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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2016 Rep. of Kyrgyzstan: Evaluation of the Multilingual Education Component of the Unity in Diversity Project in Kyrgyzstan

Author: Elise S. Ahn

Executive summary

With the aim to continuously improve transparency and use of evaluation, UNICEF Evaluation Office manages the "Global Evaluation Reports Oversight System (GEROS)". Within this system, an external independent company reviews and rates all evaluation reports. The quality rating scale for evaluation reports is as follows: “Highly Satisfactory”, “Satisfactory”, “Fair” or “Unsatisfactory”. You will find the link to the quality rating below, labelled as ‘Part 2’ of the report, and the executive feedback summary labelled as ‘Part 3’.


This formative evaluation report was commissioned by UNICEF Kyrgyzstan regarding the Multilingual Education (MLE) component of the Unity in Diversity project in the Kyrgyz Republic (KR). The evaluation was conducted between April and June 2016. Its purpose is to “assess the extent to which the project has been implemented efficiently and effectively in order to achieve the broader project goals and UNICEF’s equity agenda.”


The overall aim of the evaluation is to:

  • Generate knowledge regarding the achieved results and shortcomings of the MLE project; and to
  • Develop recommendations for future priorities, potential strategies and interventions.

Its specific objectives are to:

  • Assess the extent to which the Programme has been implemented efficiently and effectively contributing to the goals and objectives of UNICEF’s equity agenda and UN Kyrgyzstan; and
  • Conduct an analysis of how the project is contributing toward fostering an environment enabling broader integration especially of minorities, while promoting the protection of their rights, the break down stereotypes and forms of discrimination.

The purpose of the evaluation is to document and increase the knowledge of results, good practices and lessons learnt regarding closing the equity gap, improving peace and stability in target areas, and providing specific recommendations on how this Programme could be strengthened. Additionally, the evaluation will help UNICEF’s general contribution to enhancing education access and quality in rural and vulnerable communities and the empowerment of children and adolescents. Finally, in 2016, UNICEF will start preparing a new Country Programme. This evaluation aims to provide an opportunity to weigh the achieved results (and challenges) of the MLE Programme in order to make any necessary changes within the auspices of the new Country Programme.  


Evaluation Object
The object of the evaluation is the Multilingual Education (MLE) Programme component, which was part of UNICEF Kyrgyzstan’s Unity in Diversity Project (2014). The Programme was implemented between January 2014 and June 2016. 

Evaluation Project
The Theory of Change informing the MLE Programme was the assumption that if (1) all ethnic groups in Kyrgyzstan speak the state language; (2) have the opportunity to learn their mother tongue(s); (3) know more about different cultures; (4) are aware of minorities’ rights; and (5) can participate on equal footing in public life, Kyrgyz society will become more inclusive and stable—factors which are essential for a peaceful society. 

The evaluation was informed by five criteria delineated by the OECD/DAC: relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability. The evaluation was applied within the framework of UNICEF’s Equity-Based and Human Rights Approach, as well as Results Based Management.  This formative evaluation focused on examining how the pilot Programme was implemented between January 2014 and June 2016. Several data collection methods were used including: document review; key stakeholder interviews; teacher and parent focus groups; student questionnaires; structured school site visits and classroom observations in order to provide representative perspectives and feedback.

Findings and Conclusions:


The Programme priorities and objectives are reflected in the on-going works of the KR Government. The on-going work of the KR Government is also reflected in the Programme priorities and objectives.  

The Programme preparatory design facilitated the involvement of stakeholders at different levels (local, national, and international), enhancing its relevance by integrating their perspective into determining its appropriateness.

Although the Programme has been an explicitly operational phase for six months, different local stakeholders reported that they have seen a variety of results—increased levels of teacher motivation and professionalism, as well as student engagement, and changes in participants’ language practices.

By increasing overall access to quality education, the MLE Programme has the potential to address equity gaps in the KR by meeting the needs of different communities (rural/urban, mono/multi-ethnic).


Although Programme resources were used efficiently and in a timely manner, a number of challenges related to the institutional contexts in which the MLE Programme was implemented emerged which negatively impacted different stakeholders (namely teachers).


By incorporating a socio-cultural component into the MLE Programme and also, by facilitating greater access to the state language by students, teachers, and also parents’, the Programme demonstrates that such work has the potential to build bridges through enabling interpersonal relationships. 


Because the duration of the Programme was short but engaged a multiplicity of stakeholders, it shows strong potential to be sustainable in the long-term; however, the need for more training and development requires further support in the near short-term (3–5 years) at all levels.


Programme has had a positive effect on stakeholder communities which implemented it according to its original design. 


Continue reviewing and evaluating the MoES’ Strategy Plan 2018–2020 with a view to continue and strengthen a MLE approach toward improving the quality and access of compulsory education throughout the KR.

Develop the next phase of the MLE Programme by building on the learnings from the pilot study.

Continue structural reforms in the operational policies of the MoES in order to allow teachers more flexibility and thus, enable them to more fully participate in teacher innovation programmes such as the MLE Programme.

Schedule more trainings for second year teachers that actually provide more theory and training regarding applying CLIL in the classroom, review materials (videos/audio) and integrate learnings into first year lessons for teachers, and add a teacher evaluation training component for school administrators.
Develop a Behaviour Change Communication Strategy (campaign) to raise awareness of MLE among parents and communities regarding the purpose and benefit of MLE and to encourage their continued support and participation in the programme, as well as mobilizing collective action in support of the programme.

Conduct careful sociolinguistics research in order to get a more robust sense of how language access and practices are changing among young people in the KR.

Conduct longitudinal studies about students’ education and career aspirations to see the long-term impact of MLE on students particularly from rural and under-resourced areas.

Lessons Learned:

Lesson 1: The thoughtful, multi-level programme design had an overall positive effect on the Programme’s implementation.

Lesson 2: Using the national and sub-national goals of the KR to frame the Programme increased the sustainability of the Programme by fostering support in different government offices.

Lesson 3: The effectiveness of the Programme was constrained by larger structural and operational issues within the KR Education System.

Lesson 4:  The effectiveness and impact of the Programme itself correlated to the degree of comprehensive stakeholder engagement and support.

Lesson 5: Although the Programme was informed by the events of June 2010, other cleavages in KR society exist and should be engaged with in order to facilitate greater inclusion for communities that are situated in multiple vulnerable and/or high-risk categories.

Lesson 6: Long-term change requires stakeholder engagement beyond the duration of the Programme.

Full report in PDF

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Report information


Republic of Kyrgyzstan




OSCE High Commission on National Minorities


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