May 5, 2022, Tashkent, Uzbekistan – Today, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) jointly with the Ministry of Public Education of Uzbekistan disseminated the results of the first-ever National Early Grade Reading and Early Grade Mathematics Assessments (EGRA and EGMA). The data collected on student reading and math skills will help the Ministry make informed decisions to further strengthen ongoing reform efforts.
In 2018, the Ministry of Public Education in Uzbekistan embarked on a complete reform of the education sector, identifying several critical areas for immediate attention, including assessment and data management. In 2019, USAID and the Ministry of Public Education agreed to undertake a large national assessment of student reading and math ability – the first of its kind in Uzbekistan.
USAID collaborated with the Republican Education Center, under the Ministry of Public Education, and Center for the Development of ICT to adapt the EGRA and EGMA into the seven languages used for instruction in Uzbekistan’s schools (Uzbek, Russian, Karakalpak, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Tajik, and Turkmen) and Uzbek as a Second Language. The EGRA and EGMA assessed over 21,000 students across 935 public schools in the country in the various languages. Originally scheduled to take place in May 2020, the assessment had to be postponed to November 2021 due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The results offer much cause for hope and celebration. Even amid the pandemic, which wreaked havoc on school systems around the globe, Grade 3 children in Uzbekistan nonetheless demonstrated a solid foundation in early reading and math skills, on par with or ahead of their peers in the region.
The data also point to areas for improvement. Students must continue to deepen their reading comprehension skills so that they are equipped to understand and analyze increasingly complex texts as they progress through the grades. In addition, there is a need to better support students to apply their understanding of math concepts and higher order math skills to new situations. The data also highlights disparities in performance across regions and language groups, permitting the Ministry to make informed decisions to improve the quality of education for all children in Uzbekistan.
Highlighting the results, the U.S. Ambassador to Uzbekistan Daniel Rosenblum stated: “This event marks a momentous achievement for the Ministry of Public Education. The United States and Uzbekistan share the vision that high quality education is a powerful driver of development and one of the strongest instruments for reducing poverty and improving health, gender equality, peace, and stability. The efforts of the past two years by USAID and the Ministry have led to the collection and dissemination of reliable data, which will assist the Ministry to use their resources efficiently to improve foundational reading and math skills.”
The First Deputy Minister of Public Education of the Republic of Uzbekistan Usman Sharifkhodzhaev stated: “EGRA/EGMA Nationwide results provide comprehensive and rigorous international assessment of early grade student learning outcomes to date matching international standards. Additionally, we as policymakers can implement key policy actions based on such internationally recognized assessments as EGRA and EGMA today to lay the foundations for the future of learning. The youth of today deserve no less.”
To date, USAID has administered the EGRA and EGMA in over 40 countries, and the data collected has helped countries worldwide improve the foundational reading and math skills of their students.
USAID partners with the Government of Uzbekistan to diversify the country’s economy and increase regional trade, address serious health threats – including COVID-19 – and build the government’s capacity to respond to the population’s needs. For more information, please visit: https://www.usaid.gov/uzbekistan, and Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/USAIDUzbekistan/