Prior to the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the Central Asian Republics produced many achievements, including almost universal adult literacy, high school graduation rates, solid levels of student achievement in mathematics and science, and low school dropout rates.
However, since gaining its independence in 1991, the Kyrgyz Republic has faced significant challenges in meeting the educational needs of its citizens. Almost thirty years later, the cumulative effects of insufficient financing, aging or inadequate materials, dilapidated infrastructure, and limited professional capacity among teachers are resulting in poor literacy abilities among youth. In 2014, only 35 percent of children in grade four were reading at their grade level.
USAID focuses on building early grade reading skills in children across Kyrgyzstan to create a foundation for successful and lifelong learning.
Since 2014 we have been working with teachers, school administrators, and families to improve student reading skills. We have been able to reach all public primary schools in the country where a total of 450,000 children attend classes. USAID supports inclusive education efforts to increase access to quality education for children with special needs and ethnic minorities.
USAID also provides assistance to the American University of Central Asia, based in Bishkek, assisting it to become an intellectual hub in the region.
USAID plays a major role in supporting teacher training institutes and financial reforms in education management, helping to introduce modern curricula in math, language, and history courses.
One of the most prominent results of cooperation between USAID and the Ministry of Education and Science has become the National Admission Test. USAID’s technical assistance helped create an innovative and independent testing system, which enables all high school graduates to obtain equal and fair access to higher education based on merit. Since 2012, the National Admission Test has been obligatory for all admission to public and private universities in the country.