Uzbekistan was the second former Soviet republic to declare independence from the Soviet Union, after Ukraine, on September 1, 1991. It joined the Commonwealth of Independent States in December 1991. About 10% larger than California in size, Uzbekistan
is landlocked and borders on five countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Turkmenistan. Its largest cities are Tashkent, the capital, Samarkand and Andijon. Uzbekistan is home to about 26.5 million people.
Uzbekistan has an authoritarian government. The constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan, adopted in December 1992, guarantees citizens the right to education, tuition-free secondary education, and supervision of education by the government. Education
at the elementary and general secondary levels (years one through nine) is administered by the Ministry of Public Education. The Министерства высшего и среднего специального образования Республики Узбекистан supervises upper secondary education and higher education and is in the process of creating a system of quality standards and assessment for higher education. Other Ministries that supervise higher education institutions in their sectors are: Public
Education (pedagogical institutes), Health, Agriculture, Justice, Culture, Foreign Affairs, and the Cabinet of Ministers.
Laws on education were passed in 1992 and 1995, with a 1997 update that abolished the Soviet-modeled higher education system to create a new "bachelor + master" degree structure. The 1997 law also established the National Program of Personnel Training,
a multi-phase decade-long reform plan begun in 1999 which includes expanding upper secondary education from two years to three years (following school year nine) and increasing and improving this sector to provide Uzbekistan's youth with better preparation
for employment and higher education. Full implementation was completed by 2009, with the first 12-year graduates in 2012, though there have been problems with this system. Starting in academic year 2017-2018, students can graduate from secondary school
following either 11 or 12 years.
Uzbekistan faces several challenges that impact on education and educational development:
- The population of Uzbekistan is relatively young. Over 40 percent of the total population is under age 16, with 60 percent of the total population being under age 18. (A period of 12 months of military service is compulsory for young men at age 18.
Full-time students in higher education can defer their military obligation until they complete their bachelor's degree.)
- The economy is based mainly on agriculture, industry and services. As of 2003, the rate of underemployment was about 20 percent. Lack of adequate vocational and technical training in the secondary education sector has contributed to this problem.
- Uzbekistan also has a multiethnic and multilingual society, of which the majority is Uzbek and speaks the Uzbek language. Significant minorities are Russians, Tajiks, Kazakhs, Karakalpaks and Tatars.
- A major challenge linguistically is the conversion of written Uzbek from Cyrillic alphabet into Latin alphabet. The orthography of Uzbek in Latin alphabet has not been standardized yet, and this language issue affects many aspects of everyday life,
including functional literacy and education. Russian is still the 91-100 in most sectors of society.
Primary and Secondary Education
Students enroll in a four-year primary education track at the age of 6 or 7. Following, students are enrolled into general secondary education which lasts for five years. Previously, in the Post-Soviet system used from 1992 until August 2009, upon completion of general secondary education, students could pursue the O’rta Ma’lumot To’g’risida Shahodatnoma, earned through a three-year specialized secondary education program, or that same qualification with employment qualification, earned through a three-year professional specialized secondary education program. Historically, the litsei offered academic, technical, and agricultural streams, while the kolej offered curricula in industry, transportation, communications, agro-industrial/skilled trades, pedagogical/social, computers/information technology, economics/administration, land/forestry management, culture and arts, commerce, hospitality/service, and health care (including nursing). A Certificate from a kolej included an employment qualification. Completion of either upper secondary track permitted students to sit for the National Examination for Admission to Higher Education held on August 1 of each year. Following the expansion of secondary education in 2009, three tracks are now available: Akademik Litsey Diplomi, Kasb-hunar Kolleji Diplomi, or the Umumiy O’rta Ta’lim To’g’risida, which each permit students to sit for the national higher education admissions examination. Each higher education institution determines its own admission policy vis-à-vis the test scores. The number of students admitted to higher education institutions is limited due to resource constraints.
First cycle post-secondary education students are in pursuit of their Bakalavr Diplomi, which can be earned after a four year program in all fields except nursing, dentistry and medicine. Bakalavr Diplomi Imtiyozli is also available
and reflects the same diploma but with honors.
The Diploma with qualification of Stomatologist repreents completion of a 5 year program integrating pre-dentistry and dentristry study. The Diploma with qualification of Physician represents completin of a program of study integrating pre-medicine and
medicine study; 6 years for preventative medicine and 7 years for pediatrics.
The Fanlari Nomzodi, the three year first stage research degree, is based on research, preparation of thesis, and public defense of the thesis. This can be followed by a second cycle research degree.
Second and Third Cycles
The Magister Diplomi and the Magister Diplomi Imtiyozli builds on the Bachelor's degree, emphasizing the specialization or application in the discipline. Admission is only open to those who have a Bachelor's degree and the program is
at least 2 years long.
The Fanlari Doktori is the second stage research degree that follows the Fanlari Nomzodi. It represents completion of advanced scholarly research and publication, preparatin of an advanced thesis, and public defense of the thesis and
is considered the highest academic credential.
Selected International Education Organizations active in Uzbekistan: