To provide fair, transparent and equal access to higher education in the Kyrgyz Republic, the independent Center for Educational Assessment and Teaching Methods developed the National Scholarship Test (NST) in 2002, the results of which solely determine a student’s admission to university. However, widespread reports of corruption during the admissions period suggest that students and parents are allegedly required to "buy" entry into state institutions of higher education.
At most state universities, the results of the NST are manually entered into a database, which usually takes at least one day due to the limited number of computers and scanners and provides opportunities for officials to solicit bribes and manipulate the results.
At Osh State University (OSU), students would often wait days to learn the results of the enrollment process, a period that provided the potential for corruption. The situation changed during registration for the 2013-2014 academic year.
"This year, for the first time in Kyrgyzstan, in order to reduce the level of corruption in a just, democratic way, the enrollment process for all entrants was open, clear, broad and transparent,” said Kanybek Isakov, the rector of OSU.
Acknowledging the risk for corruption during the admissions process, OSU started accepting exam results through an automated system in 2013, which decreased the time needed to make them public from 24 hours to only minutes. To support this national initiative to increase transparent university admissions and reduce corruption, USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives provided OSU with computers and bar code scanners, which allow NST results to be entered and read electronically in real time on the OSU admissions website.
“Once we register and submit the national exam results, the registration results are immediately available on screens located outside of the hall. This is really convenient for applicants,” said one parent during enrollment at OSU.
“I liked the enrollment procedures at OSU because I can check and see my results online even from home,” said graduate Akinay Topchubayeva.
The introduction of the new transparent admissions procedures has increased applications to OSU by 25 percent. The successful initiative has caught the attention of the Ministry of Education, which is now promoting the approach at state universities nationwide.
Last updated: August 19, 2014