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Education Sector Overview

Education Sector Overview

Until 2017 in Uzbekistan the government had played almost exclusive role in education sector. The involvement of private sector in Education had been highly limited. The reforms in 2017 had crucial effect on improving education sector and increasing private sector participation in private sector. The Education system of Uzbekistan is managed by three ministries - Ministry of Preschool Education (MoPSE), Ministry of Public Education (MoPE) and Ministry of Higher and Secondary Specialized Education (MoHSSE).
The population of Uzbekistan is growing fast and consists of largely young people. Between 2009 and 2016, the population grew from 27.5 million to 33.3 million, 20.8% increase in ten years. About 37% of the population is under age of 19, indicating that the demand for education is driven by demographic pressure.
Compared to other CIS counties, the government of Uzbekistan has been much larger portion of its budget in education. In 2017 the government spent 6.4% of its GDP on education, which is more that did other CIS counties such as Kazakhstan (2.8%), Tajikistan (5.2%), Belarus (5%), and Russia (3.8%). (WorldBank, 2018).

Source: World Bank. 2018. Uzbekistan Education Sector Analysis.

Preschool Education

Preschool education in Uzbekistan is managed by Ministry of Preschool Education (MoPSE), which was established in September 2017 to improve preschool education sector. In Uzbekistan, Children can attend preschools at the age of 3. The number of children preschool age has been increasing at a fast rate over the past twenty years. However, according to the World Bank, the number of preschools in Uzbekistan has decreased by 45% over the past 20 years. Today only 0.8 million out of 2.5 million preschool age children have access to preschool education. (World Bank 2018)1
In spite of the fact that preschool enrollment rate has increased from 20% in 2007 to 29% in 2017 following the measures taken by the government, it still remains low. Although the government invests as much in preschool education as OECD countries, its rate in Uzbekistan remains extremely low compared to such countries as Kazakhstan (60%), Finland (79 percent), Moldova (82 %), Russia (85 %), Japan (90 %), and Brazil (82 %). The costs of preschools impose barrier to enrollments. Especially in rural areas, with low-income population, preschool enrollments are extremely low.
To address this issue, government has invested considerable amount to this sector. In December 2016, the government approved the “Program for Further Improvement of the Preschool Education System from 2017 through 2021” with the aim of improving the quality of preschool education. In 2017 the government announced its plan to achieve 100% enrollment for 5-6-year-old children by 2021. It will be compulsory for all 6-year-old children to be enrolled in preschool education starting with the 2021/22 academic year.

General Secondary Education and Secondary Specialized Vocational Education

General secondary education in Uzbekistan consists of 11 years of compulsory education. The government spends in general secondary education in line with EU and OECD countries. Uzbekistan is in the process of reforming its secondary education system. Until 2017, general secondary education in Uzbekistan consisted of 9 years of compulsory education. In the 2017/18 academic year, general secondary education was expanded to 10 years and in 2018/19 academic year the 11th year was added.

School age population
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Source: The State Committee of Uzbekistan on Statistics

Study programs for academic lyceums have been condensed to two years.
Upon completing 9th grade, students can choose to attend academic lyceums instead of general secondary schools for grades 10 and 11.
To make it more flexible and aligned with the labor market, the government is reforming vocational educationBefore the reforms, students could choose to attend either academic lyceums or vocational colleges. However, under new scheme, students can choose to continue their studies at vocational colleges only after finishing 11th grade. Depending on the specialization, the programs of vocational colleges will last from six months to two years. Several colleges are planned to operate under Public-Private Partnership (PPP) scheme.

Higher Education

Ministry of Higher and Secondary Specialized Education (MOHSSE) manages the higher education system in Uzbekistan. There are currently 109 higher education institution in Uzbekistan out of which 30 are universities, 35 are institutes, 2 academies, 29 branches of HEI, 1 conservatory, 1 highest school, and 7 affiliations of foreign institutions. Besides, the participation of the private sector is limited despite the Government Laws does not limit its participation. Uzbekistan spends very small portion of its education budget (5%) on higher education compared to 20% spend by most countries. The enrollment rate is very low due to limited capacity of education providers. The supply of higher education is limited mainly because of the quotas set by state universities/institutes and very small number of private universities/institutes. Although the number of enrolled students has been increasing over the past twenty years, the gap between the number of applicants and enrolled ones has been increasing simultaneously, indicating the increasing demand.

Demand and supply for seats in universities, 2009-2018

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Source: The State Committee of Uzbekistan on Statistics

Moreover, education market of Uzbekistan was recently opened to foreign suppliers owing to the implemented reforms by government. The government exempted all foreign higher educational institutions accredited in the country from payment of all types of taxes until January 1, 2023. Following these reforms, a decent number of foreign univeristies expressed interest in both providing the service and cooperation with local universities and institutes. Namely, in 2018 Webster University (USA) started offering courses on the basis of Tashkent University of World Languages, NCUK has launched admission to its foundation programs, Amity university established its branch in Tashkent and will offer courses in IT, computer Science, economics and tourism administration starting from 2019-2020 academic year. Besides, following universities have announced intentions to open affiliated branches in Uzbekistan:
- National Research Technological University
- Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys
- Bauman Moscow State Technical University
- Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University
- Moscow Architectural University
- Russian Technological University (Russia)
- Nanjing Polytechnic Institute (China)
- Yeoju Technical Institute (South Korea)
- Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (Malaysia)

Incentives for investments into preschool and general secondary education sector

In order to develop preschool and general secondary education sector, increase private sector participation and improve the quality of education, the government of Uzbekistan now provides the following incentives for the providers of preschool and general secondary education in Uzbekistan:

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Incentives for investments into higher education sector

According to the Presidential resolution “On forecast of the main macroeconomic indicators and parameters of the State Budget of the Republic of Uzbekistan for 2018”, which was signed on 29 December 2017, until 1 January 2023, foreign universities are exempt from all types of taxes and mandatory contributions to state trust funds in the framework of their educational activities in Uzbekistan. Moreover, the universities will not pay a single social payment and personal income tax in part of the labor fund of foreign workers.