|The EFA 2000 Assessment: Country Reports|
Part 1 Descriptive Section
Brief analysis of the country process
With gaining independence on September 1, 1991 Uzbekistan has chosen its own independent way of development and is now in the process of building new democratic legal state and that of civil society with socially oriented market economy.
The way to progress achievement has been chosen with due regard to the life stile of the people living in the Republic, as well as to its specific conditions, traditions, rich historical and spiritual heritage, global practice and positive experience of industrially developed countries.
Continuous education creates conditions necessary for the formation of a creative, socially active, spiritually rich individual and also for training highly qualified competitive personnel.
Education and training system inherited from the former USSR does not meet any longer the needs of democratic and market transformations that are being carried out in the Republic.
PROBLEMS AND BACKGROUND FOR RADICAL TRANSFORMATION OF EDUCATION AND STAFF TRAINING SYSTEM
The present development status
State independence gained by Uzbekistan in 1991, identification of its own economic and social development pattern determined the necessity for cardinal education and training system restructuring. It called for the urgent measures, like introduction of the new Law "On Education" (1992); new curricula, programs, text-books, modern didactic materials development; attestation and certification of educational institutions; creation of new types of schools.
According to the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan all its citizens, both in the urban and rural areas have the right for free education, regardless of the lineage, sex, nationality and religion. They have the right to get education in general schools, to get the first profession and specialty in special schools, while good students of tertiary, secondary special and vocational technical schools are liable for scholarship. Special bonuses are envisaged for outstanding achievements in schooling and also for the support of gifted young people, getting education at home and abroad and etc.
At present education in the Republic is being carried put in seven languages in general secondary schools and in two languages Uzbek and Russian - in special schools, while in Karakalpakstan it is provided in the Karakalpak and Russian languages.
The length of education for the population of the Republic of Uzbekistan aged 25 and more is 10,9 years. Literacy rate is more than 97% and it can be split by education type in the following way: 142 per 1000 of the population have tertiary or incomplete tertiary education, 199 per 1000 have special secondary education, 480 general secondary and 127 incomplete secondary education. Every fourth person is busy in the sphere of material production and services, having tertiary and secondary special education.
Women in Uzbekistan enjoy equal rights with men in all the walks of life. At present each school age girl has to attend school, just like every boy does, and has to get mandatory 9- grade education. After finishing school the girls have a wide choice of specialties and professions to get either at a higher school or secondary special or vocational-technical educational institutions.
Women in Uzbekistan constitute more than 40% of the total man power, working as engineers and technicians, doctors and teachers, agriculturists and zootechnicians, managers of enterprises, companies and as representatives of supreme power.
In 1998 there were 6,9 thousand pre-schools functioning in the Republic with the number of children attending them 615,8 thousand; 9,86 thousand general schools with 5686 thousand children in them; 447 vocational-technical schools with 230 thousand children; and 260 secondary special schools with the number of students in them 249,1 thousand.
In the sphere of pre-school education much attention has been given to the development of home kindergartens and nurseries as well as to the complexes of the type "kindergarten-school". There have been formed 800 groups to teach children foreign languages, choreography, arts and music, basics of computer knowledge.
Due to the high birth rate the number of students in the primary grades of daytime basic schools has increased from 1715,1 thousand to 2569,8 thousand people or almost 1,5 times and in 5-9 grades from 2294,8 thousand to 2441,3 thousand.
More than 27% of the total population were students of general, vocational-technical, special secondary and higher schools in 1998, which proves to be rather high in comparison with other countries. Within the system of general education input has been made into the development of a network of schools and general educational institutions specializing on a profound special subject study (in 1997/98 academic year there were 3254 of such schools on the whole territory of the Republic with the number of students in them 782,5 thousand; 334 lyceums with 73,7 thousand students and 190 gymnasiums with 92,4 thousand students). The pedagogic staff amounted to 459,3 thousand teachers, including 332 thousand working in the rural area. Out of the total number of teachers 122,7 thousand are working in primary schools, including 115,8 thousand of rural schools teachers. The total number of teachers with tertiary education makes up 71% and 94,3% of them are primary school teachers.
Special programs "Soglom avlod uchun", "Majnaviyat va majrifat", "Economic education", "Rural school", "Rehabilitation of children with development problems" and others have been under implementation in the course of these years.
In 1998 there were 260 vocational-technical schools in the Republic with the number of students 249,1 thousand people. The teaching staff consisted of 17,5 thousand teachers and teaching engineers.
The country started the process of restructuring vocational-technical education with due account of territorial peculiarities of market formation, especially in the rural area.
