Ministry of Public Education and UNICEF step up efforts to improve basic education quality
TASHKENT, Uzbekistan, 17 March 2011 – A day-long round table meeting of national experts from different sectors was held today to come with recommendations for the development of a comprehensive package of guidelines on improving the quality of basic education and learning environments in Uzbekistan.
The round table was organized by the Ministry of Public Education and UNICEF and brought together representatives of state ministries of public and higher education, economy, finance, health, labour and social protection, pedagogical institutions, international organizations, donors and other stakeholders to review factors that influence the quality of education. They also identified steps to align quality standards with the best international practices and standards.
"UNICEF has always worked closely with the Ministry of Public Education to introduce modern education methods in Uzbekistan. We are happy to now work together to strengthen the principles of Quality Basic Education for children and their teachers throughout Uzbekistan," said Marilyn Hoar, UNICEF Chief of Education at the opening.
One of the international frameworks to improve the quality of education systems is the Child-Friendly Schools (CFS) approach which was developed by UNICEF and partners after the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.
The CFS concept places the child at the centre of the education process and measures the quality of education through dimensions such as effectiveness, health, safety, protection, participation, gender responsiveness and inclusiveness. In other words, it ensures that schools have relevant curricula and materials for the acquisition of basic skills and use child-centered teaching and learning methods; that school environments are healthy, safe, and protective and children at every education level learn to their fullest potential.
Over the last decade many countries around the world, including Uzbekistan, adapted the CFS framework to fit their needs. In Uzbekistan, through a collaborative effort among the Ministry of Public Education, UNICEF, In-service Teacher Training Institute and pedagogical institutes, the child-centered education concept was successfully implemented in 1,000 schools in the Republic of Karakalpakstan, Khorezm, Fergana, Navoi, Samarkand, Jizzak, Tashkent regions, and Tashkent city and contributed to the improvement of quality and efficiency of basic education. The child-centered education principles have also been integrated into the curricula of all teacher training institutes and resource centres that opened in five regions to provide pedagogical support to trained teachers.
This comprehensive concept of quality has facilitated the country’s transition to a child-centered educational environment. It has also helped create conditions for a decentralized school management through close collaboration between the school, family, and community. The development and adoption of standard guidelines for an optimal learning environment is based on suitable conditions, adequate resources and efficient pedagogical processes.
Today’s round table marks a step forward in assessing more effectively the quality of the educational system and in monitoring the academic and social progress of students. It will also contribute to evaluating education reforms.