Government and UNICEF celebrates the fifth anniversary of the creation of Child Development Centres based on public libraries

Child Development Centres currently function in 150 public libraries across the country, benefiting to more than 5000 children.

30 May 2023
The Ministry of Culture, Information, Sports and Youth Policy, the Ministry of Education and Science, and UNICEF conducted the Republican Forum on Early Childhood Development with the participation of 300 librarians.
UNICEF/Kyrgyzstan/2023/ Rufat Ergeshov
The Ministry of Culture, Information, Sports and Youth Policy, the Ministry of Education and Science, and UNICEF conducted the Republican Forum on Early Childhood Development with the participation of 300 librarians.

BISHKEK, 30 May 2023 - Ahead of International Children's Day on June 1st, the Ministry of Culture, Information, Sports and Youth Policy, the Ministry of Education and Science, and UNICEF conducted the Republican Forum on Early Childhood Development with the participation of 300 librarians and pre-school workers across the country to mark the fifth anniversary of the first Child Development Center. The event was chaired by Mr. Edil Baisalov, the Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers.

Rooted in the reform of Kyrgyzstan’s early childhood development system, the government has opened 150 Child Development Centres in seven oblasts, which are located within the premises of existing public libraries. Over 5,000 children aged from 1 to 6 years are regular users of the Centres.

Nowadays, only 24 per cent of preschool children are covered by preschool education. This is a very low figure. Therefore, the opening of 150 Centres at libraries have supported over 5,000 children to receive preschool education. We plan to open an additional 50 Centres every year”, stated Toktobubu Ashimbayeva, the Deputy Minister of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic.

These Centres are spaces in which trained librarians engage parents and children in early childhood development activities and provide training to caregivers so that they can develop positive, responsive relationships with their children. Not only children benefit from educational sessions, but parents and caregivers also gain knowledge and skills to continue providing stimulation and developmental activities for their young children.

There are 1,068 libraries in Kyrgyzstan, with over 3,000 librarians. Thus, together with the Ministry of Education, we plan to expand the work of the Centres in remote and hard-to-reach areas”, shared Ainura Askarova, Deputy Minister of Culture, Information, Sports and Youth Policy of the Kyrgyz Republic.

The Centres have been operating since 2018. A total of 300 librarians have benefited from training conducted by the Ministry of Education while the sustainability of the Centres is ensured by the Ministry of Culture, which allocates the necessary budget for librarians’ salaries.

The child early years are the most critical for brain development, as the brain grows up to 80 per cent of its adult size by the age of 6. This is why it is so critical to invest in young children education and development. Economists suggest that every US$1 invested in early childhood development generates approximately US$7 of income for society. But we do not need only financial investment by the Government. Parents and caregivers need to also invest attention and time to play with children and organize educational activities”, said Christine Jaulmes, UNICEF representative.

Recognizing that parents and caregivers are the main providers of nurturing care to young children, UNICEF launched “Bebbo” parenting app in Kyrgyz and Russian languages to provide parents with expert advice on an extensive range of child health and development issues, including nutrition, breastfeeding, early learning, the value of play, responsive parenting, and child protection and safety.

In support of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic, UNICEF is providing technical assistance to further develop the early childhood development system and enhance access and inclusivity, provide opportunities for the youngest age groups and promote nurturing, positive parenting across the country.

Media contacts

Mavliuda Dzhaparova
Communication Officer
UNICEF Kyrgyzstan

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.

Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook