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Nor does the existing infrastructure receive adequate funds to sustain itself. Currently, an estimated 687 schools need overhauls and repairs to roofings, sewage systems, water pipelines and heating networks while 179 schools need emergency repairs. Only 588 schools have properly functioning water pipelines, and 266 schools are provided with sewage systems. Central heating system functions in as few as 418 schools. Many analysts say that most schools in this republic suffer from cold in winter time. There are instances of suspending teaching for a month or longer periods in winter due to want of fuel.

Efforts taken to build new schools have brought no visible results to enhancing school capacity or improving teaching conditions. As before, schools continue to operate on a shift basis, with two-shift schools increasingly prevailing. For example, there are 74 three-shift schools in this republic today, mainly in Osh and Jalal Abad provinces. An estimated 1,397 schools are operating in two shifts, again chiefly in Osh and Jalal Abad provinces.

The number of students per form increasingly grows with each passing year, averaging 23.9 students in 1991, 25 students in 1995 and 25.1 students at present. The figure varies in rural and urban regions. There are schools where attendance is very low. For example, in a number of districts in Naryn, Osh, Jalal Abad, Issyk Kul provinces there are schools with only 8 to 12 students per form. In contrast, most schools in urban areas have an attendance of at least 30 students per form.

The period under review has also seen an aging of teaching equipment. School furniture (blackboards, desks and bookcases), laboratory appliances, teaching aides (charts, maps, globes, preparations, etc.) have not been replaced since 1991.

The absence of computers is another concern. As few as 10 percent of schools are equipped with modern computers. In fact, schools cannot use modern means of communication, E-mail or Internet.

In this context, a number of programs have been launched by NGOs or funds to sustain or improve material condition of schools. Under a UNDP program, for example, one school was built to accommodate 412 students in the Uch Terek district, Jalal Abad province. It was quickly built by a Norwegian construction firm. Also, two schools have been funded by the Islamic Development Bank in the Toktogul district, Jalal Abad province, capable of accommodating 240 and 360 students. Also, two schools have been erected with the assistance of Switzerland's government for 192 and 220 students respectively in areas severely affected by earthquakes and mudflows. As a rule, international organizations tend to assist primarily districts hit by natural disasters.

Repairs to school buildings, class-rooms, streamlining of teaching time-table are done annually to improve teaching environments.

Despite the efforts, the basic education infrastructure shows a general downward. This accounts for special attention being devoted to ensuring safe and healthy conditions for children.

A top priority is to create a healthy teaching environment. Medical examinations, vaccination, promotion of children's awareness of disease prevention and healthy life-styles are organized on a yearly basis.

Second, a number of hygiene regulations and standards designed to keep schools in good repair have been duly agreed upon with the Health Ministry of the Kyrgyz Republic. These include criteria related to conditions and the system of teaching schoolchildren:

* education institution location;

* school buildings;

* premises and equipment;

* ventilation and heating;

* natural and artificial illumination;

* teaching process organization (duration of classes, intervals, holidays, maximum teaching load);

* meals.

These standards suggest that serious attention is given not only to school buildings but also to meals and comfortable conditions at schools. Early in the '90s, very cheap hot meals were arranged for schoolchildren virtually in every school via canteens and cafeterias. The latter half of the '90s has seen an aggravation of the meal problem, as quite a number of canteens are being shut down and meal prices are soaring in schools where the canteens still operate. In 1991, a total of 1,471 schools had canteens accommodating 123,519 students. Hot meals were provided for as many as 423,940 children. In contrast, in 1998 there were only 746 schools with canteens for as few as 58,502 children. Hot meals were provided for only 54,939 students. Children in mountainous regions are especially hard hit. In Naryn province, for example, there are only 83 children who regularly get meals in school canteens.

What makes things still worse is the fact that most families cannot afford themselves to buy their children food for taking it to school. As a solution, schools were forced to organize their own farms. Such farms have so far been organized at 710 schools to support the most needy children.

The recent years have witnessed greater efforts taken to create a more favorable psychological climate at school both for teachers and students. For this purpose medical examinations and recreation rooms have been arranged at schools. Also, the so-called "confidence mail" is circulating among students where schoolchildren can ask any question and receive authoritative and professional replies. A ban on smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages is in effect in all education institutions.

A variety of competitions, contests, festivals add to efforts taken to foster healthy life-styles. In recent years, competitions have been held to select schools with the lowest delinquency rates. Competitions of this kind have been found necessary because of a rise in juvenile delinquency, drug addiction and inhaling of poisonous fumes being among the gravest concerns. These problems are primarily a result of complex social reforms now underway in this republic, their rapid rates, sweeping scale and difficulties in maintaining control of social development and avoiding socioeconomic strife.

The village of Budyonnovka, Issyk Ata district, has of late become famous for intensive drug trafficking. In June alone, the police arrested three drug dealers carrying opium and hashish. Two of the detainees were women. The criminal trade also recruits children...

For the first time in the history of this province, a police record was opened up against nine senior form students for occasional consumption of drugs... Kiddie crime in the neighborhood has nearly doubled. In the first six months of 1998, adolescents committed 18 crimes while they are responsible for 32 crimes committed during the same period this year. The theft rates have more than tripled...

"Pampers-Wearing Drug-Dealers" //Vecherny Bishkek, July, 1999

Most alarming is the fact that the past few years have seen a rise in the number of drug addicts among junior schoolchildren. There are 1,807 adolescent registered in the Republican Adolescent Health Center of whom 239 are described as drug addicts.

There are increasing cases of sexually transmitted diseases (like HIV and AIDS) among schoolchildren – a result of unhealthy life-styles some of the adolescents prefer to lead. As a rule, these are children from the most impoverished families.

One of the guiding principles in fighting juvenile delinquency and encouraging healthy life-styles is the promotion of children's moral and sexual awareness aimed to foster a healthy mode of life of adolescents and adults. This work is carried out in schools, institutions, and various centers to offer relevant and correct information on physiological, psychological and social changes commonly taking place in infancy and adolescence. Information is also disseminated on natural changes in humans' sexual area and their influence on health, behavior and communication. The purpose of these efforts is, among other things, to lay the basis for healthy development and build safe human relations as well as furnish information on services to be offered whenever necessary.

The issues of reproductive health of students are covered by programs designed to promote schoolchildren's hygiene awareness. This work is carried out not only by schools but also by law enforcement bodies, health institutions and the mass media.

Basic Education Management Restructuring

The process of basic education restructuring has called for managers with new specialized knowledge and skills, to lead efforts aimed at decentralizing and democratizing management structures. Great attention has been given during the period under review to strategic management, capacity-building in planning and management at regional and local levels and a more distinct division of functions.

The republic has obtained a grant in the form of technical assistance from the Asian Development Bank to streamline basic education management structures. The program involves teaching between 1998 and 1999 of managers for central, regional and school levels in the light of modern approaches, methods and rules of management. A series of workshops has been arranged on strategic planning, education and financial management and management at modern school. The project involves four expatriate and four national experts. An education manager's manual is currently under preparation.

Work is progressing on the decentralization of basic education management and streamlining of management structures. The central management level has been seriously restructured, including cuts in the managerial staff and an adjustment of school control bodies. District education departments have been dissolved in a number of regions. Powers on school financing, supplies and personnel issues have been delegated to local bodies.

Functions retained by central bodies include policy-making, devising teaching programs and curricula, distribution of textbooks and school performance appraisal.

To raise the quality of appraisal, school licensing, accreditation and certification have been introduced. From now on, schools must obtain a license to be allowed to teach.

Parents' and Public's Involvement in Addressing School-Related Affairs

During the period under review, parents have been more actively involved in tackling basic education problems. First, they are helping to choose schools, influence the selection of teaching programs and curricula, and assume more responsibility for school financing and equipment.

Second, parents are exerting indirect influence on national education policies. For example, changes in a number of provisions of the Law on Education of the Kyrgyz Republic related to the duration of school education and its standard level to be reached in 1997 were influenced by parents.

Also, parents have been given more rights to co-run schools. More than 400 schools today have trustees boards composed of local public representatives, parents, sponsors, etc. The trustees boards are empowered to decide on financing, supplies, meals, health care and extracurricular education. Considerable assistance is being given by the boards to children from poor families.

More parents and public representatives can now take part in the organization of school festivals.

Expansion of Basic Education Environment and Media

During the period under review, basic education has been expanded through:

* an extracurricular education system;

* the formation of an adult development system;

* enhanced partnership ties;

* the use of the mass media.

