Sunday, April 26, 2009

SOS: Kyrgyz primary education in deep koma!

Contributed an analytical article to Central Asia-Caucasus Institute (Johns Hopkins)'s Analyst. The article is about the catastrophic state of Kyrgyz school education as illustrated by PISA, an international educational attainment survey conducted in 2006 and by NOODU, national program for educational evaluation, last conducted and published in 2008. Having participated as an administrator of the program I came across some shocking obervations that could not be put in the article due to space limitations. (the article itself is at )

There were children who did not know what Internet was - not only in the fourth, but also in the eighth grade.
Some of the more advanced Bishkek ninth-graders did not know what is, let alone Wikipedia or anything like that.

Students in villages simply do not comprehend what they read. they need an external authority to tell them what to do, in simple and "vernacular' terms. The latter was vivid when I would read out loud detailed instructions in literary Uzbek and kids would then look, quite surprised, at their teacher, who would reformulate my statement using elements of local Kyrgyzo-Uzbeko-Tajik esperanto.

Disparities in the level of educational attainment are wide indeed. What makes everything worse is that the gap is not between very smart and stupid, but between average or a-bit-higher-than-average and really really challenged kids, challenged in reading comprehension and science knowledge sense.

Equipment at schools is of course, long gone. Recently conducted PISA survey at the outskirst of capital Bishkek, in what turned out to be physics room, and the only relevant piece of equipment available to demonstrate to students were several pieces of magnet.

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