The EFA 2000 Assessment: Country Reports Homepage of the World Education Forum  
  Contents of country report Homepage of country reports Country reports listed alphabetically Country reports by region  

Next Page

Part I: Descriptive Section

Kyrgyzstan Country Portrait

Kyrgyz Republic is one of the five Central Asian States. It occupies an area of 198,500km2 and has a population of 4.5 million. It borders Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the south, and China to the east.

For quite a long time this territory was a part of Turkestan. In the 1920’s, Kyrgyzstan became part of the Soviet Union, as an autonomous republic, and in the 1930’s became a Soviet Socialist Republic within the USSR.

In 1991 Kyrgyzstan acquired state sovereignty and became a democratic republic. The Basis of the democratic state is the Constitution, adopted May 5, 1993, which orients Kyrgyz Society towards social-economic reforms.

The head of the country is the President, being publicly elected for a term of 5 years. The Legislative body – Jogorku Kenesh consists of two houses: Legislative Assembly and Assembly of People’s Representatives.

The Republic is divided into 6 provinces (oblasts): Chui, Osh, Talas, Jalal-Abad, Naryn. Each oblast is headed by a governor, appointed by the President of the Republic.

The capital of the Republic, Bishkek city, administratively has a status of municipal city. National currency is Som (41.6 Soms=1US$ as of June 1, 1999). A rapid transition of Kyrgyzstan to market economy began after the introduction of the national currency in 1993.

The transition to market economy caused a crisis situation, and decreased indicators of human development. The most difficult was the period of 1993-1995. Economic hardships, caused by the transition to market, sharpened by disruption of economic relations with countries of the former USSR. Kyrgyzstan selected the policy of social economic reforms, which by the beginning of 1996 resulted in stabilization of the situation. GDP in 1996 increased 11% compared to 1995, Gross Industrial Production increased 29.9%, agriculture croppage increased 15.4%, per capita income increased 4.3%. A gradual increase occurred in 1997, 1998 and 1999. But factors, influencing improvement of the economic situation are not stable.

As many countries with transition economy, Kyrgyzstan is still facing social - economic hardships. Kyrgyzstan is attempting to solve problems, inherited from the period of it’s history, when it was a part of the USSR. Correcting the remnant of this unitary economic complex is complicated by the problems, related to building independent, state-wide processes of reformation of all spheres of the society.

  For the time of reformation of education system, the Kyrgyz Republic managed to:

  • Establish diversity of education;
  • Suggest alternative education forms and techniques;
  • To gain different finance sources.

In such a way Kyrgyz Republic at present is moving toward elimination of crisis, stabilizing of social-economic processes. As a sovereign state, Kyrgyz Republic looks to further development of international relations and cooperation with countries of the world to support its position in the world community and progress of its reforms. A stable, effective excellent education system is necessary for these reforms to be achieved.

1. System of Education of Kyrgyzstan at present. Education for All (EFA) Goals and Targets

Current education system is a multilevel system, which consists of the following three main types of education programs, the main purpose of which is the development of the student’s aptitude, abilities and talents:

Compulsory minimum of each educational program is defined by correspondent state education standard.

These programs are implemented in the network of education institutions of different types, kinds and forms of property, full time, part time and non-residence forms of education.

Pre-school education: children attend infant schools at 1.5-3 years and kindergartens at 3-7 years. There are state, private, family, rental kindergartens with day-time, part-time and 24-hour a day stay of children

School education: is the most massive among all levels of education. There are three stages of school education: primary education, or the first stage of basic education (1-4 forms, 6-11 years old); basic secondary education or the second stage of basic education (5-9 forms, 11-15 years old); high school education or complete secondary education (10-11 forms, 15-17 years old). This type of education is conducted in different types of educational institutions.

The first stage of basic education provides basic skills and forms the basis for learning at the second stage. The second stage is designed to create a foundation for the student’s further education.

Additional education. In addition to formal, there are many out-of-school institutions and organizations in the Republic to meet various interests of students.

