Kyrgyzstan faces major challenges in meeting the educational needs of its citizens. Prior to the fall of the Soviet Union, the Central Asian Republics produced many achievements, including almost universal adult literacy, strong high school graduation rates, solid levels of student achievement in mathematics and science, and low school dropout rates. After 1991, and Kyrgyzstan’s newfound independence, its educational systems suffered major upheavals, resulting in a dramatic loss of financial resources. With the subsequent political changes, the educational system has had difficulty maintaining the content and structures of its teaching practices, assessment methodologies, and curriculum development. The times have changed, but the education system has not kept pace.
In 2002, USAID assistance to Kyrgyz Republic’s basic and higher education began to directly address these systemic weaknesses in the national education program. USAID has supported successful education reforms beginning with a nationwide program to improve teacher training and develop a network of professional development schools. USAID has provided assistance to the American University of Central Asia, based in Bishkek, assisting it to become an intellectual hub of the region. USAID plays a major role in supporting teacher training institutes and financial reforms in education management. USAID has also supported modern curriculum development in math, language, and history courses and provided technical assistance to establish the National Admission Test (NAT). Thanks to the partnership of USAID with the Ministry of Education, all high school graduates receive equal and fair access to pursue higher education based on merit. Since 2012, NAT became obligatory for admission to public and private universities.
USAID now focuses on building early grade reading skills in children across Kyrgyzstan, to create a foundation for successful lifelong learning. USAID supports the Kyrgyz Republic’s 2012 – 2020 Education Development Strategy by working with 7,500 teachers — who collectively reach 60 percent of the Kyrgyz Republic’s primary grade student population — to improve student reading levels in the country.
USAID Education Programs:
- AUCA Moving Forward (September 2010 - October 2015)
- Quality Reading Program (July 2013 - June 2017)
- National Admissions Testing (2002 - 2013)
- Education Loan Program (2009-2012)
- Sapattuu Bilim (2007-2012)
Last updated: October 30, 2015