This aforementioned system included 442 educational establishments, specifically 209 vocational-technical schools, 180 vocational lyceums and 53 business schools with the total enrolment of 221 thousand students. The teaching staff of primary vocational education accounted for 20 thousand teachers and qualified specialists.
A network of secondary special vocational institutions was formed in 1997/98. It included 15 new type academic lyceums with the enrolment of 1,8 thousand people and 20 vocational colleges with the enrolment of 3,9 thousand people.
Higher education system in Uzbekistan comprises 60 higher schools; among them there are 42 institutes with the total enrolment of 158,7 thousand people. 14,7 thousand teachers worked in these institutions, 54,3% of them being Doctors and Candidates of Sciences.
The problem with the staff training in educational establishments, which was mainly limited to the decrease of the students cohort, has been resolved due to the enrolment increase starting with the year 1997.
In the former years provincial enterprises, organizations and institutions had considerable staffing problems as well as the financial ones, which caused some difficulties for the people in getting education at central tertiary schools of the Republic. Given this factor the decision was made to develop a network of higher schools in the regional centers in order to devolve the burden of training specialists for industrial, construction, agricultural and non-production spheres from the center to the regions.
To implement this decision measures have been undertaken aimed at decentralization and regionalization of the personnel training system. In this connection much attention has been given to the development of university education by transforming pedagogic institutes in oblast centers into universities, by upgrading their status. At present there are 18 universities in the Republic, 12 of them have been set up in the first two years of the national independence. Pedagogic institutes and universities started training teachers with additional economy specialization.
Number of students in different universities and institutes
Provisions have been made to train specialists in new fields of knowledge alongside with the transfer of the entire higher school to a multilevel system, which will enable the student to get Bachelor or Master degrees.
New advanced methods have been introduced to evaluate the applicants and students knowledge on the basis of test and rating control.
Given new more strict requirements to the quality of scientific and pedagogical staff with top qualification much attention has been given to training personnel at post-graduate courses, allowing the students to get the degree of a Candidate of Sciences or that of Doctor. Higher Attestation Committee has been formed. There were about 4 thousand postgraduates in the Republic, 69% of them belonged to the sphere of tertiary education and 31 to research institutes. Out of the number of scientific and pedagogical staff Doctors of Sciences accounted for 8 per cent and Candidates of Sciences for 37%.
The system of qualification upgrading and retraining included 23 institutes, 16 faculties, 4 centers and 14 courses for qualification upgrading. Besides that qualification upgrading courses for the teachers of mathematics have been arranged to give them second specialty on economics and business management or entrepreneurship.
Much attention has been given to the implementation of a targeted state program aimed to support gifted children and young students.
Special funds and centers have been set up with the aim to identify gifted and talented youth girls and boys (the first steps have been made in order to identify, develop and effectively use national intellectual potential. Specifically, the National scientific-practical Gifts Center has been set up with special supporting funds "Umid", "Ulugbek", "Kamalot"). These centers are to support, to create all the necessary conditions for the young gifted people, so that they should be able to develop their abilities and talent. The possibility is provided for such young people to get education and practical training in the most advanced overseas educational and research centers.
It should be mentioned that international scientific and educational ties have been expanding too.
However, it should be recognized that all the aforementioned transformations and changes have failed to ensure the quality education necessary to meet the requirements of the country social-economic development.
Shortcomings and problems of the pre-reform education system
The most significant shortcomings of the former education system are:
Its failure to meet the requirements of democratic and market transformations;
Inadequate technical and information resources to ensure sustainable educational process;
Lack of highly qualified pedagogic staff (the proportion of teachers with tertiary education at schools has got down from 75 to 71%);
Shortage of good quality educational, methodological and scientific literature (text-books, manuals and guidelines);
Lack of close collaboration and mutually beneficial integration between education, science and production systems.
Transition period difficulties and constraints determined the decrease of expenditure proportion for education and personnel training within the general GDP volume from 10,5% in 1992 to 6,0% in 1997.
Price liberalization dramatically changed the structure of education expenditures. If in 1992 wages and scholarships made up 15,9% of the total expenditures for education, then in recent years this figure amounted to 12,4%. The expenditure proportion of GDP for procurement of equipment, technical supply and maintenance, for the schools technical basis development has dramatically gone down from 0,32% to 0,25%.
The problem of close interrelationship between education structure, content, educational processes and their stages (in other words ensuring continuous education system) has not been resolved. The current education system does not meet standards of staff training in developed democratic countries.
The system of education and staff training was not integrated with the ongoing social reforms; neither did it meet the requirements of the current transformations.
Pre-school education upbringing remained inadequate, which resulted in a certain discordance between the ECD level of children attending and not attending pre-schools.
Due to the income differentiation in the Republic, increase of the pre-school fee and a number of other reasons the indicator reflecting the coverage of children with pre-school education and efficiency index of these institutions proved to be inadequate.
