On August 28, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev chaired a videoconferencing on priority tasks for improving the quality of education, increasing the number of school places and supporting teachers.
A large-scale work is being carried out in this area based on the noble idea «New Uzbekistan begins at school». Hundreds of modern schools have been built in recent years. A completely new type of school has been created: Presidential and Art Schools, as well as a network of specialized schools has expanded. New textbooks and teaching manuals have been developed.
A particular attention is being paid to improving the working conditions and qualifications of teachers and tutors. In particular, teachers’ salaries have increased by an average of 2,5 times over the past period.
A salary supplement has been introduced for teachers with national and international certificates in foreign languages, information technology, mathematics, chemistry, and biology, as well as a special payment for teachers who come to work in remote areas. As a result, the number of teachers receiving salaries of between 6 and 10 million Uzbek soums has reached 23,000, and the number of teachers receiving salaries of over 10 million Uzbek soums has exceeded 1,000.
In order to reduce the burden on schools, 700,000 new seats have been created. This is 15 times more than in previous years. The coverage of higher education has increased fourfold, which has widened access for young people.
At the same time, there are still many pressing issues in the sphere of school education.
Today, 11 subjects are taught in primary school and 16 in secondary school. However, students graduate without a deep knowledge of any particular subject.
Last year, the knowledge and skills of 86,000 teachers, or 37% of the 220,000 teachers, were rated as ‘unsatisfactory’. The situation is particularly worrying for teachers of computer science, English, physics, math, and chemistry - subjects that are now in high demand.
In the last six and a half years, 320 thousand housing units have been built in our country. But no schools of adequate capacity have been built. There is a need for 350 thousand pupil places in new massifs and makhallas. In addition, a great deal of work needs to be done to improve the infrastructure of existing schools.
In recent years, 350 private schools with 70 thousand places have been organized. However, in many regions, the work on the development of the private sector of school education is at an insufficient level.
Analyzing these indicators, the President gave new initiatives to improve both the content and conditions of school education.
Firstly, in order to improve the quality of education, the curricula and evaluation systems of the Presidential and Specialized Schools will be introduced in 500 schools in the country. After one year, the work of these 500 schools will be studied, and teachers who have used the new system effectively will receive bonuses of up to 40%. Over the next five years, the system will be introduced in all schools.
This year, 500 native speakers have been invited from abroad to teach in local schools. This number will increase in the future. In this regard, the khokims have been instructed to make arrangements for the accommodation of foreign teachers.
The number of subjects taught in secondary schools will be reduced from 16 to 11. At the same time, pupils in grades 10–11 will be taught in-depth pairs of subjects: chemistry - biology, mathematics - physics, mathematics - a foreign language, native language and literature - a foreign language of their choice.
Meanwhile, pupils wishing to acquire a profession will be able to do so at school. At least 1,000 schools will be introduced to this system next academic year.
The content of the lessons will also change. Computer literacy lessons will be introduced from the 1st grade and financial literacy lessons from high school.
Most importantly, adding new subjects to the curriculum will be prohibited. All new offerings will now be integrated into existing subjects.
The President paid special attention to the issue of professional training for teachers and the creation of decent conditions for them.
The system of hiring teachers, retraining them, and awarding professional categories will be completely changed. In particular, teachers will be recruited on a competitive basis. Candidates hired for the first time will have to work as trainee teachers for one year and will receive a professional certificate at the end of that year. In the future, this system will be gradually introduced for all teachers.
Teachers’ qualifications will also be upgraded in a differentiated way. Teachers’ knowledge will be assessed prior to professional training, and the results will be used to determine individual directions for professional development. The universities that have trained teachers with poor results will be reclaimed, i.e., the results of the teachers’ assessments will also be an evaluation of the activities of the pedagogical universities.
In this regard, the task of critically reviewing the activities of regional vocational training centers, renovating and equipping them has been set.
The assignment of qualification categories to teachers will be carried out in two stages. In the first stage, teachers’ knowledge will be assessed in a preliminary examination, and those who score more than 70% will move on to the second stage. The second stage will test the use of advanced pedagogical technologies, methods of working with students, and approaches to knowledge assessment.
The Ministry of Preschool and School Education has been tasked with testing the system in 20 districts with low levels of teacher knowledge.
Higher pedagogical educational institutions will be developed on the basis of a special approach. The Tashkent and Chirchik Pedagogical Universities will train specialists on the basis of the Presidential Schools program. These universities will become the basic institutions for higher education with a pedagogical profile.
In the next academic year, schools with staff shortages and in difficult situations will be pre-selected, and a targeted state order will be introduced to meet their needs.
The system of school education management will also change. From now on, candidates for the post of director will be selected only from among the certified staff included in the reserve; they will be hired on the basis of a fixed-term contract. Directors and their deputies will be evaluated every five years.
Another pressing issue in the sphere is the increase in school enrollment.
Next year, 3 trillion Uzbek soums will be allocated for the construction of schools under the Investment Program. This will create 150 thousand new places for pupils.
New schools will be organized on the basis of the buildings of 61 colleges that are operating below full capacity. A further 50 schools will be built on the basis of a public-private partnerships.
By creating additional conditions for the private sector, at least 25,000 pupil places per year will be organized. To this end, entrepreneurs who have received a loan for the organization of a private school will be compensated by the budget in the amount of 7% of the loan rate. Land plots for the construction of new schools will be auctioned only for the construction of schools.
It was noted that, in general, these measures will create 250,000 school places next year, which is twice as many as last year.
The responsible officials have been instructed to ensure the financing of these measures, to build and equip schools, to prepare facilities for the autumn-winter season.
The issue of the graduate employment was also raised. This year, 387,000 pupils graduated from school. Of these, 138 thousand were enrolled in higher education institutions.
The President stressed the need to attract more graduates to vocational education, to support their interests and entrepreneurial initiatives. Tasks have been set to train young people in modern professions that allow them to earn a high income with low costs. The task was set to establish targeted work with students and to define the responsibilities of khokims, school directors, and parents in this process.
As it is known, three years ago, the practice of distributing iodine supplements, vitamins, and anthelmintics to children under the age of 15 was introduced. As a result, the incidence of thyroid diseases, which affect the physical and mental development of children, began to decrease. In this context, it was noted that iodine supplements should continue to be distributed free of charge to schoolchildren, and that the public should be widely informed about the beneficial properties of iodine.
At the meeting, the President addressed all teachers, principals and their deputies.
«Dear teachers, I consider you my closest assistants in the implementation of our reforms in the field of school education. The final outcome of the measures taken to further improve school education depends primarily on you and your selfless efforts.
I see you as people who have dedicated your lives to the greatest and noblest cause in the world - the education of a new generation - people devoted to their profession. Millions of our children, whom you are educating today, filling their hearts with goodness and knowledge, will join our ranks of creators of the New Uzbekistan tomorrow. Our country and people will never forget your noble deeds. The honor of the teacher’s profession and recognition of his work will remain at the center of our attention. We have consolidated the status of teachers in our renewed Constitution. And, we will do a lot of work on this basis in the future», said Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
Ministers, khokims, and other responsible officials presented reports on the tasks set at the meeting.