Rural Teachers in Post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan

by Damira Umetbaeva

“During the Soviet Union teachers earned and lived like ministers.”

“In the past teachers were respected by everyone, even by the president, because they earned well and had a strong knowledge.”

These are the accounts of Janarbek about his position as a teacher in the past, told from his present socio-economic status as a teacher. After the collapse of the Soviet Union the quality of education in Kyrgyzstan, as did the quality of many other public services, decreased substantially. Since the break-up of the USSR, the country has not managed to support this sector well, which along with many others, had been generously subsidised by the Soviet state. As a result, there are many acute problems in the education sphere and if these are not addressed soon, they will lead to the total collapse of Kyrgyzstan’s education sector. Continue reading

The Difficult Child: About the Youth in Osh, Kyrgyzstan

by Gulrano Ataeva

It is a fact that parents and educators love children and want to raise successful personalities. Our approach to children from the very start determines what type of people will grow and how they will interact as grown personalities constituting a family at the least and a nation at the most. As a teacher I see the need to analyze our parenting and teaching so that we do not cause children to become “difficult” and do not raise people intolerant to the challenges of society. Continue reading

Kelins and Bride Schools in Uzbekistan

by Rano Turaeva

From my observations living and researching in Uzbekistan, social gatherings of the kind Sayora organizes are exceptional. There are other kinds of institutions (Kelinlar Maktabi/Brides school) which are mainly for unmarried young women and usually offer private courses in cooking, baking and sewing. But Sayora manages to organize private gatherings for young women to discuss everyday problems, offer solutions, and raise consciousness about Islam. Continue reading

How Does Age Matter in Development Work in Kyrgyzstan?

by Jeanne Féaux de la Croix

Baktygul is twenty-five years old, and works for one of the 11.000 NGOs that are registered in Kyrgyzstan. She often visits villages around the country to conduct seminars on how communities can work together in a productive, peaceful way. But she is not very comfortable in her role as a ‘trainer’. As we drink tea in her Bishkek office, she tells me:

‘When we do seminars, I feel people look at me and think “why is a young thing like you teaching me”? But they don’t say this directly. We try not to say “you have something to learn”, instead we say “let’s share our experiences together”. People wonder who has sent you. They think you’re maybe an assistant (pomoshchnik). They don’t accept you as a trainer, or are surprised you’re the trainer. They give me these severe looks at first, thinking that I can’t be useful for them.’ Continue reading