Community Learning Centres

Country Profile: Uzbekistan

Population

27,191,000 (2008)

Poverty (Population living on less than 1 USD per day)

46%

Official Language

Uzbek

Other spoken languages

Russian (widely used for interethnic communication)

Total Expenditure on Education as % of GNP

7.8 % (2010)

Access to Primary Education – Total Net Intake Rate (NIR)

99 %

Total Youth Literacy Rate (15-24 years, 2003 – 2007)

Total: 100 %
Male: 100 %
Female: 100 %

Adult Literacy Rate (15 years and over, 1995-2004)

Total: 99 %
Male: 100 %
Female: 99 %

Statistical Sources
  • UNESCO: EFA Global Monitoring Report 2011, http://www.efareport.unesco.org
  • UNICEF: http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/
  • World Bank: World Development Indicators database, May. 2012: http://www.worldbank.org/data/countrydata/countrydata.html

Programme Overview

Programme TitleCommunity Learning Centres
Implementing OrganizationNational Commission for UNESCO in Tashkent
Language of InstructionLocal languages
Programme PartnersMinistry of Public Education, local authorities and NGOs
Date of Inception1999

Background and Context

With a population of approximately 27,191,000 people, Uzbekistan is the most populated country of the Central Asia sub-region. 60 per cent of this population reside in rural areas and are typically occupied in rural primary industries, although this number has declined significantly in the past two decades in response to a shift in Uzbekistan’s industry focus. The independence of Uzbekistan in 1991, allowed the country greater flexibility in developing new branches of industry. Since then, the traditional focus on cotton-dominated primary industry is being gradually shadowed by the emergence of industires in oil, gas and production, such as the production of automobiles. Consequently, the significant economic misfortunes of the country that were prevalent during its pre-independence years have been largely transformed, and in 2000 Uzbekistan’s GDP was up 4.2 per cent, largely due to an 8.5 per cent increase in manufacturing. Uzbekistan’s economic turnaround coincided with large improvements in social and economic indicators, as well as an education reform.

In 1997, Uzbekistan enacted a Law on Education that would reform the country’s educational framework, and set a realistic framework for lifelong learning that would ensure continuous education for the population. National education is now run through two ministries, the Ministry of Public Education, and the Ministry of Higher and Secondary Specialised Education, which deals exclusively with professional and higher education. The Ministry of Public Education is responsible for delivering education through three mechanisms:

  1. Formal education: This sector provides formal schooling, from pre-school to advanced further education. In Uzbekistan there are currently more than ten thousand general secondary schools, 63 higher education and 539 technical vocational institutions. The formal education sector also includes the assessment and awarding of all state-accredited qualifications. Through the formal education sector, Uzbekistan has already reached its Millennium Development Goal for universal access to primary education, and reports literacy rates of nearly 100 per cent.
  2. Non-formal learning and education: Through educational establishments that are not connected with formal adult education, non-formal education provides retraining or upgrading of vocational skills. This may include a wide range of levels from training in basic literacy, to advanced application of ICT in enterprising. The role of non-formal learning may be simply conceptualised as learning to apply literacy and contents of formal education to the development of vocational skills that may assist in personal development.
  3. Informal learning: Uzbekistan has identified informal learning as the mechanism in which people continuously learn under their own initiative. This includes personal study assisted by national publications as well as indirectly educational programmes broadcast and distributed by the mass-media.

Amidst the development of a knowledge and information society, non-formal and informal learning opportunities are in increasing demand in Uzbekistan, as many people from traditional disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds are beginning to understand the benefits of continuous education for the development of themselves, their families and their communities. In 1999, the establishment of Community Learning Centres began, with an aim to satisfy these demands.

The Community Learning Centres (CLC)

According to UNESCO, a CLC is as a community-based non-formal educational institution or organisation which provides a range of services and learning opportunities to out-of-school children, youth and illiterate or semi-literate adults from socially disadvantaged rural and urban communities. The CLCs operate outside the formal education system and intend primarily to address the learners’ basic literacy and educational needs and therefore support the holistic development of citizens and communities. As non-formal educational institutions, CLCs are usually established and managed by local communities with financial and technical support from various governmental and non-governmental agencies. Furthermore, their activities are also tailored according to the local context in order to address the local community’s problems as well as to satisfy its basic needs.

The introduction of lifelong learning in Uzbekistan was marked with the establishment of ten Community Learning Centres, a project supported by UNESCO within the framework of the Asia-Pacific Programme Education for All (APPEAL). Each one of these UNESCO sponsored CLCs is located in a different province, typically in disadvantaged areas, and is normally complimented by a large number of small-scale satellite CLCs, established by communities, local authorities or NGOs. There are currently 10,750 such organisations in Uzbekistan, although these organisations are self-proclaimed, and the vast majority are limited to educational consultation services and the promotion of larger CLC activities. Since most of the country’s population lives in rural and remote areas, it is important for the CLCs to have a large presence in rural areas, and this is partially achieved through this satellite structure.

