment, struggled with retention, especially during Grade 9, the last year of compulsory education. Through the Student Motivation Learning Program, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, an Early Warning System and an after-school tutoring program were established to identify and support students at-risk of dropout.

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