Kyrgyzstan Youth Voices on Education to Be Heard at UN General Assembly
Youth of Kyrgyzstan participated in the U-Report Survey, which will inform the Global Youth Declaration for Transforming Education Summit at UN General Assembly
BISHKEK, 16 September 2022 — UNICEF together with the Ministry of Science and Education of the Kyrgyz Republic conducted a survey on education among young people to contribute to the Transformation Education Summit, which will be held under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General during the UN General Assembly on 16-19 September in New York. The Summit will be attended by Heads of State and Governments, including Kyrgyzstan President Sadyr Japarov.
The survey was undertaken via the U-Report platform engaging 2,158 adolescents and youth. It aimed to listen to their views, challenges and expectations regarding the government’s plan for education in the country, especially in post-COVID-19 period. Over 90 per cent of respondents said that the government should provide more support to ensure that all children gain foundational reading and mathematic skills in primary school. This is one of the major concerns that will be addressed at the UN summit, as the world is facing currently a global learning crisis, with only half of 10-year-olds in low- and middle-income countries being able to read a simple story.
According to the recently released UNICEF global report ‘Are children really learning?’, less than half of the children attending Grade 3 have foundational reading and numeracy skills in Kyrgyzstan.
In addition to the quality of education, young people are worried about the limited financial assistance for students. Many noted that children need to buy books and other school stationery and suggested that low-income families should be exempted from payments. “Not all children can go to school, because parents do not have money to dress them or provide them with school stationery. At school, you also have to pay for additional items, for repairs and all sorts of little things, so it would be nice to give such children benefits and exempt them from paying for repairs and security,” wrote one of the U-Reporters.
Another finding is that only one-third of U-Reporters have some clear understanding of what inclusive education means for children with disabilities and those with special needs. This suggests that the education sector needs to accelerate its efforts to promote equity and inclusiveness at the system and school levels.
Youth voices reflected in this global U-Report survey have been integrated into the Global Youth Declaration, a document highlighting young people’s demands regarding global commitments to education. Global Youth Declaration and the UN Secretary-General’s Vision Statement on Transforming Education will be key outcomes of the Summit on Transforming Education during the 77th session of the UN General Assembly. Following months of consultations, Heads of State and Government will make national commitments on 19 September.
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.