Additional education is largely based on children's extracurricular development institutions which include children's creative endeavor centers, sports schools, young technicians', tourists' or naturalists' centers, etc. A total of 116 such institutions are active in this republic attended by more than 100,000 schoolchildren.

Unfortunately, the number of extracurricular development centers dropped to 116 in 1998 from 187 in 1991, primarily due to cuts in financing.

Years

Number of institutions

Enrollment

% of total number of schoolchildren

1991

187

139,6

13,6

1992

172

128,2

13,6

1993

174

120,9

12,9

1994

159

98,9

10,4

1995

122

90,2

10,2

1996

117

96,3

9,6

1997

116

104,5

10

1998

116

104,1

9

1999

123

105,6

9

In their efforts, these institutions use their own premises as well as schools or pre-school facilities. In addition, schools have a network of optional courses to offer schoolchildren more instruction on subjects taught at school as well as those centered on various aspects of children's creative endeavors. A variety of competitions, festivals, Olympiads, excursions or exhibitions are arranged by extracurricular development institutions and schools.

Special attention in the system of extracurricular development is given to fostering healthy lifestyles. A total of 39,000 children have an opportunity to attend and improve their sports skills in 62 children's and adolescents' sports schools.

There is a series of programs intended to lay a solid foundation for promoting hygiene awareness among children and adolescents, offering medical and hygiene knowledge of disease prevention, and giving recommendations on reproductive health.

As is the case of the entire education system, extracurricular development structures face difficulties in the transition period. The period under review has, in fact, seen no construction of extracurricular development centers while existing facilities are largely obsolete. No funds have been assigned for purchases of materials, tools or equipment. Unfortunately, extracurricular development is traditionally seen as the state's exclusive domain. The role played by NGOs in offering extracurricular services and expanding the limits of formal education is insignificant.

In the past few years, the basic education environment has been expanded through the enlargement of the adult development system. Although previously this system was found to be quite adequate in meeting adults' demand for professional development, now it is also expected to contribute to maintaining the existing literacy level and elimination of adult functional illiteracy. The Kyrgyz Republic is aware that today's literacy criteria are different from those previously employed by statistics. In addition to being able to read and write, one is also expected to be able to understand what one reads, e.g., laws, regulations, etc. – a factor that reveals greater illiteracy rates, although functionally. One cannot, however, ignore the fact that the functional illiteracy rates have grown to risky levels in Kyrgyzstan.

To eliminate functional illiteracy there has been arranged a variety of courses at the Employment Center.

Strengthening partnership ties has become an important factor for the expansion of basic education environment.

The state authorities hold a primary responsibility for the implementation of the Education for All program. In the period under review, however, the general public and statesmen came to realize that state institutions cannot meet the existing demand for human, finance and organization resources to accomplish such a responsible mission alone. Many believe that the national Education for All program cannot and should not be totally state-controlled and absolutely centralized. That it should be flexible in structure, responsive to popular needs and national interests. This task calls for a revitalization of former relationships among the family, general public and state, and establishment of new ties, primarily with non-governmental organizations and donor countries.

In this context, steps have been taken to re-establish relations among social sub-sectors.

To begin with, there has developed a new system of relationships with ministries and institutions dealing with planning, financing, labour and other social issues. For example, a number of programs aiming to meet the population's basic needs are being devised by some of the ministries concerned. The Ministry of Education, Science and Culture and the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Kyrgyz Republic are taking joint efforts under the poverty alleviation national program "Araket" designed to train unemployed youth in a variety of trades. The Health Ministry and the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture are responsible for the implementation of the Healthy Nation state program targeting infant disease prevention, motherhood and childhood protection, protection of the environment and fighting pollution. Also, a national program involving the Justice Ministry targets legal and civic education aiming to familiarize people with the elementary rules of living in a democratic society.

Ties have been established with NGOs related to the implementation of the Education for All program.

"Partnership between the state and non-governmental organizations presupposes the establishment of a system of consultative mechanisms capable of ensuring effective coordination among state-controlled structures, social organizations and individuals for the purposes of building an open, integral and socially oriented public governance."

The National Strategy of Sustainable Human Development in

the Kyrgyz Republic. – Bishkek. – 1998 – Page 124.

