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Kyrgyzstan: What Are Kyrgyz Kids Learning?

Kyrgyz parents are troubled by declining education levels. (Photo: David Trilling)

Many parents in Kyrgyzstan are starting to wonder: is schooling still synonymous with education?

According to official statistics, literacy among 15-to-24-year-olds in Kyrgyzstan remains high, standing at 99.75 percent. Yet public schools face serious difficulties delivering a quality education, say experts, parents and test scores. Increasingly, parents with the financial means are sending their children to private schools, while the vast majority of students are graduating from high school with only rudimentary reading, math, and foreign language skills.

An international, standardized test -- known as the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, and administered by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) -- underscores the challenges facing Kyrgyzstan. Over 80 percent of Kyrgyz 15-year-olds did not meet minimum expectations in literacy, mathematics and science when the PISA was last administered in 2009 in 65 countries. That result placed Kyrgyzstan last among the participants.

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Kyrgyzstan: What Are Kyrgyz Kids Learning?

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