The sector development program (SDP) will support the government's plans to improve school education quality as enunciated in the Education Development Strategy for 2012-2020, and the National Strategy for Sustainable Development launched in 2013, which recognizes the quality of education as one of the most reliable indicators of the future development of any nation . The SDP is reflected in the draft COBP 2014-2016 and in the draft KGZ CPS 2013-17. The SDP will also support the Kyrgyz Republic's plans to join the European Higher Education Area and steps taken to implement the Bologna 3-cycle academic process, curriculum development for a Master degree program in pedagogy and supporting reforms in the quality assurance system.
The program component under the SDP will include: (i) creation of an independent curriculum and textbooks review mechanism in MOES by establishing a consultative council; (ii) approval of quality assurance standards and accreditation system for pedagogy programs; (iii) regulations for delivery of MA/MS program in pedagogy in universities; (iv) defining e-education standards for institutions providing distance education option to students; (v) establishing a school development fund to rehabilitate selected schools; and (vi) strengthening community participation in schools. The SDP will aim to create sustainable reforms process and accrual of long term benefits to the country.
The investment component under the SDP will aim at improving the quality of education, including support for: (i) full implementation of curricula developed under the SEP; (ii) development and printing of LTMs for grades 7 9 and teacher training for the new curriculum; (iii) strengthened pre- and in-service teacher training systems; (iv) improved learning environment in selected innovative resource schools through showcasing of reforms and provision of additional infrastructure; (v) support for a Bologna process compliant quality assurance system for pedagogical programs; (vi) improved community participation in schools; and (vii) consultancy services, studies, surveys, and stakeholder consultation workshops.
Textbook printing, financed by the project component will follow implementation of an effective textbook rental scheme and commitment to reprint textbooks using textbook revolving fund. In March 2013, the World Bank approved the Sector Support for Education Reform Project for Kyrgyz Republic. This $16.5 million project will primarily focus on primary and lower secondary education and support improved learning outcomes in the education sector including improved teacher training, revision of curricular, printing and provision of learning and teaching materials up to grade 6. The SDP will be developed in close coordination with the World Bank project to ensure synergies and support.
Impact, Outcome, and Outputs
The impact will be strengthened and coherently functioning school education system in Kyrgyz Republic. The outcome will be learning environment and key quality aspects of school education improved in Kyrgyz Republic. The four outputs are: (i) curricula and LTMs for secondary schools developed, piloted, and printed; (ii) improved access to quality teacher education and training programs; (iii) improved learning environment in innovative resource schools; and (iv) greater community involvement in school management.
|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
Students, classrooms, textbooks, learning and teaching materials, curricula, and most importantly the teachers, along with mechanisms of development and interaction between these components, together constitute the system responsible for educating the nation's children. Previous Asian Development Bank (ADB) projects, including the Second Education Project (SEP) and support from other development partners, have strengthened key components of this system in the Kyrgyz Republic. SEP helped develop a new education curriculum focusing on improvement of teaching methodologies and learning assessment, and supported learning and development and printing of learning and teaching materials (LTM) for grade 1. Low fiscal space in the budget forced the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic to reduce the pace of reform implementation. Consequently textbooks are yet to be developed and printed for grades 5 11 and teachers need to be trained to deliver the new curriculum.
Following independence in 1991, the Kyrgyz Republic has focused on improving education quality in schools. However, low teacher quality and ineffective teaching practices remain key variables that have a significant bearing on the weak learning attainment endemic in the education system. A low-quality education system, inadequately linked to the national growth plans and private sector, neither allows for an optimal realization of the socio-economic development of the country nor leads to sustainable reforms. A sector development program (SDP) is therefore proposed to tackle the problem in a holistic manner. Lessons learned from SEP implementation will benefit the SDP design which will have two parallel and interacting components a program component to focus on policy reforms and a project component to target key interventions and investments in the education sector. By focusing on all critical elements of the school education system, along with the linkages between these elements, the proposed SDP is expected to have a significant impact on the performance of the school education system of the country. The decision to process an SDP is based on lessons learned and recommendations from SEP implementation. The draft project completion report for SEP is under preparation. Lessons learned are: (i) ensure full government commitment to support/fund reforms; (ii) curriculum reform to include its critical components (teacher training, learning and teaching materials etc.); and (iii) ensure comprehensive due diligence, compact design with accurate cost and time estimates. The recommendations are: (i) effective follow up to ensure adoption of new curricula and learning methodologies; (ii) reform Kyrgyz Academy of Education's conflicting role in curriculum approval, textbook development and production; and (iii) focus on policy reform to ensure sustainable reforms.
Teachers are the fundamental building block of a country's education system and are the key to its success. Long-term, sustainable reform of school education will only occur when the curricula for in- and pre-service teacher training incorporate new teaching methodologies and learning assessment systems. This requires the relevant university and teacher training institute (TTI) faculty to be abreast of the latest research and developments in pedagogy applicable to the Kyrgyz context. Teacher trainers also must have the qualifications and training to conduct the requisite programs. There is an acute shortage of active, qualified teachers in the Kyrgyz Republic. In 2011 2012 school year the teacher deficit was 4%, while 1,264 out of the country's 2,204 schools experienced teacher shortages. This occurs especially in science where the lack of sufficient laboratories, teaching aids, and materials is compounded by the absence of appropriately qualified teachers. The move towards introduction of integrated science subjects in secondary grades will help improve the situation to some degree, but there is an urgent need for qualified science teachers. Technology-assisted e-education modules can provide a high quality distance education option to aspiring teachers and, together with existing programs, present a viable option to improve access to high quality in- and pre-service teacher education and training programs.
The low preparatory level of secondary school students is real and pervasive across the country and leads to dropouts of many new entrants to universities. Those that enter the workplace fare no better and face high levels of unemployment. Kyrgyz students ranked last in math, science, and reading among nations that participated in the 2006 and 2009 rounds of the Program for International Student Assessment. This phenomenon is reported to be getting worse each year across the higher education system. There is also significant disparity in test scores between students living in cities and those who reside outside the main urban areas. Lack of access to requisite quality human resources can significantly impact development achievements and growth in the country.
The quality of higher education and its relevance to the economy are currently of greatest concern to the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic. The enrollment distribution by discipline in higher education does not support the government's aspirations to prioritize development of mining, construction, telecommunications, agriculture and processing, information and communication technology, focusing on innovation and entrepreneurship. The majority (77%) of students are enrolled in humanities and social sciences, with only 23% pursuing technical options. To provide support to and increase the number of students pursuing technical streams requires the availability of modern curricula at the upper secondary level.