EDUCATION IN THE KYRGYZ REPUBLIC
Education is one of Kyrgyzstan’s priority areas that will be a key factor in determining the development of the country. According to the UN Sustainable Development Goal until 2030, the provision of quality education is one of the most important components of development. Education in the Kyrgyz Republic is aimed at developing the abilities of its human resources, as well as performing two large-scale tasks. First, the preservation and further development of national identity, national values, cultural identity and diversity in the context of globalization. Secondly, integration into the world’s educational system, whilst retaining national identity.
In the context of globalization, the country’s education is already focused on training specialists who will be in demand not only in the domestic economy, but also in the global labour market. In this regard, the requirements for the quality of education are increasing in order to increase the competitiveness of the education system in the global educational space.
In recent years, the labour market has reacted quickly to the changes taking place in the world and places high demands on individual professions. These include professions in the following areas: robotics, biotechnology, IT technologies and nanotechnology. It is clear that it is urgently and decisively necessary to introduce cardinal changes into the education system. The whole world is looking towards “4.0 Industry” technology, where the boundaries of technological, digital and biological spheres will be levelled. “4.0 Industry” is the outcome of the third industrial revolution and the emergence of new innovations. For society to keep pace it must direct all efforts to develop its education system in a new direction.
In this regard, the Kyrgyz education system is increasingly faced with the need to improve computer literacy among teachers and students, improve educational infrastructure (taking into account digital technologies), strengthen distance and other forms of education through a changing technological environment.
With this in mind, most recently, on August 16, 2023, a new law “On Education” was adopted in Kyrgyzstan, which aims to reform the institute of education to improve the quality of educational services provided to the population. According to the law, among the principles of educational policy are the independence of education from political and religious institutions and the secular nature of education in state and municipal educational organizations.
The new law makes primary and secondary general education mandatory levels of education for citizens of the Kyrgyz Republic until the 11th grade. If a student wants to leave after the 9th grade, they must enroll in a college or technical school. In order to prepare competitive youth, to master specialized skills when graduating from a general education organization, specialized training is included in school education.
Kyrgyzstan is a state with a young and educated population, where 30% are children under 15 years old. Every fifth able-bodied resident of the country has a higher or incomplete higher education, every eighth person has a specialized secondary education. According to the UN, in 2025 Kyrgyzstan will reach its maximum population growth at 5.92%. Accordingly, from 2028 the maximum burden will fall on kindergartens, and from 2032 the maximum burden will shift to schools of the Kyrgyz Republic.
Accordingly, the demographic situation will exert increasing pressure on the development of infrastructure, which will require a proactive policy of building social facilities to maintain the coverage of children and the population as a whole to improve the quality of education. An increase in the number of students inevitably entails an increase in the burden on teachers, which creates the need for a proactive policy of attracting and training teaching staff not only in quantitative, but also in qualitative areas.
Currently, there are 2,353 schools in Kyrgyzstan, 191 of them private, the number of students from grades 1 to 11 is 1.4 million children. The number of teachers is just under 83,000.
As part of the large-scale state support provided in recent years, intensive construction of new preschool institutions, secondary schools and higher educational institutions has been carried out in all regions of the country, growth points are being formed, infrastructure, including technological infrastructure, is being developed, the most modern information and communication technologies, schools and universities are equipped with modern computer technology and multimedia teaching tools. In the context of the formation of an industrially developed economy in the country, special attention will be paid to the support of scientific and technical initiatives.
Much attention is also paid to the quality and qualifications of the teaching staff of schools throughout the country. The prestige and role of the teacher increases. For the first time since independence, the salaries of the country’s teachers have been increased by more than double and the government doesn’t stop there. There are clear plans to further increase both the importance and prestige of the teaching profession in both public life and material encouragement.
An example of a new type of education is the presidential Lyceum “Akylman” in Cholpon-Ata, where the best students from all regions of the country study according to the most advanced educational methods. There will be more such educational institutions in Kyrgyzstan.
Favorable conditions are being created to support and stimulate talented young people in the field of science and technology. A centre for young scientists has been created. International scientific cooperation continues to be important. The education of the younger generation in the spirit of mutual respect and respect for other cultures is carried out through the teaching of national culture and intercultural international dialogue.
As for the higher education system, it is a network of 63 higher professional institutions, of which the share of private educational institutions is growing.
As part of the optimization of the activities of state universities and specialties in Kyrgyzstan, the process of consolidation of higher educational institutions has begun on the basis of the unification of several higher educational institutions. For example, the leading British universities – Cambridge and Oxford – are quite large, concentrating huge financial, material and intellectual resources. A large university always means more opportunities to create laboratories, to attract scientists, to recruit scientific personnel, to increase the publication activity of teachers, to participate in major projects, to improve the financial situation of the university. As a result the number of state universities has decreased from 33 to 28 universities to improve the economies of scale.
Last year, 5 state universities of the country (KNU named after Zh. Balasagyn, KSTU named after I. Razzakov, KNAU named after K.I.Scriabin, KSMU named after I.Akhunbayev and OSH State University) received special status, including providing them with broad organizational, financial and academic autonomy. The ambition is the entry of universities into the top 500 international rankings within 5 years, the passage of international program and/or institutional accreditation, and the establishment of universities as research centers to stimulate economic development in relevant industries with the integration of education, science and production.
For its part, the State promotes the expansion of opportunities and access to education within the framework of more than 28 intergovernmental commissions, about 10 intergovernmental agreements annually provide Kyrgyz citizens with free education abroad. To date, solid ties have been established in the educational sphere with more than 70 countries of the world, including the UK. Kyrgyzstan is also becoming a regional educational hub. With a total number of students of more than 230,000 people, more than 80,000 of them are international students from more than 70 countries.
In order to integrate Kyrgyzstan more widely into the global educational space, the priorities are to further improve the quality of education, create and provide adequate infrastructure and educational services, improve the environment for foreign students, expand and develop interuniversity contacts with leading foreign universities.
His Excellency Mr. Ulan Djusupov
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
of the Kyrgyz Republic to the United Kingdom
of Great Britain and Northern Ireland