Education in Kyrgyzstan

Education in Kyrgyzstan is compulsory for nine years, between ages seven and 15. Following four years of primary and five years of lower secondary school, the system offers two years of upper secondary school, specialized secondary school, or vocational/technical school.

The Ministry of Education and Science (MES) is in charge of education in Kyrgyzstan. Budget cuts that have reduced teacher salaries and equipment availability are reflected disproportionately in reduced numbers of female students.

In 2008, 3.7 percent of gross domestic product was spent on education. In 2001 some 89 percent of the relevant age-group was enrolled in the compulsory program, but this figure has decreased in the early 2000s. In 2004 the literacy rate in Kyrgyzstan was 98.7 percent.

Structure and organization
Pre-school and primary education

Pre-school is addressed to children from 3 to 6/7 and is not compulsory. Access to it is limited (net enrollment ratio of 10% in 2005).

Primary school usually starts at 6 or 7, lasts four years and is compulsory. Since 2007, uniforms are required in primary education. The law was pointed out as a source of school-drop out, as the uniform has to be bought by the parents. Teaching quality is sometime described as "poor" Kyrgyzstan ranked last in reading, mathematics and science at PISA 2006.

Secondary education
Secondary education begins with the basic secondary education, which lasts four years and is compulsory. Students have then the choice between comprehensive and vocation educations.

Comprehensive education is constituted of a two-year curriculum, which grants -- if completed -- a certificate of completion ("attestat"). The certificate is generally required to join a university.

Vocational education is offered through three kinds of courses: A three-year course mixing vocational and general education and preparing for higher education, a two-year course mixing vocational and general education (without preparation to higher education), and a ten-month course of pure vocational education (also open to adults). Vocational education is given in professional lyceum and vocational technical colleges.

Tertiary education
Higher education includes universities, academies, specialized higher education institutes and institutes. There are 54 tertiary education institutions: 33 public for 21 private. The gross enrolment rate in higher education was 12.5% in 2011/2012.

Universities deliver bachelor (Bakalavr) degree in four years, which allows to pursue into master (Magistr) programs, lasting two years. They also offer a "specialist degree" (specialist) in five (or six for medical and architecture studies) years. The specialist and the master degrees open the door to PhD programs (aspirantura).

Academies offer the same degrees in fields of scientific activity. An institute is usually a specialized branch of a university or an academy. Specialized higher education institutes are narrow profiles institutions.

There were criticisms about the competency of university lecturers in Kyrgyzstan: if a Master degree is theoretically required to teach at university, most teachers actually hold a Bachelor or even no degree at all