Professional programs are implemented in institutions of primary, secondary, and higher professional education

Primary professional education is conducted in professional educational institutions, in educational divisions of enterprises, entities and organizations, in educational institutions for special contingencies and in other specialized institutions. This education may be based on secondary (high) education or may be conducted by a unified integrated program of secondary and professional education. In cases of necessity, for persons without secondary education conditions for acquiring professional education could also be created.

Secondary professional education aims to satisfy demands of students in professional training for certain jobs. This education is implemented by a network of colleges, technicums and schools. The term of study in educational institutions of secondary professional education is 4 years on the basis of secondary education and 2 years on the basis of high school.

Higher education is represented by academies, universities, institutes, higher colleges, etc. At present two systems of higher education are functioning in Kyrgyzstan: traditional permanent 5-year education system and multilevel system, providing three levels of higher education: incomplete higher education, basic higher education (bachelor degree and speciality) and complete higher education (master degree and speciality teaching)

System of adult learning has acquired more importance recently. The main goal of a newly formed system of adult education is adaptation of adult population to a new social-economic environment.

The last stage of permanent education is the postgraduate education system (qualification upgrade courses and conversion teaching). Intended to be life-long education, this system represents a network of institutions of conversion teaching, different education centers, programs in the leading institutions of the country, and institutes of teaching of specialists of higher qualification through postgraduate teaching and doctorate.

General structure of education system is presented in the following scheme:


Postgraduate education

(postgraduate teaching, doctorate, refresher teaching course and conversion teaching)







Complete Higher Education




Master degree


Higher education

Additional education



Basic Higher Education





Bachelor degree




Incomplete Higher






Professional-Technical Education



Professional Education

3rd stage

Complete Secondary Education






2nd stage



Basic Secondary education







School Education







1st stage




Primary education










Preschool education



Years of study


Age of lear-ners

The first two stages of this system serve to satisfy basic educational needs of population. In spite of the fact that Kyrgyzstan was not a state-participant of the world conference Education For All: "Meeting Basic Needs in Education" (Thailand, March 1990) the main ideas of this concept were used in the state policy of education in different programs of its implementation.

2. Strategy of Education for all and plan of activities.

Relations in the sphere of basic education in the Kyrgyz Republic are governed by the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic, the Law "On Education" and adopted in accordance with the rules and legal acts. Article 23 of the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic says, "Each citizen of the Kyrgyz Republic has the right to education".1 In accordance with the same article, general (basic) education is compulsory and free of charge, everybody has the right to receive it in state educational institutions. The state provides accessibility of Education For All in accordance with abilities, aptitudes and talents. It also performs control on activity of educational institutions.

State policy in the sphere of Education For All is reflected in the Law of the Kyrgyz Republic "On Education" (1992, amended in 1997).

The main articles of the Law aim to support activity, developing children of school age, protecting children’s rights and acknowledge that education is a fundamental right of all people of any age, and that it helps to build safe, healthy, prosperous and ecologically clear world, while contributing to social, economic and cultural progress and international cooperation. The Law says, "Priority of education is the necessary condition of future stable development of the Kyrgyz Republic, of equal dialog with the world community.1

In accordance with the Article 3 of the current law, the main principles of organization of education are:

During last several years these main principles were implemented in a number of national educational programs and a series of program activities. These principles are used as a basis for the general Education For All scheme.

The main program of implementation of the general Education For All scheme is the National Education Program "Bilim", approved in 1996. This program defines development of the education sector until the year 2000. The program and program activities aim to satisfy necessities in basic education. These necessities consist of both necessary skills (ability to read, write, count and solve problems), and main content of education (knowledge, value system and views), necessary for citizens of Kyrgyzstan to survive, develop their intellectual abilities, for existence and work preserving human dignity, increasing their life quality, taking properly weighted decisions and continuation of education. It says that basic education is a necessary component in developing individuals and improving social environment.

The program also notes that basic education in Kyrgyzstan suffers serious shortcomings, and that it needs to be made topical, and it should be developed qualitatively and made accessible for all. Problems of accessibility and quality of education, primarily base education, are key issues of educational reforms in Kyrgyzstan.

Issues of accessibility and quality of education are being addressed by a number of other National programs, such as Presidential programs "Staff of the 21st Century" (1995), "Access to Education" (Jetkincheck) (1999), and National programs of overcoming the poverty "Araket" (1998), "Ayalzat" (1997), "Madaniyat" (1996), etc. These are the programs that have defined and are defining routes of development of basic education in the last decade.

