Population (2017): 6,201,500
The Kyrgyz Republic is a landlocked country bordering with China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. It has an area of 200,000 square kilometres and its capital city is Bishkek. Kyrgyzstan gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and adopted a parliamentary system in 2011. The majority of population is of Kyrgyz ethnic, followed by significant minorities of Uzbeks and Russians. The state language is the Kyrgyz language although Russian remains widely spoken and is the second official language. The Kyrgyz Republic has maintained macroeconomic stability, invested in infrastructure, and improved access to social services. Kyrgyzstan has an estimated GDP per capita of USD 1,220.
The Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic is the body of state policy and normative and legal regulation in the field of education, scientific, scientific-technical and innovative activity, intellectual property as well as in the sphere of upbringing, social support and social protection of students and pupils of educational institutions.
The higher education system of Kyrgyzstan consists of 52 higher education institutions, both public and private. Although it is not a Bologna signatory country, Kyrgyzstan has been working towards implementing key aspects of the Bologna reforms. In 2012, the traditional system of higher education qualifications (Specialist Diploma) was replaced with a new two-tier system in line with the EU (Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree). For some specialties, the specialty is kept for example, in the sphere of medical education and some engineering and cultural areas. The third-tier PhD programmes are currently being piloted. At the same time, the traditional two-level system of assignment of academic degrees is maintained (‘candidat nauk’ – ‘doktor nauk’). In 2015, there was a 45% gross enrolment ratio in tertiary education.
Vocational education in Kyrgyzstan is divided into primary and secondary vocational education. On average, the duration of training programmes ranges from one to two years (excluding time for general secondary education). Responsibility for VET falls under the Ministry of Education and Science and VET is part of the Education Development Strategy 2012–2020.
The Central Asia HE and VET Briefs are intended to provide a review and update of the current education policies in the CA countries with a clear focus on the thematic priorities identified both in the Riga and Astana Ministerial Meetings in 2015/2017 respectively, in order to summarise and share the findings from the CAEP 2 with education practitioners and experts both in the EU and CA countries for further discussion among policy makers, education practitioners and related stakeholders in HE and VET.