Non-governmental organizations are a novel thing in Kyrgyzstan. They have come to emerge in this country ever since independence. There were a total of 208 NGOs registered in 1993. In mid-1996 they were 500 and currently the number is estimated at more than 1,000. Approximately half that number are active. Most NGOs address social and education-related issues.

As has already been mentioned, the Meerim Fund ranks among the best-known organizations contributing to the consolidation of the basic education environment. The Fund's programs center on the promotion of quality teaching in the interests of better living standards. Special emphasis is placed on efforts to transform Kyrgyzstan society into a community of educated individuals. Particular attention is given to making education affordable at various levels and support for needy children. The list of the Fund's important projects which are popular in this republic includes the Children's Education Museum, Children's Education Centers, and Health and Education to the Children of Mountainous Regions. The Children's Education Museum is a center engaged in teaching children new telecom systems and introducing new teaching technologies that enable children to gain access to universal education and scientific programs. Also, its basic objectives include spiritual and moral education via the world of art and culture.

The Children's Education Centers program is designed to encourage new teaching technologies in the periphery of Kyrgyzstan. Its purpose is to offer children across the republic equal opportunities to get integrated into universal education and scientific programs. This program is implemented at the provincial, district and local levels. Children's Education Centers in Jalal Abad, Osh and Cholpon Ata are connected to Internet.

The program known as "Health and Education to the Children of Mountainous Regions" aims at supporting children residing in the severe climatic, economic and environmental conditions of mountainous areas.

The Fund's plans include a construction of the Altyn Balalyk Rehabilitation Center on the banks of Lake Issyk Kul. Apart from education programs, the center is expected to provide children with medical care, recreation and spiritual instruction.

Another well-known NGO which successfully operates under the Education for All program is the Children's Fund of Kyrgyzstan. This organization undertakes to inform the broad public of challenges and woes confronting children, it is entitled to address the problem at the level of Kyrgyzstan's Government and the international community, support law-making in the interests of children and search for alternative ways to help children and families. This Fund has initiated the Social Safety Information Net – a program responsible for the formation of a data base targeting needs and difficulties experienced by children and women across the country. The data base is widely used by state-controlled education structures for the purposes of the Education for All program.

NGO’s contibute significantly to the women's movement. For example, the 150-member Nasiyat International Women's Association in Osh province focuses on giving secular education to Moslem women. This NGO has published an Arab language textbook and hosts a series of television education programs throughout Osh province.

The Kurmanzhan Datka Women's Committee in Bishkek is contributing greatly to the encouragement of small business and teaching in this field. Special attention in the programs of this NGO is devoted to the prevention of functional illiteracy among adults, including computer-skills, English, business planning.

The Alga village women's NGO carries great work aimed at assisting village women in troubled economic conditions. Many of its projects deal with self-employment and creating new jobs.

The Bishkek-based Bureau of Women in Development is making intensive use of the mass media to provide education for children and women.

Women's Congress of the Kyrgyz Republic addresses the issues of creating equal rights for women and fighting all kinds of female and child discrimination.

Many of the NGOs involved in the Education for All program gain support from international organizations and funds. For example, the Accord and Tolerance Fund of Kyrgyzstan maintains partnership ties with a number of international institutions, including UNHCR, Swiss Coordination Office, Counterpart Consortium International Fund, USAID, UNESCO, Kumtor Operating Company. Also, it cooperates with the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture of the Kyrgyz Republic. Although it has been founded quite recently, it is making a significant contribution to fostering consensus and tolerance among a variety of ethnic groups in this republic. The Fund has published two trainer's handbooks with regard to imposing tolerance and settling conflicts, published five stories composed by students on the topic of tolerance, and arranged a workshop using participation teaching methods for the teachers of Osh and Jalal Abad provinces and the Republic of Tajikistan. Also, it has created mobile resource centers for teachers.

Centers and funds to safeguard children's rights are active. For example, the Ai-Danek Social Fund. The objective of the center is to provide protection of children's interests and rights, rehabilitate certain children's groups and provide medical care, legal and pecuniary aid. This fund has a number of information and consultative centers and publishes a newspaper to promote public's legal awareness. The center cooperates primarily with student youth as well as with legal experts, psychologists, and government officials. Students are frequent visitors to schools where they offer education services, carry out surveys, etc.

