Reviews of National Policies for Education

1990-0198 (online)
1563-4914 (print)
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Reviews of National Policies for Education offer customised, in-depth analysis and advice to assist policy makers in developing and implementing education policy. Individual reviews can focus on a specific policy area, a particular level of education or a country’s entire education system. These reviews are conducted at the request of the country concerned.

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Reviews of National Policies for Education: Kyrgyz Republic 2010

Reviews of National Policies for Education: Kyrgyz Republic 2010

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30 Nov 2010
9789264088757 (PDF) ;9789264088740(print)

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The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a highly influential instrument for monitoring the quality of education systems and provides a strong evidence base for informed policy making and education research. PISA also has a proven potential to trigger reforms and stimulate stakeholder involvement in the process.

Notwithstanding the importance of its ranking, the full strength of PISA unfolds when data it delivers is utilised in the national policy domain. Linking PISA outcomes and policy choices, and monitoring the impact on education quality is thereby a demanding task, which requires sound analytical capacity, and also knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of the respective education system. The OECD Directorate for Education addresses the demand of non-member economies for policy support in understanding and analysing PISA data in the broader context of education system management and policy formulation. 

This report explains the reasons for the dramatically low performance of Kyrgyz students in the 2006 PISA survey, despite significant resources and efforts invested in education by schools, parents and government. The report reveals that a number of policy areas are in need of urgent attention and recommends ways to close the currently existing gap between aspirations and education reform achievement. 

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  • Foreword
    In the Kyrgyz Republic education is widely perceived as key to development and to the prosperity of the young generations. Supported by the development partners, the Kyrgyz authorities are planning and implementing an ambitious reform agenda, and parents are investing a substantial part of their family’s budget in the education of their children.
  • Acronyms
  • Executive summary
    Education reforms have been a persistent element in the political and social development of the Kyrgyz Republic since the first years of its gaining independence in 1991. The effort to establish a new political structure, to cope with a changing economic environment, to build a new civic and social order is still underway, demanding much of the financial and human resources of the country and the attention of its policy makers.
  • Introduction
    This chapter gives a brief overview of the economic, political and demographic background of the Kyrgyz Republic and its educational context, and outlines the rationale, structure and main findings of the present report.
  • Patterns of educational expenditure with comparative perspectives
    This chapter compares the patterns of education expenditures in the Kyrgyz Republic to other countries at all levels of the education system. It also looks at the transfers from central government to poorer regions.
  • Governance and management of the system
    This chapter examines changes of recent years in the governance and administration of the system. It explores the relation between the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Education and Science, the rayons and the local and municipal authorities, and looks into the forward planning capacities of the education system. The review team expresses serious concerns about the lack of capacity within the MOES to assess the systems’ needs and to monitor reforms, and gives recommendations on improvements to make governance, management and associated financing more efficient.
  • Early childhood care and pre-school education
    The provision of early childhood education and care varies widely between rural and urban areas. This chapter looks at the issues concerning ECEC, pre- and inservice training and curriculum. It also gives an overview of donor assistance and offers recommendations.
  • Curriculum, textbooks and learning materials
    This chapter discusses the State Educational Standards (SES), the teaching plans and the syllabuses as main elements of education content (curriculum) in Kyrgyzstan. It also examines the supply, financing, adequacy and development procedures for textbooks and learning materials. The reviewers identify a number of issues related to the structure, conceptual basis and content of the curriculum which seriously impede student achievement and the quality of teaching and learning. The chapter outlines a set of problems related also to textbooks and learning materials which are inadequate to support the curriculum, are in short supply and, where available, are often out of date. The chapter suggests ways to make the curriculum more flexible and coherent, and recommends improvements in the supply mechanisms of learning materials.
  • Assessment and examinations
    This chapter outlines the current assessment instruments applied in the Kyrgyz Republic and the roles of the Kyrgyz Academy of Education and National Testing Centre. It offers recommendations on how to better align the assessment process to include formative assessment and university entrance exams. It also looks at Kyrgyzstan’s participation in international, comparative sample based surveys such as PISA, PIRLS and TIMSS.
  • Access and equity, including provision for children with special education needs
    This chapter looks at access and equity issues: the urban/rural divide; general secondary and vocational education tracks; and the risk of dropping out. It also covers the provision of education for children at risk and those with disabilities and discusses integrated and inclusive learning. Finally, the chapter recapitulates the open issues and recommends policy measures for addressing them.
  • Vocational education and training and adult education
    This chapter gives a thorough overview of initial and secondary professional and adult education in the Kyrgyz Republic. It discusses options for raising the efficiency of the sector and its quality, its responsiveness to the needs of the labour market, and its significance as a pathway which should be transparent and permeable to the education continuum for a growing number of youngsters and adults in Kyrgyzstan, ensuring lifelong professional and personal development.
  • The teaching career and teacher education
    Teaching as a career in the Kyrgyz Republic is experiencing major problems which, if not addressed, will undermine other efforts at educational reform. Teacher salaries are low, amounting to about only 60% of the average wage for the country: teaching is an ageing profession and an unattractive career choice for prospective students, and retention of good teachers, especially in subjects such as mathematics, sciences, IT, languages proves to be very difficult. The chapter also discusses teacher training, the quality of which is found to vary greatly. The review team recommends attributing teachers a high priority in the reform agenda, and suggests reform steps including a re-appraisal of teacher training in terms of provision, content, methodology, evaluation and staffing.
  • Higher education and research
    Since 1992, higher education in the Kyrgyz Republic has gone through profound changes. Student numbers have increased massively (from 10% to almost 50% of their age cohorts) with almost half of them studying in some form of distance or part-time arrangements. Public Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) have become hugely dependent on private fees. Although the great majority of students attend public HEIs, less than 20% receive state aid, a large proportion of which is earmarked for teacher training. The absence of a strategy for the development of the sector has meant that there has been no evolution of appropriate quality assurance or of accountability mechanisms for HEIs. Science and research activities are spread among a myriad of small institutes run by the Academy of Science and the line Ministries or within the HEIs, thus fatally dissipating the very small amount of funding available for research. The chapter briefly describes the system, raises some critical issues and suggests policy options for discussion on what kind of system is appropriate at a time when the country urgently needs to improve its competitiveness through the availability of well educated human capital.
  • Conclusions and strategic recommendations for action
    This chapter summarises the main findings of the report and the factors that the team considers to have led to the unsatisfactory PISA performance of Kyrgyz students. The chapter lists discreet recommendations with the aim of highlighting a number of overarching, strategic directions for reformative action. The focus should be on improving the quality of the education provided, and on ensuring that administrators and practitioners have the capacity to meet their responsibilities.
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