CLC educational programmes are focused entirely on the skills needed by the people of the community in which it serves; these may be literacy and numeracy skills, or they may be more vocational skills. These programmes are directed towards the acquisition of knowledge that will lead to quality of life improvements and the development of vocational capacity. Over the past decade, since the establishment of CLCs, educational programmes have been continuously evolving according to the social needs of the community, who are typically encouraged to devise and follow their own training programme curriculums. Typical activities of CLCs include, but are not limited to, the following:

CLC activities will be described in further detail later in this case study.

Aims and Objectives

Since Community Learning Centres fall under Uzbekistan’s non-formal education sector, it is relevant to note the primary objectives of non-formal education:

Community Learning Centres are established primarily to help to deliver the first of these objectives. Some of the specific aims of CLCs are to:

Programme Implementation: Approaches and Methodologies

Organisational Arrangements

Each CLC is headed by a director and a deputy-director, who consult with the CLC planning committee twice a year. A wide selection of people from the educational ministries, NGOs, local authorities and the communities are invited to participate in these planning committees, in which the majority of the discussion and decision making process of the CLC are carried out. This includes forward planning for CLC programmes and activities, personnel management, resource management and the development of financial resources.

Within the CLC personnel structure, the deputy director acts as programme coordinator. Within each programme, the instruction is headed by a specialist in the relevant field, who is supported by qualified teachers, who are again supported by volunteers.

CLCs are supported by a central CLC Resource Centre in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. This resource centre coordinates CLC activities nationally, and provides materials such as publications for common teaching programmes. For assistance with financial and tangible resources, most CLCs have established relationships with local NGOs, universities, healthcare providers and small or medium enterprises, who are sometimes able to provide the CLC with money, expert teaching staff, specialist equipment and other services. More funds are sourced through income generation projects such as the sale of products, cultural shows or services.

Recruitment and Training of Facilitators

The CLCs three main levels of recruitment are for programme specialists, general teaching staff, and volunteers. Programme specialists are normally approached by the CLC, and are paid on a part time basis. For example, for an environmental programme, the CLC may seek an expert such as a local NGO project coordinator or a university lecturer. General teaching facilitators are also offered part time wages, and are recruited primarily from other educational establishments. Most also have jobs in the formal education sector, or are retired teachers from this sector. All of these instructors hold teaching qualifications. Volunteers are welcomed from any sector, including university students, workers in the enterprising and healthcare sectors, and general members of the community.

Training of staff is considered a key element of CLC resource building; general teaching facilitators and volunteers are encouraged to attend training workshops and seminars organised by the CLC Resource Centre in Tashkent, the education ministries, UNESCO and other local NGOs. Examples of such training workshops include:

Mobilisation of Participants

Sample Activities and Training-Learning Methods and Approaches

The CLC delivers programmes based entirely on the needs of the local people. Specific teaching methods therefore vary widely according to the programme being taught and the preferred teaching methods of the participating expert. In general, learners are encouraged to specify their own learning goals and plan, and so instruction normally involves a mixture of group work and individual instruction. Some examples of CLC activities follow.

Programme Impact and Challenges

Monitoring and Evaluation

Monitoring and evaluation is conducted at local and national level. At local level, each CLC planning committee meets twice a year to discuss the relative successes of the previous period, and to plan for the future. These evaluations are based on feedback from teaching staff, learners and other community members.

On a national level, the CLC Resource Centre in Tashkent conducts its own evaluations and reports to the Ministry of Public Education. These assessments cover the following areas:

In addition, some CLCs have more specific evaluation agreements with private donor organisations, whose continued funding of CLC activities depend on positive evaluation results.

Impact

The following positive impacts of Community Learning Centres have been identified:

Challenges

CLCs in Uzbekistan have faced the following challenges:

Sustainability

To ensure project sustainability, CLCs will focus their efforts on developing more partnerships with other organisations that may be able to supply assistance through material or financial donations, through the provision of staff or through advice.

In particular, proceeds from extended fund raising will be concentrated into upgrading ICT technologies, such as internet access, and creating and distributing more publications to assist trainers and learners with their programme studies.

Lessons Learnt

The following lessons, and future plans for CLCs in Uzbekistan have been identified:

Sources

Contact

Uzbekistan National Commission for UNESCO
54, Buyuk Ipak Yuli Street, Tashkent 700077
Phone: 998-712-670542
Fax: 998-712-670538
E-mail: unesco (at) natcom.org.uz
Contact person: Mr. Alisher Ikramov, Secretary-General