The Teaching Center for Professional Development of Disabled Children is engaged in a noble mission of teaching disabled children professional skills with due regard to the range of their interests, physical and intellectual aptitudes. One of the Center's recent events – "Social Integration of Disabled Children"-mottoed disabled children's festival – has sparked much reaction at home.

A rise in youth unemployment has forced a number of NGOs to train young people in marketable skills. The Junior Achievement Fund, trains children and youth in the principles of economics and fosters critical thinking. The fund has held a series of workshops and teachings and opened resource centers to promote economic awareness among children and youths.

According to the Counterpart Consortium, early in May, 1999, there was a total of 200 NGOs, in one way or another, involved in the Education for All program.

The role played by the republican mass media, especially the press and television, in the efforts to expand basic education is hard to overestimate.

The press media, both state-owned and private, highlight the need to be able to read and write one's mother tongue for this adds to the nation's cultural identity.

Television has long been used as an effective means to improve basic knowledge, skills and values. There are special game-type programs, like the Fire-Fly, designed for junior school age children. Moreover, Kyrgyzstan's education system makes use of not only home TV channels but also foreign TV stations, chiefly of Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The programs transmitted by Russia's state-owned and public channels related to education, are particularly popular both with children and adults in Kyrgyzstan. This popularity is accounted for by the common history shared until recently by the peoples of the former Soviet Union and also rests upon the current friendly relations among the peer nations.

Mass media has the capacity to cater to such needs as facilitating the process of professional teaching, operation of health protection programs, dealing with various aspects of family life. TV and the print media also serve as a vehicle enabling the transfer of essential information and social education of the public.

However, recent years have seen the shutdown of many educational programs designed to cater to the child and adult audience due to a substantial increase in the cost of printed materials and TV broadcasting. There is a desperate need of children's books and TV programs.

International assistance

An appreciable amount of work aimed at funnelling international grants and loans into the public education sector has been done in the country in recent years. The table shown below provides the breakdown of principal investment activity as related to the 1991-1999 period.

Investing organization

Project

Type of investment and total amount

Years of use

World Bank

Staff Teaching Component

$4.9 million loan

1994-1999

German government

Strengthening of Vocational Teaching Department under market transition

DM6.2 million technical assistance

 

1994-2003

Danish government

Publishing textbooks for vocational schools on business fundamentals; teaching manuals for teachers

$7,400 technical assistance

1995-1997

Turkish Ministry of National Education

Women staff teaching promotion

$100,000 technical assistance

 

1994-1997

Asian Development Bank

Vocational teaching system reforming

$25 million loan

 

Starting 1999

European Education Fund

Enterprise development support

100 000 ECU

Starting 1999

 

List of loans and grants received by Kyrgyzstan from 1992-1999 to support Education sector.

Name of assistance

Year

Donor

Sum (US $)

1

2

3

4

Vocational education staff teaching as part of Social Protection Network Development project

1994

World Bank

4.900.900

Support to Education sector

1994

Denmark

1.113.000

School textbooks publishing

1995

Germany

1.666.000

Support to Education sector

1994

Asian Development Bank (ADB)

2.500.000

Support to Education sector

1995

ADB

900.000

Language teaching

1995

ΕΡ

1.250.000

Support to primary vocational education

1993

Germany

1.560.000

Support to primary vocational education

1996

Germany

1.820.000

Teaching through Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JAICA)

1993

Japan

800.000

Teaching through Asian Productivity Organization

1993

Japan

200.000

Education sector planning and management teaching

1993

UNDP

14.500

Establishment of National Testing Center

1995

UNDP

295.000

Education in Kyrgyz Republic, phase 2

1995

USAID

3.716.059

CIS teaching reform

1994

USAID

2.052.887

Management staff teaching courses

1994

Turkey

30.115

Education management improvement

1998

ADB  

A great contribution to the development of the public education sector is made by international organizations, inclusive of, inter alia, the United Nations International Children's Fund (UNICEF), which is the only UN institution, solely dedicated to the task of providing support for children worldwide.

