Progress of Education and Science in the Era of Construction of New Uzbekistan
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In the context of market economy, development of democratic values, formation of civil society, a person is an active subject of economic and political life.
This indicates the need to equip the younger generation with the ability to learn and get education throughout their lives. Continuing education creates the necessary conditions for the formation of a creative, socially active, spiritually rich personality. School readiness plays an important role in a unified system of continuing education.
The results of scientific research confirm that a person receives about 70% of all the information during his life before the age of 5. This factor determines the importance of preschool education as the main link in a unified system of continuous education.
However, until the start of a new stage of reforms, preschool education in Uzbekistan did not receive much attention. The situation changed in 2017, when in accordance with the Decree "On measures to radically improve the management of the preschool education system" and the President’s resolution "On organization of the activities of the Ministry of Preschool Education of the Republic of Uzbekistan", the Ministry of Preschool Education was created.
The development of preschool education, both in traditional and in new forms, has become one of the main tasks of the state. In particular, in order to radically reform this area in the Republic of Uzbekistan in 2017-2021, 96 regulatory legal acts were adopted, of which 3 Decrees and 19 resolutions of the President, 44 resolutions and 8 ordinances of the Cabinet of Ministers, 13 departmental and 7 other regulatory legal acts.
In addition, taking into account the experience of individual countries, the country pays great attention to expanding the network of non-state preschool educational organizations, in particular, preschool educational organizations on the basis of public-private partnerships.
At the same time, in order to expand the network and strengthen the material and technical base of preschool educational organizations and the construction of new kindergartens, there were approved the Program for further improvement of the preschool education system for 2017-2021 and the Concept for the development of the preschool education system, which provides for bringing the level of coverage of preschool education to 80.8 % by 2030.
As a result of reforms in this area, the increase in the coverage of children with preschool education was ensured from 27.7% to 62.4%, the number of preschool educational institutions increased from 5211 to 19316 units, funds allocated from the state budget –by 3.7 times and the salaries of educators of state preschool educational organizations – from 668.4 thousand soums to 1324.0 thousand soums.
Along with other sectors of the social sphere, large-scale reforms have been carried out in secondary education. In particular, there are 17 decrees and resolutions of the President, 44 resolutions of the Cabinet of Ministers aimed at the development of the public education system.
In particular, by Presidential Decree of 29.04.2019, the Concept was approved for the Development of the Public Education System until 2030, where the main priority areas of development are determined: a qualitative update of the content of the continuous education system, the creation of a system of targeted work with gifted children and talented youth, improvement teaching methods, improving the quality of educational services, introducing ICT and innovative projects in the field of public education, creating effective anti-corruption mechanisms, strengthening the material and technical base, gradually increasing wages and strengthening social protection of workers.
The activities of Presidential schools, specialized schools for gifted children (named after Mirzo Ulugbek and Muhammad al-Khwarizmi), creative schools (named after H. Olimjon, Zulfiya, E. Vohidov, A. Oripov, I. Yusupov, I. Ibrat, M. Yusuf, Kh. Khudoyberdiyeva) and the schools "Temurbeklar maktabi" were organized.
The reform of public education was accompanied by an increase in the salaries of secondary school teachers by 3 times and an increase in the level of provision of the public education system with qualified specialists from 81.8% in the 2016/2017 academic year to 87.8% in the 2020/2021 academic year. Based on the study of the opinions of parents and the general public, 11-year compulsory schooling has been restored in the country.
Workload has been optimized and the practice of involving teachers in forced labour has been eliminated. Specific criteria have been established to stimulate the work of teaching staff working in remote areas, with the payment of monthly additional allowances in the amount of 50%. Also, in order to stimulate the work of school teachers, the practice of providing preferential loans for housing, vehicles, household appliances, etc. has been introduced. Taking into account the special role and importance of men in the educational process, as well as a result of the measures taken, more than 44 thousand male teachers returned to the public education system.
The implementation of highly promising projects for the introduction of ICT into the public education system is being successfully realized, broadband Internet connections are provided to 9 114 out of 10 181 (89.5%) secondary schools, in 4 715 schools there is a local network and Wi-Fi devices in classrooms, electronic class books Kundalik.com in 2 998 schools were introduced. Currently, 190,963 teachers and 2.3 million schoolchildren use this system.
