Conference “Preschool Education: A New Start”: How Preschool Education Will Work in 2020-2021

September 10, 2020, Tashkent – During the conference, representatives of the Ministry of Preschool Education shared the achieved results and told how the preschool educational institutions will work in the context of the pandemic.

“The Ministry of Preschool Education traditionally submits a report on the work done twice a year. In three years, we managed to cover 1.5 million children with preschool education, which is 2 times more than in 2017. By the end of this year, it is planned to bring the coverage to 59.5%. The number of preschool educational organizations is also growing. If in 2017 there were 5 thousand preschool educational institutions, now their number exceeds 14 thousand, ”said Minister of Preschool Education Agrippina Shin.

The construction and reconstruction of preschool educational institutions continues throughout Uzbekistan. So the 2020 programs provide for the construction of 18 new facilities, the commissioning of 129 empty buildings and the reconstruction of 261 state preschool educational institutions. This will create 32.7 thousand new places.

The stimulation of the private sector in preschool education continues. So in 2018—2019. MDO signed agreements on public-private partnerships in the amount of 3.9 trillion soums (of which 1.1 trillion soums were allocated at the expense of entrepreneurs and 2.8 trillion soums through concessional loans). The total capacity of non-state preschool educational institutions planned for commissioning is 147.9 thousand places. In 2020, it is planned to open another 2,000 family and 420 ECE centers within the framework of PPP.

What has been done during the pandemic

During the pandemic, priority was given to two tasks:

Keeping children and workers healthy
Ensuring the continuity of education under the Ilk Kadam (for children 3–5 years old) and Aklvoy (for children 6 years old) programs.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, from March 16, 2020, the Ministry of Preschool Education has suspended the work of 14 thousand preschool educational institutions, including 6 thousand state, 6.7 thousand family, 753 private and 692 PPP-based preschool educational institutions. Employees were sent on paid paid leave or transferred to remote work.

From March 23, 2020, disinfection measures began in preschool educational organizations. At the same time, the ministry suspended studies in 97 pedagogical colleges of the preschool education system and sent more than 27.5 thousand students on vacation.

In order for children and at home to continue to learn about the world around them, the Bolajon TV channel launched the Online Kindergarten program cycle. Video sessions were broadcast daily from April 1 to June 15, 2020 in Uzbek and Russian. The broadcasts that aired were distributed through Telegram channels and social networks.

Also, for parents and specialists of the preschool educational institution, a cycle of television programs “Alphabet of Health” was launched with the participation of medical workers, teachers, psychologists and defectologists.

Cooperation with the Ministry of Health and international organizations

The MDO, together with the Ministry of Health of Uzbekistan, have developed Temporary Sanitary and Epidemiological Requirements for the content, structure and organization of the ECE operation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the expense of UNICEF grant funds, educational videos are produced for preschool children and for children with disabilities, a system for monitoring the growth and development of pupils is being developed, methodological and printed materials on hygiene and the prevention of the spread of infections are being created.

Also, on the basis of international practices, a program for hygiene, a healthy lifestyle and the prevention of viral and bacterial diseases is being developed. Training will be conducted in a fun way.

With the assistance of the World Bank, MDO purchased 14,000 non-contact infrared thermometers. Delivery and distribution of devices by region is expected in the second half of September.

How ECE centers will work after opening

The resumption of the work of preschool educational organizations is allowed if there is a supply of clean water, detergents and disinfectants. To open a preschool educational institution, the permission of the Kengash of People's Deputies and the services of sanitary and epidemiological welfare and public health is required.

“The priority for the Ministry of Preschool Education has always been the health of children and employees. We recommend that you do not resume your ECE attendance unless absolutely necessary. Despite the measures taken, there is no place safer for a child than home. The place of the pupil in the preschool educational institution will be preserved. Also, parents can choose to visit freely.

From September 7 to 14, MDO in Tashkent and the Tashkent region will open one preschool educational institution in each district. The opening is carried out only with the permission of the Kengashes of People's Deputies and the services of sanitary and epidemiological welfare and public health, as well as with the consent of the parents of the pupils of this preschool educational institution. From September 14, this process will gradually go throughout the republic. First of all, senior and preparatory groups with children 5-7 years old will resume work. This is due to the fact that it is more difficult for a child under the age of 5 to maintain social distance and hygiene rules. For example, he can pull toys into his mouth 

ku that other children had previously played with. The opening of the middle groups (for children 4-5 years old) is scheduled for October, and for the younger ones (for children 3 years old) in November. The timing can be adjusted depending on the epidemiological situation in the country, ”said Minister of Preschool Education Agrippina Shin.

The following measures will be taken to ensure the safety of pupils and employees of the preschool educational institution:

in order to avoid crowding at the entrance, pupils are brought and taken away according to the approved schedule. They are accepted by educators, representatives of the child are not allowed on the territory of the preschool educational institution;
during outdoor activities and walks, interaction of children, educators and their assistants from different groups is not allowed;
the premises will be wet cleaned 3 times a day using detergents and 1 time using disinfectants, as well as 4 times disinfection of frequently used surfaces (door and window handles, frames, tables, switches);
toys, teaching materials and equipment will be sanitized daily, as well as cleaning and disinfection of gazebos and playgrounds;
in order to limit contact, staff will receive food from the catering facility on schedule. When washing dishes, an exposure in a 1% solution of a disinfectant will be applied.
Private preschool educational organizations will open in accordance with the decisions of their own leadership.

What will be done to ensure that children go to the preschool safely

Ministry of Preschool Education:

monitors the readiness of preschool educational institutions to open and work in a pandemic;
will conduct additional training of employees in sanitary and hygienic and anti-epidemic rules;
will continue to create educational content for broadcast on television and the Internet.
ensure uninterrupted supply of water supplies to state preschool educational institutions that are not connected to the water supply system and do not have artesian wells;
Khokimiyats of districts at the expense of local budgets:

provide state preschool educational institutions with disinfectants and detergents;
will provide state preschool educational institutions with antiseptic agents for treating hands.
“The work of the electronic queue will resume no earlier than November this year. So far, the efforts of the ministry are aimed at creating a safe environment for pupils already attending preschool institutions. Today the recommended maximum number of children in a group is 15 people. Specialists of preschool educational organizations will have to learn how to work in a pandemic, and the ministry will have to learn lessons and draw conclusions. In addition, 3-year-olds, as I noted earlier, do not yet understand the importance of social distance and hygiene rules, which endangers their health and the health of those around them, ”explained Minister of Preschool Education Agrippina Shin.

MDO will continue to work on the issue of creating a safe environment in ECEs in close tandem with other ministries and departments.