UNICEF education programs operated in Kyrgyzstan aim at:

Continuous – although somewhat small in size – support for the educational sector of Kyrgyzstan comes also from UNESCO. The principal project operated under the aegis of this international organization, named "Life-long education for all people", is aimed at the appraisal of the educational system at its different levels and the promotion of literacy and informal education. Between 1997 and 1998 the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture of the Kyrgyz Republic implemented a project named "Regional analysis of trends, problems and policy in the field of education" under the sponsorship of the above said program of the UNESCO organization. This project was designed to examine the performance of the educational sector over the last decades of this century as regards such paramount aspects as accessibility, quality, financing, administration of the educational process and also work out the strategy for the future development of this sector. The project was funded by a tandem of such organizations as the UNESCO and the Asian Bank of Development.

The Asian Bank of Development functions as one of the most capable donor organizations. The credit provided by this Bank to the Kyrgyz Republic runs to $34,000,000. The loan was extended under quite favourable conditions and has a long-term maturity. Prior to making the credit, that is over the years of 1994 through 1996, Bank officers who performed a large-scale examination of the educational sector determined that the principal attention should be given to the development of the pre-school and basic educational level in the first place. The proceeds of the first loan tranche were used to provide support to the basic educational sector. More specifically this meant the purchase of computer equipment, printing of school books and manuals, conduct of modern management introductory teaching courses for administrative officials employed at the basic educational level. The second tranche is expected to be made available at the end of 1999 and anticipated to be used to make necessary material & technical improvements of public school equipment, country-side schools staying ahead of the list, provide support to children from poor families, set up information management systems to improve the administration of the basic education sector, further development of the system of re-teaching and qualification improvement for basic level teaching staff through the deployment of resources provided by Internet.

A well-earned reputation among the Kyrgyzstan-based workers of the educational system is enjoyed by the ACCELS international organization which coordinates the operation of four highly important educational programs indispensable for the development of the future intellectual potential of the Kyrgyz Republic, the most popular program being that catering to educational needs of school-age children. By courtesy of this program operated over the last 6 years, some 200 students of secondary schools received one-year teaching at the USA-based educational establishments. Such teaching is not limited solely to successfully studying the English language, but enables the kids to receive a clear idea of the ways in which a democratic society should be structured and the laws governing the development of such societies, and how to better seek and obtain employment on the modern labor market.

Over the last two years the ACCELS has also successfully operated a program designed for English teachers of secondary schools. A contest was held in the framework of this program with 44 teachers getting to the final stage of the contest. Each contest winner received an award in the

form of books or computer equipment for a total amount of $2,000-plus. 10 winners received an opportunity to attend an 8-week teaching course at one of the US-based educational institutions. Yet another important program for teachers of social sciences is expected to be launched this year.

"Soros-Kyrgyzstan" Foundation is one of the time-honoured and efficient international organizations operating in Kyrgyzstan towards the implementation of objectives and addressing the issues facing the Education For All program. The Foundation-sponsored "Step by step" program designed to promote the development of the pre-school educational level has become a well-known name for the general public. This program is being currently implemented on the basis of 16 pilot child day care centers selected in 1995 & 1996 based on results of the contest for the best innovative project designed to improve the pre-school educational process. The project serves the objective of engrafting of pre-school educational methods worked out by the Washington-based Children's Development Center (the USA). The assistance provided by the Foundation enables the implementation of a whole array of programs designed to aid the development of critical thinking skills in school students, facilitate the process of teaching of the English language, economics, civics, ensure adequate supply of school books and manuals, furnish funds for the purchase of computer equipment, furniture etc. The Foundation is also involved in the setting-up of many programs designed to provide refresher courses for the teaching staff of pre-school and secondary educational facilities. The "Sorosovsky uchitel'" contest has been organized under the auspices of the Foundation in order to support and encourage the teachers' creative performance.

7. Effectiveness of strategy, plans and programs of the Education For All program.

Among the most tangible achievements of the Kyrgyz Republic as related to the implementation of the Education For All program in the '90s are as follows:

- reasonable state policy pertaining to the Education For All program, timely reformulation of objectives and updating of the educational concept;

- most people are covered by the Education For All programs;

- free and unrestrained access to basic education;

- multifaceted nature of educational programs as well as types of educational facilities, primarily those schools involved in the implementation of such programs;

- establishing public educational standards ensuring high quality level of implementation of the Education For All programs;

- high professional capacity of human resources employed at the basic educational level;

- development of partnership relations and international cooperation in the field of basic education.