Thus, the Presidential program "Staff of the 21st Century" aims to increase the opportunities of citizens of Kyrgyzstan to enhance knowledge, skills and values through international cooperation in the sphere of education. Presidential education program "Staff of the 21st Century" envisages the assistance of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic in the following tasks:

The creation of these programs is intended to reverse a recent trend of decreasing accessibility to basic education. We want basic education to be available to everyone by the year 2000. The problem of decreasing accessibility is addressed by the National program of overcoming of poverty "Araket" (1998-2005), a strategic target of which is preservation of guarantees of general accessibility of primary and secondary education, providing support and stimuli for education for children from low income families.

One of the later programs, approximating the Education For All strategy, is the program "Access to Education (Jetkinchek)". It primarily defines the state strategy, mobilizing the society for:

In addition to purely educational national programs, a number of special programs, including sections on expanding base education exist in the republic. These are state programs, such as "Ayalzat", "Healthy Nation", "Tuberculosis", "Kyz-Bala", a national program on preventing of sexual diseases, such as aids, etc. "Ayalzat" program envisages growth of education level and actual literacy of women. Program "Healthy Nation" deals with comprehensive development of a person, etc.

The main strategic decisions in the sphere of programs related to Education For All are taken at the level of the President and the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic.

The central governmental body, administering education system – Ministry of Education, Science and Culture of the Kyrgyz Republic conducts implementation and monitoring of the programs. The Ministry works out education plans and programs of basic education on the basis of an analysis of basic needs of the population in education and global trends in the development of education. At present these trends are:

3. Decision Taking and Administering

Strategic priorities and main issues of policy in the sphere of Education For All are defined by the President, Jogorku Kenesh (parliament) and governmental organizations, mainly by the Ministry of education, science and culture. Administration and coordination of EFA activity is performed by the Department of secondary, preschool and out of school education of the said ministry. The department works closely relationship with both state and non-governmental organizations. A consultative EFA council was created under the ministry. Its main responsibilities are:

4. Cooperation in the Sphere of EFA

The main part of education services in the sphere of base education is conducted by the state through the network of the state schools. For this purpose funds are budgeted on republican, regional and local levels. On the republican level, funds are directed to pedagogic personnel salary, to complete financing of selected specialized schools for children with problems in their development, asylums and boarding schools for children-orphans and children left without parental custody.

Local budgets cover consumer expenses (heating, electric power, repair, water supply and sewage) and salaries of administrative and service staff.

In the last two years partial funding of education services of state schools, was provided by community trusts (funds) of education support. There are about 400 such funds.

Commencing in 1993 was a system of providing of educational services through the private education sector. There are 25 non-governmental schools in the republic, providing education services in return for parents’ payment and sponsor donations. In a number of private schools, the sponsors are community associations. As a rule, these are cultural organizations of peoples, living in Kyrgyzstan such as Korean association "Chinson", Jewish community "Minora", and a Tatar association.

Education services are also provided for account of commercial and religious organizations, but these are isolated events. This is primary school in Min-Bulak village of Tjup Region of Issyk-Kul oblast, organized on funds of a farm, 9-year school "Ray of Hope", financed by the Pentecostals religion community.

Also practicing in the republic EFA services through the network of interstate schools. Active interstate schools are created by Kyrgyzstan and Turkey. Funding of interstate schools is provided by both states on an equal basis.

Since the mid-90s additional assistance in the sphere of EFA is provided by public organizations and funds. One of the most famous and active funds with good reputation among children and parents is "Meerim" fund. The fund is headed by the spouse of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic Mrs. Mairam Akaeva, professor in a number of educational institutions in our country and abroad. Under the aegis of the fund there is a network of Children educational Centers (CEC), child’s village "SOS, Save the Children" has been built, and various international festivals, competitions and meetings have been held. Ideas of EFA are being popularized. Much attention is also given to searching for and supporting gifted children and orphans. "Meerim" fund closely cooperates with the government of Kyrgyz Republic in developing and implementing EFA activity scheme.

