There are approximately 9,700 schools including about 1,850 secondary schools, 1,919 high schools, 75 evening schools, 107 centers of adult education, and 85 special schools for disabled children. In the year's 1999 to 2000, the number of pupils in these schools reached over 5.7 million. Compulsory-type education provided by the State (Republic of Uzbekistan) is free. This form of education allows the country to reach the 98 percent literacy rate. The Uzbekistan government builds schools; purchases equipment, material, and textbooks; educates teachers; conducts research; creates curricula and methodologies of teaching; and establishes examination procedures. The school system includes both urban and rural schools, all of which fall under the supervision of the Ministry of Public Education.
Secondary education is divided into two stages. The first stage includes nine years of compulsory schooling with the same programs all over Uzbekistan. The second stage covers education and vocational training after nine years. It includes general secondary education and specialized secondary education. Young people receive general secondary education while staying in school for the tenth and eleventh grades. Upon successful completion, they get a Certificate of Complete Secondary Education.
Specialized secondary education is provided through a net of schools:
- Professionalno-Tehnicheskoye Uchilishe (PTU or Professional Technical School). Graduates receive a Junior Specialist Diploma equal to a Certificate of Complete Secondary Education.
- Tehnikum (Technical College). Graduates receive a Junior Specialist Diploma equal to a Certificate of Complete Secondary Education.
- Lytsei (Lyceum) or various training courses offered by higher education institutions or industry. Graduates receive a Junior Specialist Diploma equal to a Certificate of Complete Secondary Education.
Formerly, Soviet-type schools had one curriculum for all schools across the union. Today, the curriculum is less rigid and defined. However, there are two new subjects: the Uzbek language and a basic ecology course included in every teaching plan. All students of the same grade study together and change classes together.
Teachers grade oral answers during lessons and test papers. Standardized tests and multiple-choice tests are rare. At the end of the quarter (semester), grades are averaged. Exams, written or oral, are given at the end of the year. At the completion of secondary school, a certificate or diploma is awarded. The first certificate is awarded for the completion of the compulsory ninth grade after which the individual can go to any type of school. The second certificate, Certificate of Complete Secondary Education (attestat zrelosti or certificate of maturity), is awarded after the eleventh grade. Those who graduate from technical colleges receive a diploma that is legally equal to the certificate and also qualifies them in technical fields.
Teachers in the secondary education schools must be graduates of the pedagogical institute (old Soviet-style) or graduates at the Master's degree level in the new system. Teachers are taught many background professional subjects; general courses in philosophy, language, literature, and education-related courses like psychology (general, developmental, and educational); the history of education; and general educational methodology. They also study methodology in their area of specialization, for example, the methodology of teaching math or a foreign language. Teachers specialize at least in two subjects and traditional pairs are as follows: language/literature, math/physics, chemistry/biology, English/German (or French as a second foreign language), and history/geography. Another source of teachers comes from the professional community. For example, engineers would teach drafting and accountants would teach mathematics. In vocational schools, professionals teach their own specialties.
Students who fail to pass exams in one or two subjects are normally given a re-examination. Teachers and peers provide help. When the student fails a year exam, summer classes are prescribed, and a re-examination is given in the fall. A student who fails all possible reexaminations, demonstrates a poor attitude, and also has discipline problems must repeat the grade. Education is compulsory and dropping out is not permitted. Only a serious family reason, (such as the pupil being the only wage earner in the family, a trouble-maker, or a runaway) causes students to be considered dropouts. Teachers and administration do everything possible to keep children in school and to educate them to the required level.
There are about 440 Secondary Specialized Educational Institutions, including 209 trade (professional) schools, 180 academic Lycea, and 53 business schools. Approximately 221,000 individuals are trained in technical and vocational schools that offer more than 260 specialties. Vocational or specialized secondary education as a system exists in two traditional subsystems (PTU and Tehnikums) and one relatively new subsystem (Lytsei). Professional Technical School or prof-teh-uchilishe (PTU) trains the blue-collar workers at a basic technical level like electricians, turners, technicians, cooks, hairdressers, plumbers, tailors, medical personnel, and machinists. About 60 percent of the students enter PTU after the ninth grade of compulsory school and some after the eleventh grade. This system trains about 260,000 students throughout the country. Today PTU has made a transition to preparing specialists of two to three modern professions. Depending on profession and preparation level, the training may be of different lengths. Annually, about 110,000 to 115,000 students graduate from these schools.
Under the former Soviet system, the Ministry of Public Education controlling the PTU's received "orders" from major enterprises on the type of specialists they needed. Approximately 50 percent of the students are still being trained to fulfill these "orders." Tehnikums (technical colleges) belong to a number of different ministries, but the Ministry of Higher and Specialized Secondary Education has overall responsibility for the system. Tehnikums educate and train blue-collar workers of middle and higher qualification levels, as well as some white-collar professions who can be first level supervisors in the technical fields. Young people can enter Tehnikum after the ninth or eleventh grade, and depending on the profession, the program duration varies from one and a half to four years.
Approximately 180 Lycea were created, using the model of technical colleges, to fill the gap in new professions (mainly in the economic and service fields) that were not addressed by the previous system. Some Lycea are established by universities, and courses are taught by university instructors and professors. Since Lyceum takes three years (not two like the tenth and eleventh grade), the Bachelor's degree can be obtained in three years after that (not in four years like those who finish a traditional school). Experiments on this new multi-level system are being held on the basis of the Tashkent Pedagogical Institute. The government plans to have about 300 Lycea to educate about 1.5 million students in the next five to ten years.
Additionally, several training centers belonging to national enterprises and over 50 business-schools offer training for accountants, assistants, and business managers. The Ministry of Labor is responsible for the retraining of the active labor force for the labor market. It has three training centers, but prefers to direct trainees to other vocational training institutes. After finishing the eleventh grade of secondary school, PTU, Tehnikum, or Lytsei, regardless of the type of secondary training completed, a citizen of Uzbekistan at the age of seventeen-eighteen, may continue his or her education in higher education institutions. Despite this opportunity, every year 80,000 to 100,000 young people, who received a basic 9 year compulsory education, remain unclaimed by the industries.
Admission to all types of schools is based on the results of entrance exams. In 1993, standardized university admission exams were adopted. These tests are administered throughout Uzbekistan.
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