Kyrgyzstan has been transitioning into its own government after the rule of the Soviet Union, which ended in 1991. Throughout the 1990s, Kyrgyzstan struggled economically due to a decline in production output after the termination of its reliance on the USSR’s industrial regulations.
Due to the country’s difficult economic history, there is a high poverty rate among its citizens; 22 percent of the population lives on less than $2 per day and 41 percent live below the poverty line. Due to the difficult economic situation in Kyrgyzstan, education in Kyrgyzstan has not been a priority. Here are five facts about education in Kyrgyzstan:
1. Low Employment Leads to Low Demand for Education
Due to the low employment rates, citizens of Kyrgyzstan saw less of a value for education after 1991. As a result, the government lowered the required education to nine years while changing other educational policies. Recently, the government has been re-investing itself in education, increasing educational spending and increasing access to education.
2. Decreasing Enrollment
The enrollment in Kyrgyzstan’s pre-primary schools is 10 percent; 87 percent for primary schools, 80 percent for secondary schools and 37 percent for tertiary schools. Throughout the past five years, these numbers have decreased. It is possible that this is due to the 2007 decree that a school uniform is mandatory for all students. Many families are unable to afford this uniform.
3. The Urban-Rural Gap
There is not a significant gender gap in education. There is, however, a gap in urban versus rural access to education. For secondary school, there are 6 percent fewer children attending in rural areas than in urban areas.
4. Struggling Academic Performance
In 2006, Kyrgyzstan scored 57 out of 57 countries for educational performance in reading, mathematics and science.
5. Low Teaching Wages
The student to teacher ration in Kyrgyzstan is one student to 24 teachers. In addition, teachers are paid less than 40 percent of the average national earnings.
Although Kyrgyzstan has been reforming its education — such as a $12.7 million grant to improve preschools — the country has many reforms left to be made in order to improve the quality of education offered to its citizens.
— Lily Tyson
Sources: 24 News Agency, UNICEF, Ministry for Education
Photo: Partnerships in Action