A videoconferencing on school education development was held under the chairmanship of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on January 28.
The future of the country, the success of all reforms and projects depend on the availability of high-quality education system. Therefore, in the last four years it has been accomplished a lot to improve the quality of education and raise the status of teachers. Now our country is entering a new era, and it is the issues of education and human capital development that are defined as the fourth priority in the Development Strategy of Uzbekistan for 2022-2026.
The President has stressed that school development is «a matter of life and death».
«We have no right to delay reforms in this area. No matter how difficult it may be, from now on we need to lay a solid foundation for a school education. Let us direct all of our attention and resources. This way will be difficult, but only it can solve all the problems», Shavkat Mirziyoyev said.
It was underlined that improvement of school activity must be tasked not only to the Ministry of Public Education but also to all ministries and departments, khokimiyats (governors’ and mayors’ offices), scientific organizations, intellectuals and the general public.
In particular, it is necessary to improve 10,130 schools across the country. The future of more than 6 million students and over 500 thousand teachers, representatives of all strata of our society, every family, depends on this.
The meeting noted the problems and urgent issues in the sphere.
Today 1,695 schools need major repairs. Unfortunately, 179 schools built from mud-brick are still functioning. More than 3 thousand schools need additional classrooms. Over 2 thousand schools do not have a sports hall.
In addition, 270 more schools need to be built owing to the construction of new housing estates, expansion of rural infrastructure and population growth.
The current educational standards and curricula focus only on providing students with theoretical knowledge and do not teach children a logical thinking, practical application of knowledge and do not prepare them for life.
Of the 504,000 teachers working at schools, 60,000 have specialized secondary education, and 190,000 do not have a qualification category. Many teachers lack knowledge and skills. The teachers seek to «get more teaching hours» rather than deliver a quality lesson.
There are still more than 200 types of written reports in the school education system, lessons and activities are conducted according to uniform methods. The book fund of school libraries has not been renewed for years. Only 615 schools have national musical instruments.
A school evaluation, certification and accreditation are done «for the sake of checking the box» and do not contribute to improving the educational environment.
Such shortcomings demand radical revision of all approaches in the system of national education and their cardinal improvement. Therefore, as it was pointed out at the meeting, major reforms will be launched to renovate both the appearance and the inner substance of the schools, to bring the quality of education to a whole new level.
«We will completely revise teaching methods, textbooks, everything from a desk to a school building. Until the conditions for education and teachers are not created, a society will not change. At the level of districts, regions and the nation, the councils will be formed to reform a school education. I will personally chair the Republican Council. The district and regional councils will be headed by khokims (governors)», President said.
These councils will organize their work by consulting with the people, taking into account the opinion of teachers, parents and specialists.
The meeting has identified the priority tasks for developing a school education.
Within the next five years, 1.2 million pupil places need to be created. The President gave instructions to increase the capacity of the school system by building new schools and additional buildings for pupils in the existing schools.
It is underlined that from now on these issues will be addressed by regional, city and district khokims (governors). In addition to the funds allocated by the state, schools will also receive part of the revenues from the local budget. Most importantly, the new schools will be built and commissioned under the supervision of community activists, parents and the public.
The Ministry of Construction has been instructed to develop model school designs to meet the new requirements.
The next important issue after conditions is the school environment. Stressing the need to reform the management of the sphere, the President gave recommendations for appointing heads of public education departments and school principals from among qualified managers and for attracting foreign specialists.
The Ministry of Public Education has been instructed to develop the results-oriented requirements and criteria for these professionals.
The additional measures have been set up to provide incentives for top-ranking teachers who have developed their own unique teaching experience. Thus, the Fund of the Minister of Public Education will be established, which in its first stage will receive 300 billion Uzbek soums from the budget. The funds will be used to reward teachers who implement the cutting-edge teaching technologies and whose students achieve outstanding results.
There were also initiatives to create «mobile methodological groups» in each region composed of teachers from pedagogical institutes, universities, academic high schools and specialized schools. They would visit schools with low-quality education, explain and help teachers master new methods. For this, they will be given benefits to their salaries.
A teacher training system will also be radically improved. To this end, five higher educational institutions in Tashkent and 17 in the regions will be assigned to schools. The students will be trained directly at schools starting from their first year. This will improve the professional skills of both students and school teachers and university professors.
It has also been instructed to review the teaching load and number of lessons at schools, to introduce methods that encourage children to think, and to completely update textbooks based on the best practices.
A particular attention was paid to a meaningful organization of leisure time of students, stirring up sports and art clubs.
Underscoring the utmost importance of reforms in the sphere of school education, the President has instructed the officials in charge to develop a relevant strategy in cooperation with international organizations. It was defined that the School Education Development Program will be adopted on this basis.
The meeting has heard the proposals from ministers and khokims (governors), teachers and school principals from all regions of the country.