The coverage level of children with pre-school education makes up 16,1 per cents of the total number of pre-school age children (more than 30% in 1992), while the national pre-school efficiency level amounted to 0,71, urban level 0,78 and the rural one 0,64. Practically speaking, there are 250 thousand vacancies in pre-schools.
Due to the low coverage of children with regular pre-school education (according to 1998 assessment more than 3 million children or 83,9% do not attend pre-schools) there is a considerable gap between the education level of the first grade children that have attended kindergartens before and those that have not.
The current situation has its negative impact on the rural children in the first place. Due to the specific and difficult family financial conditions only one of every ten children in the rural area has a chance to attend a pre-school institution.
Mention should be made that pre-school fee has considerably increased (now it makes up 50% of the minimum salary). This resulted in a dramatic reduction of the number of children in pre-schools. Thus, the number of children in public kindergartens in 1998 made up 447,2 thousand against 614,7 thousand in 1992.
Education system, which is characterized by the lack of democracy and its detrimental nature, is determined by the shortcomings of educational process itself, methods of teaching used in schools and other educational institutions. All these results in the fact that students do not develop their independent thinking and are not ready to make conscientious informed decisions.
For example, in 1997 out of 481,6 thousand graduates of Grade 9 continued their education in grade 10 of the general school, 402 thousand of them entered vocational-technical or secondary special schools; those that were not engaged in any kind of activity made up about 80 thousand people. Unemployment or idleness of basic school graduates tends to create rather serious social problems.
Eleven-year general secondary education with nine-year mandatory one was not scientifically grounded and did not ensure required vocational orientation or practical character of education. Neither did it help to form independent thinking or develop labor skills. Only 10 per cent of school graduates are able to enter higher schools every year.
As it has already been mentioned, graduates of basic and secondary schools do not have essential vocational and labor skills due to the lack of continuity between general educational and vocational programs. That is why young people experienced serious difficulties in looking for their place in life.
Education process used to be oriented at average students. Educational mechanisms based on individual training programs have not been widely used in teaching process, especially when dealing with gifted young people. Education programs and curricula were not free from ideological implication. They did not leave much space for the sciences that would teach morals and spiritual values and would provide economic, legal and esthetic knowledge.
A shift from vocational-technical schools to educational institutions of new type was of a declarative character. In fact education process in them was carried out on the basis of outdated equipment, teaching and methodological materials and by the teaching staff that had not been adequately retrained.
Tough life demands have influenced secondary special and vocational-technical education. These sub-systems proved to be unprepared to tackle their problems because of the sectoral limits and half-measures undertaken to change their economic situation. What happened in reality was that technical and secondary special schools have changed their signs for colleges, higher vocational-technical schools and lyceums not taking into account economic conditions.
Another extreme was considerable increase in the number of students getting economic education alongside with the dramatic decrease of the general enrolment number in higher and secondary special schools in 1991-1995. This resulted in absolute and relative decrease of students getting education in technical specialties and sciences, which in its turn leads to further losses in scientific and engineering-technical potential of the Republic. All these tend to hamper scientific-technical progress of the country.
Single level tertiary education did not take into due account labor market requirements, structural changes in industrial area and positive international experience. Educational establishments did not have independence necessary to organize proper educational process and they are not adapted to the changing conditions of professional labor market.
Staffing is not adequate in different regions. This could be explained by the fact that a personnel training has never been matched to territorial requirements. Thus, in 1997 the number of higher school students per 10 thousand of the population made up 461 in Tashkent to 106 in Samarkand and up to 40-55 students in Dzhezak, Kashkadarya, Namagan, Surkhadarya, Tashkent and Khorezm oblasts. Total number of scientists and engineers doing research work in these oblasts is hardly more than the number of them working at some large research centers of Tashkent and Samarkand.
Scientific, industrial and social institutions and organizations have not properly joined this education process. Mechanisms necessary to develop and implement state education standards are not yet identified. Likewise, state system for attestation and certification of different educational institutions is still waiting to be determined. The current knowledge evaluation system does not prove to be either objective or flexible.
There was no marketing whatsoever in the field of education services and staff training, no multiple financing schemes for education sector. Highly qualified specialists have not been used effectively. The system aimed to control and evaluate education and staff training quality was characterized by poor performance.
One of the serious problems was the qualification of a large number of teachers and educators, their low educational and professional level. The shortage of qualified pedagogical staff was very much expressed. In fact all the problems could be split into two large groups: social-economic and proper pedagogic.
For example, difficult social-economic conditions (prior to radical reforms) create problems for any education sector reforming. Moreover, traditional pedagogic institutes or universities are not oriented at reality and at the variety of recently emerged educational institutions.
