UNICEF works to ensure the all children are in school, learning and developing to their full potential.

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The challenge

The country maintains high access to primary and basic secondary education throughout many years. However, the net attendance is lower for upper secondary education (grades 10-11): 59 per cent for boys and 56 per cent for girls.

About six per cent of school age children are out of school.

Mainly they are late entrants, children with disabilities, working boys in rural areas and children of labour migrant families. Due to the weak system of registering and monitoring of children’s enrolment and attendance at school, the real school absenteeism is not sufficiently monitored and gradually leads to poor learning outcomes. More boys and girls leaving education after Grade 9

The quality of education is still a challenge when most of the students demonstrated knowledge and skills below the established standards. The results of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) for 2006 and 2009, as well as the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) for 2007, 2009, 2014 and 2017 revealed:

Over 50 per cent of students in Kyrgyzstan did not reach the basic level of achievement in reading, math and science.

It raises concerns on their ability to “be capable of the basic tasks that will enable them to participate effectively and productively in life”. Poor functional literacy leads to high migration, unemployment and vulnerability of young people, including their susceptibility to criminal behaviour and violent extremism.

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As of 2016, Kyrgyzstan has 1,296 pre-schools and 2,236 schools including 18 special institutions with 1,349,413 children enrolled in total.

More than 80 per cent of schools are in rural areas. The increase in school population for the last five years reported at 16 per cent with urban schools becoming critically overloaded. It has certain implications for wellbeing of children and quality of learning. The Government has been optimizing school network since 2012. However, due to the lack of reliable education information management system with up-to-date school mapping and data on school infrastructure, it does not generate evidence for improvement of education expenditure (6 per cent of GDP) efficiency and system strengthening.

The solution

We recognize that education is a driver of equity, poverty reduction, empowerment, peaceful and inclusive societies and economic growth of Kyrgyzstan. Education is extremely important for children who are out of school or dropping out due to the circumstances which are not of their choice – poverty, disability, stunting, migration, language, child marriage, violence.

We support education system to become sensitive enough to see and respond to the needs of low performers and understand the profiles of children who are at risk of being left behind. Every child should be learning, developing and contributing to their resilient, inclusive and sustainable communities.

UNICEF supports the Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic not only in terms of improving access and quality of education as well as enhancing the effectiveness of education system, but also ensuring the social and emotional development of children and improving the global citizenship skills.

It is necessary to strengthen education system for efficient use of resources

We value that our vision, mission and mandate for children is supported and trusted by the government, communities and development partners. We feel accountable to provide best technical assistance to influence education policy, leverage funds and expertise for greater education inclusion, and support innovative ways to improve access, quality and governance of the education system.

While we support strengthening the entire education system to make it accessible, affordable, inclusive, equitable and efficient, we always keep the focus on participation of the most vulnerable children in quality learning.

UNICEF supports the development of multilingual and multicultural education to ensure social integration of children from vulnerable groups.

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In 2018, UNICEF will conduct connectivity mapping of all schools in Kyrgyzstan, identifying the level and quality of school connection to Internet in order to optimize the education system resources and support the Government in digitalization of education.

UNICEF will continue assistance to functioning of school based education management information system (EMIS) to identify out of school children and at risk of dropout by names and to have every case responded in a timely manner. Also, EMIS will serve as the key tool for informing necessary management decisions, prioritizing the education reforms and optimizing the available resources.

We believe teachers play the key role in improving the quality of learning, therefore it is necessary to improve the efficiency of teachers’ preparation, recruitment, appraisal and motivation systems to enhance teachers’ professionalism.

UNICEF promotes creating inclusive learning environment for all children.

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We want all schools to become inclusive and child-centered for all children including children with disabilities. We help the government to develop and implement inclusive education policy with the robust monitoring of inclusiveness of school environment, teaching and learning processes and quality learning results being achieved.

Comprehensive approach to boost inclusive education in Kyrgyzstan in partnership with interested parties will be undertaken starting from conceptual understanding and all aspects of maintaining integrative and inclusive learning environment based on 14 modules of inclusive education, prepared by the UNICEF Regional Office in Geneva.


These resources on education represent just a small selection of materials produced by UNICEF and its partners in the region. The list is regularly updated to include the latest information:

Infographics: Out-of-school children

Global initiative on out-of-school children

Education equity now

Information Database: education organizations