The Kyrgyz Republic expands access to quality early childhood education

See how the BELDS initiative, the early learning program supported by GPE and UNICEF, has helped the Kyrgyz Republic improve early childhood education. With this support, the country is one step closer to reaching the ambitious goal of 80% of children in preschool this year.

April 20, 2020 by Nadira Dzhusupbekova, Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic
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5 minutes read
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Credit: Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan
Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan

The Kyrgyz Republic has made great strides in improving early childhood education (ECE) in the last decade, reaching 39% of all 3 to 5–year-old children in 2018,1 from just 19% in 2010.2

Despite current gaps in access and the forecasted increase in birth rate in the coming years,3 Kyrgyzstan is working towards an ambitious goal: to increase the coverage of children with preschool education to 80% by 2022.

To achieve this vision, it is crucial for us to consider a dynamic, systematic and comprehensive approach to strengthening our pre-primary system that is anchored in principles of efficiency and equity. The GPE and UNICEF supported BELDS initiative is helping us do just that.

A key priority of the Education Development Strategy

We recognize that ECE is an integral part of the education sector, which is why the Ministry of Education has elevated ECE as a key priority under the Education Development Strategy (EDS) for 2021-2040, currently being finalized.

We want to make sure that ECE is well reflected in the EDS and the next Education Action Plan (EAP) for 2021-2023 to ensure that our strategies and activities are well-articulated, and that we have the capacity and resources for full implementation.

These efforts have been supported through our country’s participation in the Better Early Learning and Development at Scale (BELDS) Initiative.

BELDS kicks off in Kyrgyzstan

BELDS launched in Bishkek in March 2019, with a diagnostic workshop to identify and analyze key priorities for ECE.

We examined key challenges – access, equity, quality, governance – and brainstormed on strategies and activities that could address them to integrate new solutions into the EDS and EAP.

 “I used the diagnostic tool for the first time; it turned out to be surprisingly simple and flexible to use and opened up great opportunities for systematizing priority areas and in building policy measures according to our priorities.” Evgenia Boyko, Head of the Monitoring and Strategic Planning Department of MOES

The workshop built a common understanding among a range of stakeholders and served to develop our capacity.

Participants in the workshop on financing: Work group presentation by representative of the Ministry of Economy of the Kyrgyz Republic
Participants in the workshop on financing: Work group presentation by representative of the Ministry of Economy of the Kyrgyz Republic
Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic

Prioritizing quality, inclusive preschool is now the guiding principle for the ECE Technical Working Group (TWG) that was established to contribute to the EDS and EAP, helping to ensure that views, perspectives and hopes from all relevant stakeholders are sought throughout the planning process and captured in these policy documents.

Similar diagnostic workshops were held at the district level to validate findings from the national workshop and ensure a decentralized approach and ownership of ECE.

Ms. Nadira Dzhusupbekova, the Deputy Minister, Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic;  Ms. Yukie Mokuo, former UNICEF Representative in the Kyrgyz Republic. March 2019 launch of the ECE diagnostic workshop, Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic
Ms. Nadira Dzhusupbekova, the Deputy Minister, Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic;
Ms. Yukie Mokuo, former UNICEF Representative in the Kyrgyz Republic. March 2019 launch of the ECE diagnostic workshop, Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic.
Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic

The BELDS capacity building approach helped ensure that the process for strengthening ECE is aligned with the broader strategy development process and guidelines.

The goal of this work is to achieve complementarity, coordination and coherence between the ECE elements and the other subsectors’ components.

Addressing the financing challenge: Building budgets for better early learning

Capacity building activities under BELDS throughout 2019-2020 also helped enrich knowledge and develop national capacities to effectively and efficiently plan and budget for inclusive and quality ECE at scale.

The compounded effect of inadequate financing, ineffective budget utilization and weak management capacity have limited the extent to which the system can expand access and improve the quality of preschool services.

During another workshop, we identified the following recommendations:

  1. The existing budget system for the pre-primary subsector should provide a clear picture of the efficiency and result-based use of the funds.
  2. There needs to be stronger and more effective interagency communication and coordination in forecasting and planning the budget for ECE.
  3. Although the amount of budgetary funding for education is one of the largest in the country, the effectiveness and efficiency in the use of available funds should be examined.
  4. There needs to be systematic mechanisms to track formal and informal payments by the population for preschool education.

“This workshop provided an opportunity to think about how to effectively use the allocated financial resources for the preschool education of the district. We will open kindergartens and development centers for children to stay part-time. I plan to conduct trainings for my colleagues and will hold an analysis of the financing of kindergartens in the district and if there is a saving, we will open a kindergarten in a remote village,” said Baktykan Duyshobaeva, Chief Accountant of the District Education Department of the Bazar-Korgon district of the Jalal-Abad region.

For Asel Zhaynakova, Financial Manager of Issyk-Kul district department, from Kara-Oy village, the participatory approach was appreciated: “At the workshop, I learned that forecasting and planning the budget is very important at all levels of preschool education, helping to improve the management of financial resources.”.

Building momentum for ECE

The BELDS approach has played a key role in ensuring that key ECE priorities, strategies and activities are well-articulated in our next strategy and plan. Once these policy documents and associated budgets are given final approval, the MOES will focus on their implementation.

As part of the steps for effective implementation, key findings and recommendations that emerged from the financing workshops will be disseminated in our Ministry to further determine financing policies and practices for the preschool subsector.

Another key task is the development of a reliable comprehensive national system for quality assurance of preschool education programs.

Thanks to the BELDS approach, we are one step closer to reaching our ambitious goal: 80% of children in preschool by 2020, followed by universal access to preschool soon after.

Kyrgyzstan is ready to learn and to ensure the we build education that lasts for generations to come. 

  1. UNICEF, MICS 2018
  2. National Statistics Committee (2010)
  3. Kyrgyzstan Education Sector Analysis 2019
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Europe and Central Asia: Kyrgyz Republic

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SITUATION ACTUELLE QUE LE MONDE ENTIER TRAVERSE OBLIGE DES COURS EN LIGNE DANS DES PAYS SUPER NUMERISES A DISPENSER DES COURS EN LIGNE.MALHEURESEMENT NOMBREUX PAYS AFRICAINS NE PEUVENT ADAPTER DES COURS EN LIGNE AU CAUSE DES
LACUNES QU ILS ENTRAÎNENT.LE MIEUX EST DE DISTRIBUER DES COURS BIEN RESUMES PHOTOCOPIES AUX ÉLÈVES.

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