This is why the activity of these institutions was not a targeted one, for their graduates were not meant for any special field. This system does not provide for such educational aspect, which should be the key one in the process of pedagogical staff training and retraining. Real situation could be described in the following way: a teacher having graduated from a pedagogic institute or a university and completed qualification upgrading courses did not have adequate knowledge as to the contemporary education content and teaching technology. This was due to the prevailing theoretical direction in their education.
The situation is further aggravated by the shortage of pedagogic personnel.
There are about 18 thousand vacancies within the system of educational institutions. Teachers of mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology are the most wanted ones. It is expected that deficit of these category professionals will continue growing due to the dramatic decrease of enrolment in higher schools of the Republic beginning with 1991 (by the year 1996 the higher schools enrolment number has been cut down by 2,5. Mention should be made that pedagogic and engineering specialties have undergone the most tangible reduction).
In 1997 (prior to the reforms) 71% of general schoolteachers had tertiary education against 78,7% in 1992. 2,8 thousand teachers (9,3%) without tertiary education were engaged in teaching physics and mathematics, 1,9 thousand (9,3%) chemistry and biology, 1,2 thousand (9,3%) geography, 2,0 thousand (9,1%) history, 2,9 thousand (9,3%) Russian language and literature, 4,1 thousand (9,1%) Uzbek language and literature, 1,3 thousand (9,4%) foreign languages. Due to the same reason of staff shortage more than 7,9 thousand people without tertiary pedagogic or secondary special education worked as teachers in the 1-4 grades of basic schools.
Thus, only 20% of teachers and educators working in pre-schools have tertiary education, 71,3% of this category of teachers are working in general secondary schools and 80,3% - in secondary special schools. Doctors of Sciences make up 0,9% of the total number of higher school teachers. In secondary special schools more than 5% of the teaching staff do not have tertiary education which of course has a negative impact upon the quality of training different kinds of specialists.
Salary, living conditions, access to informational and cultural-recreation services such is an incomplete list of issues that are of concern for all the people working in education sphere. These issues are also the reason why many educational workers are leaving education sector and join other economic sectors. This factor determines the shortage of pedagogical staff in the schools of the Republic.
Wages fund of educational workers makes up 30 to 40% of the total education sector budget.
Teaching staff dropout rate determined by the death or pension retirement makes up approximately 5% of the total number of teachers.
Among the Tashkent teachers this number makes up 19%, in Tashkent oblast this figure amounts to 8,5%, in Navojee oblast 7,8%, in Syrdarya oblast 6,9% with the average national rate 2,8%.
According to the assessments made if it were not for the 1997 reform higher and secondary special schools could have met the requirements in teaching staff by 60-65% in the year 2000 and those in deficit specialties by less than 40%. In other words, practically more than 100 thousand positions in general secondary schools will either be taken by unqualified people or will be vacant. In the final end this will have a negative impact on the quality of our future generation education or on the national educational potential as whole.
As a result the quality of education and upbringing children attending pre-schools as well as that of school children was going down. It is quite natural that this situation has a direct impact upon the enrolment of school graduates into higher and secondary special schools.
Why did radical education and training system reforming was initiated in 1997 but not right after Uzbekistan has gained independence or why hasnt it been postponed?
Firstly, given stage-by-stage principle as well as priority of social-economic reforms in the Republic it was found reasonable not to facilitate changes in the sphere of education and staff training without necessary political, social and economic transformations in place and without giving thorough thought to the current status and prospects of country development, its role and place within the international community.
Secondly, all the preconditions necessary for the implementation of strategic breakthrough in training highly qualified competitive personnel have been gradually created alongside with providing strong social policy and state regulation in the field of education development.
Thirdly, in 1997 cardinal changes took place in the field of Uzbekistan social-economic development. These changes became the basis for a new stage, which is characterized by the facilitation of democratic and market economy reforms. These changes raised the issue of radical education and staff training system reforming and also paved the way for its implementation.
Fourthly, and this is the most important thing new values have been formed within society, the values of independence and democracy in which a Man, his rights, freedoms and ideals have become the focus of reforms.
The most essential preconditions for the radical staff training system change were:
Dynamic progress the Republic was making along the way of building a democratic legal state and an open civil society;
Implementation of radical economic changes in the country, consistent national economy restructuring, and reorientation it from raw material direction to the manufactureof competitive final product and to the expansion of country export potential;
Assertion of a persons interests priority, fostering the feeling of patriotism, pride for ones motherland, respect attitude to the rich national cultural-historical traditions and to the intellectual heritage of the people;
Uzbekistans integration into the world community, strengthening its position and prestige in the world.