In the sphere of EFA the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic also cooperates with the following international organizations, working in Kyrgyzstan: UNESCO, UNICEF, UNDP, UNHCR, "Soros-Kyrgyzstan" fund, "Save the children" funds (UK, Denmark), etc.

5. Investments into EFA (since 1990)

GDP, State expenditures, Expenses on Education 1990-1998. (*)











In millions soms

Gross Domestic Product










Total State Expenditures





























% of GDP                  
Total State Expenditures





























% of GDP                  










In the Kyrgyz Republic, the financing of education was declared a priority sphere of the state policy. Therefore, financing from GDP in the analyzed period was rather substantial. However, in 1991-1996 the high inflation rate, caused by a change in the society’s economic model, resulted in decrease of real expenditures in education sector.

The above table shows gross domestic product and share of donations to education, registered by the National statistic committee of the Kyrgyz Republic. Note that primary education does not have a separate source of funding.

It is worth noting, that in spite of the regular growth of percentage share of education financing, it is still insufficient and inconsistent.

Given existing standards, the indicated share of GDP allocated for state financing of education system is small.

In the period of transition to market economy, real expenditures for education have decreased erratically. Pre-school education expenditure level suffered the most. The reason was in the following: in the times of the USSR, the majority of pre-school institutions belonged to enterprises, collective farms and state farms. In 1991 there were 1,696 pre-school institutions in the republic, 404 were state and 1,292 were departmental institutions. After Soviet system collapsed, the majority of these organizations became unprofitable and lost the opportunity to finance their pre-school institutions. Rural areas suffered the most, because the majority of pre-school institutions belonged to collective and state farms. A decrease in the amount of pre-school institutions resulted in higher cost to keep children in kindergartens.

So, Government of the Kyrgyz Republic took a number of measures to preserve the infrastructure and financial reconciliation of activity of pre-school institutions. In particular, a Decree of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic "On Urgent Measures On Providing Conditions of Further Use of Objects of Social Infrastructure", which prohibited selling of buildings of pre-school institutions for use in other purposes.

The general education scheme also suffered due to a decrease in employment levels and per capita income

Indicators of unemployment and per capita income





Number of unemployed (in ‘000s people)





Unemployment level in %





Long term unemployment ( % of total)

  • over 6 months;
  • over 12 months













Uneven unemployment by regions (25% of worse vs. 25% of best)





Relation of unemployed in % to the total amount of unemployed,



















Indicator of poverty distribution (% of population)




Official unemployment level





Per capita income, Soms per person





A decrease of social indicators means less money for schoolbooks, school uniforms, and food due to decreased salaries of parents. Teachers’ salaries also decrease, as does material-technical support for schools. So calculation shows that the cost of one set of books for the first form is 160 Soms, for the fifth form - 220 Soms, for the eleventh form – 430 Soms, cost of school uniform is 240 to 480 Soms. Level of minimal salary is still 100 Soms.

The analyzed period is also characterized by the decrease of real financing of teacher’s salary, though general growth is observed. For example, average salary of a teacher of a basic school in 1993 amounted to 100.8 Soms, in 1994 to 214.2 Soms, in 1995 to 236.3 Soms, in 1996 to 236.3 Soms, in 1997 to 283.5 Soms, in 1998 to 315 Soms, in 1999 to 385 Soms. Index of consumer prices amounted in 1993 to 146.6%, in 1994 to 187.2%, in 1995 to 131.9%, in 1996 to 134.9%, in 1997 to 114.8%.

For comparison, the minimum consumer budget by June 1999 amounted to 1285 Soms per person. In the first half of this year nominal cash expenditures per capita amounted to an average per month of 441.7 Soms, and cash expenditures amounted to 432.2 Soms.

In relation to the existent financial situation, the republic has fallen in need of considerable foreign assistance. During the analyzed period considerable investments were received to support education, including its base level.

A large portion of these investments were spent on schoolbook publishing and technical support of schools.

Despite financial hardships and disruptions of the transition period, the base education of the Kyrgyz Republic has improved and developed, as indicated by the evaluation, given in Analytical Part of EFA section.


Contents Next Page