The work performed during this period helped maintain adult literacy level and indices of the level of literacy and development of human potential. According to the National Report on Human Development (1998) these indicators were established to be as follows:

 

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

Level of adult’s literacy (%)

97,0

97,0

97,0

97,3

97,3

97,3

97,3

Gross share of students in primary, secondary and tertiary educational institutions (%)

66

66

66

66

67

Education level index    

0,847

0,865

0,869

0,869

0,872

Human development index    

0,664

0,618

0,628

0,640

0,652

The attainment of certain objectives set under the Education For All Program was, however, hampered by numerous problems arising due to a range of objective reasons.

8. Principal problems impeding the attainment of objectives set by the Education For All Program

The transitional period currently under way in the Kyrgyz Republic gave rise to a range of economic problems affecting the due performance of the educational sector, primarily, its basic level. This phenomenon manifested itself by the following signs:

- reduction of the actual share of state sponsorship of the basic education;

- inequality and reduced access to education, primarily affecting poor families unable to cover expenses required to receive quality teaching;

- decreased quality and effectiveness of basic education;

- inadequate supply of school books, manuals, teacher's manuals;

- lack of professional experience of the teaching staff;

- increase of costs associated with the implementation of the Education For All Program due to the rise in prices on school books and manuals, school appliances, food, clothes,foot wear;

- deterioration of the infrastructure facilities (aging of buildings and facilities, lack of adequate logistics support).

Notwithstanding the measures aimed at addressing the above indicated problems reaching the successful progress of the Education For All Program, taken on the part of the society as a whole, the President and the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic, these adverse factors are expected to continue and will require relentless support and attention to eliminate them.

Thus, the strategy of the Education For All Program as related to the period under analysis was one of the key elements of the radical educational reform conducted in the Kyrgyz Republic.

The resolution of these problems is to be ensured by the successful implementation of the strategy for educational development over the next decade.

9. Public conscience, political will and national resources

The analysis results indicate that the Kyrgyz society regard basic education to be of paramount value and strives enabling the young generation and other people to have access to education.

The policy of the Education For All Program remained unchanged during the period under analysis.

This primarily concerns the commitment on the part of the Government to ensure that all school-aged children have free and unrestrained access basic education, the obligatory and nature of the basic education without regard to the public or private form of ownership of educational establishments, the principle of equality as related to the access of all children to the basic education. Over the decade in question the literacy level of the population has remained at a sufficiently high rate, while showing no signs of downgrade that might be supposed to develop as a result of the current difficulties faced by the country.

Additionally, free access to basic education over the period under analysis was limited by certain factors. For one, private schools, funded by a sizable fee paid by kids' parents, were licensed to engage in basic educational activity. Then, public schools introduced payment for supplementary educational services, such as that for teaching foreign languages on an extra basis. The practice of providing a free supply of school appliances was superseded by the need for school books, feeding and medical services. The lack of public funding resulted in kids' parents' paying to cover the cost of maintenance of school facilities and purchase of furniture and other school equipment. This year saw the start of a pilot project designed to set up a network of school consumer's public funds to pay all costs, exclusive of the teaching staff and school administration payroll.

The arrangement providing for the payment of a fee for additional educational services as well as the introduction of obligatory consumer contributions spells the controversial nature of the free basic education concept. Even public schools now feature the ever expanding package of paid services, while those engaged in rendering of free services are increasingly discouraged from this form of educational activity. This inevitably results in unfair attitudes towards kids from poor families. The implementation of the concept of fairness and equality in providing quality basic school teaching is also hampered by certain adverse factors. Uneven distribution of financial resources, lack of school books, the natural aging of the professional teaching staff, the downgrade of teachers' professional teaching, deterioration of infrastructure facilities, downsizing of the network of pre-school facilities and those for retarded kids work all contribute to unequal opportunities for children.

The task of ensuring quality and effective performance of the basic educational sector also is a complex a challenge.

The lack of human and material resources affects the country's capacity for achieving high qualitative results in the field of education. There is a certain delay on the part of the basic education sector in employing active and participation-based approaches and methods enabling both children and adults to actualize their full individual potential.

Kyrgyzstan does not have an efficient or reliable system designed to assess the performance of students, teachers or schools. The society has not yet established and implemented a system designed to encourage the operation of a high quality educational process.

 



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