Education in Uzbekistan
In Uzbekistan, eleven years of primary and secondary education are obligatory, starting at age seven. This requirement includes four years of primary school and two cycles of secondary school, lasting five and two years, respectively. The rate of attendance in those grades is high, although the figure is significantly lower in rural areas than in urban centers. Preschool registration has decreased significantly since 1991.
The official literacy rate is 99 percent. However, in the post-Soviet era educational standards have fallen. Funding and training have not been sufficient to effectively educate the expanding younger cohorts of the population. Between 1992 and 2004, government spending on education dropped from 12 percent to 6.3 percent of gross domestic product. In 2006 education’s share of the budget increased to 8.1 percent. Lack of budgetary support has been more noticeable at the primary and secondary levels, as the government has continued to subsidize university students. However, bribes often are necessary to ensure success and advancement in universities.
Between 1992 and 2001, university attendance dropped from 19 percent of the college-age population to 6.4 percent. The three largest of Uzbekistan’s 63 institutions of higher learning are in Nukus, Samarkand, and Tashkent. All are state-funded. Private schools have been forbidden since the establishment of Islamic fundamentalist (Wahhabi) schools in the early 1990s brought a government crackdown. However, in 1999 the government-supported Taskhent Islamic University was founded for the teaching of Islam.
In 2002 Westminster International University in Tashkent was established in collaboration with the University of Westminster (UK) and “UMID” Foundation of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Currently this university is regarded as the best in its sphere of education both in Uzbekistan and Central Asia countries.
In the year 2007, Uzbekistan Banking Association (UBA) had a joint venture with Management Development Institute of Singapore, Singapore and set up MDIST university in Tashkent.