Consistent work is being implemented in the country to provide young people with high-quality higher education, training specialists who keep pace with progress. The first reforms in the higher education were aimed primarily at increasing coverage, improving the financial condition of institutions and universities, material support of professors and teachers.
In order to improve the higher education system, over the past 5 years, 313 normative legal acts have been adopted, of which 12 Decrees and 65 resolutions of the President, 169 resolutions of the Cabinet of Ministers, 66 departmental documents, 1 Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
To determine the priority areas of systemic reform of higher education in the country, to raise the personnel training process to a qualitatively new level, to modernize higher education, to develop the social sphere and sectors of the economy on the basis of advanced educational technologies, the Concept for the Development of the Higher Education System of the Republic of Uzbekistan until 2030 was approved and is being implemented.
As a result of the comprehensive measures taken, over the past 3 years, the number of universities increased to 132 units (for comparison, in 2016 there were 77 universities), of which 99 are local and 33 are foreign universities and their branches. The admission quota increased from 66 thousand to 181 thousand. The material and technical base of universities has strengthened. Within the framework of joint educational programs with foreign countries, training specialists in 64 new specialties has begun. Growth of salaries of the teaching staff by 3.5 times in average was ensured.
In order to create conditions for the employed population to obtain higher education in 71 universities, part-time and evening forms of education are organized in 18 universities. An increase in the number of students enrolled in universities has been achieved by 2.2 times (if in 2016 there were 268.3 thousand students, then in 2020 there will be 590.1 thousand students).
Positive changes are also observed in the field of science and innovative development in all spheres of the country’s life. The following measures are being taken to radically reform this area:
comprehensive measures were approved to strengthen the infrastructure of research institutions and development of innovative activities for 2017-2021, providing for the improvement of the activities of research institutions, strengthening their material and technical base and creating favourable conditions for the development of innovative activities;
the activities of the Ministry of Innovative Development are organized on implementing a unified state policy in the field of innovative and scientific and technical development of the Republic of Uzbekistan, aimed at the comprehensive development of public and state life, increasing the intellectual and technological potential of the country;
the Strategy of Innovative Development of the Republic of Uzbekistan for 2019-2021 is adopted to ensure the country’s entry into the 50 leading countries of the world by 2030, according to the rating of the Global Innovation Index;
the Law "On Innovation Activity" was adopted, which defines the legal basis for regulating relations in the field of innovation in the country;
the Concept for development of science until 2030 was approved, which provides for the transition to an innovative and high-tech format for the development of the national economy, direction of investments in industries that provide advanced economic growth, the search for scientific solutions to pressing problems of the social sphere based on innovative approaches, scientific research and the results achieved, development of international scientific cooperation.
The structural reforms carried out in Uzbekistan have eliminated numerous gaps in science and innovation, as a result, the rating of the republic has improved by 29 positions in the Global Innovation Index report, providing it with 93rd place. In the past five years, due to the lack of data, Uzbekistan was not even included in the rating list.
For reference: The Global Innovation Index has been published since 2007 and is compiled by Cornell University (USA), the European Institute of Business Administration INSEAD (France) and the World Intellectual Property Organization.
In conclusion, it should be noted that the current stage of development of the Republic of Uzbekistan is associated with implementation of processes of deep reform of political, economic life, social sphere, and science and education are an integral resource for the economic and social development of the country, guaranteeing citizens a decent standard of living, a democratic order of organizing the society, high cultural standards.
As it has been noted by the Head of the state in his Address to the Oliy Majlis and the people of Uzbekistan, “We have set ourselves a great goal – to form the foundation of a new Renaissance in our country, and for this purpose we must create an environment and conditions for the upbringing of new al-Khwarizmis, al-Birunis, Ibn Sinas, Ulugbeks, Navois and Baburs. The most important factors in this historical process, an integral part of our national idea are the development of education and upbringing, science and innovation, establishment of a healthy lifestyle”.
Education, science and innovation are designed to stimulate our desire for more equitable and sustainable development.