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2008 – The Year of Youth in Uzbekistan

Press Release ¹7

It has become a kind tradition in the Republic of Uzbekistan to dedicate each year to a particular direction of social policy. The year 2008, as well, on the proposal of President Islam Karimov has been announced as the Year of Youth.

This initiative of the head of state became the logical continuation of the work to provide for the interests of the upcoming generation that was started since the early years of Uzbekistan’s independence. After all, the youth accounts for the most significant part of the Uzbek society. At the moment, 10 million 400 thousand young people at the age of up to 18 years old, or about 40% of the country’s total population, reside in Uzbekistan, and at the age of up to 30 years old – over 17 million people, which makes up 64% of the population.

Uzbekistan was the first in the CIS area to have adopted the Law “On foundations of state youth policy in the Republic of Uzbekistan” (November 20, 1991). The country has defined the care about the youth, support of its initiatives and protection of personal rights and freedoms as the priority directions of the law. The law provided for the legal and social protection of the young people, direct participation of the youth in shaping and implementing the policy of development of society.

The strategically important tasks have been consistently realized in the Uzbek society for over the past 16 years of the country’s independence. They have played a significant role in ensuring so that the youth gains the deep knowledge, forms the professional skills, and fully manifests its talents.
In the framework of ongoing reforms in the educational sphere the Law “On education” (July 2, 1992) and the National Program for Cadres Training (1997) have been adopted in the country. According to the experts, the Program does not have analogs in terms of its significance and scale.

The Program, unique both on its essence and substance, which envisages the transition onto a 12-year education, makes up an integral continuous system of education. It imbibes the nine-year general secondary school and a three-year secondary special professional training at colleges and academic lyceums.

The academic lyceums, which are established at the higher educational institutions, give the young people an opportunity to obtain the deeper knowledge to gain the higher education on the chosen majors, and the colleges, along with continuing the education on special subjects, allow to acquire the medium-qualification profession on two to three subjects so that each and every person joining the mature life could realize his abilities and find his own place in society.

In the framework of the National Program for Cadres Training the country implements the State nationwide program for developing the school education, which is also aimed at until 2009.

Since the start of implementation of the national educational programs Uzbekistan has newly built and fully repaired about 1140 academic lyceums and professional colleges, over 4680 general education schools equipped with modern furniture, study and laboratory equipment, computer and language-learning classes.

The radical reforms were carried out in the sphere of higher special education. The country undertook the transition onto a European system of training the bachelor’s and master’s students. At the moment, about 300 thousand students attend the 65 higher educational institutions nationwide on 850 directions and majors.

For over the past years Uzbekistan has channeled the budget and non-budget funds worth over 5 billion dollars for the construction of contemporary and well equipped educational institutions.

At the early years of independence the “Umid” Foundation of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan to support the study of talented youth abroad, as well as the “Ustoz” Republican Foundation have been established in Uzbekistan to assist the young talented scientists, pedagogues, and students to step onto the level of advanced scientific research and high technologies. Later, those foundations were brought together into the “Istedod” Foundation of President of the Republic of Uzbekistan to raise the qualification of perspective young pedagogues and scientific cadres.

On March 4, 1993 on the Decree of President Islam Karimov the first order of independent Uzbekistan – “Soghlom avlod uchun” (‘For healthy generation’) was instituted. The institution of the order “Soghlom avlod uchun” pursued one of the supreme goals – to bring up the healthy generation, shape the healthy way of life. Later, the International charity fund “Soghlom avlod uchun” has been established.

Nowadays, the experience of Uzbekistan in the sphere of education and upbringing the upcoming generation attracts the attention of foreign specialists. The state policy in this direction continues to develop. As President Islam Karimov has said, the rise of quality of education, creation of broad opportunities and assistance to university and institute graduates in applying the acquired knowledge and professions must become principally important issues.
The issues of social protection of the young people receive a special attention in Uzbekistan. The law provides for the minimum level of social care of the youth. It guarantees the free medical services and education, attendance of recreational and cultural facilities on easy terms, the soft loans for the construction or procurement of housing and other privileges.

The Decree of President of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On additional measures to materially and morally stimulate the young families” of May 18, 2007 became the basis to shape the new stage in the youth policy. At the moment, there are more than 995 thousand young families in Uzbekistan, which accounts for about 16% of all families in the country.

In line with this document, the young families are receiving assistance in building the housing, procuring the construction materials, and equipping the household. For such purposes they are receiving the mortgage, consumer and micro credits. In 2007 alone the commercial banks in the country allocated the soft loans worth in total UZS 50 billion. Those funds were channeled to establish the small business and private entrepreneurship, construction, procurement and rent of housing, purchase of furniture and expensive household technique.

The care about the health of young generation is an important priority of the state youth policy. The Ministry of Health and the country’s medical workers have accomplished a profound work in this direction. The protection of motherhood and childhood remains at the focus of attention. At the moment, the network of screening centers successfully operates in Uzbekistan. They provide for the health of young mothers and babies.

The solid and time-honored system of bringing up the healthy generation has been established in the country. In 2002 on the initiative of President of the Republic of Uzbekistan the Fund for development the children’s sports of Uzbekistan was established. It has become the organizer of popular physical culture and sports engagement with children and young men and women in the country. For over the period since the Fund has been established more than 720 children’s sports facilities have been built and repaired. For those purposes the state has allocated over UZS 140 billion.

Starting the year 2000 the country annually holds the sports competitions that include the three stages – “Umid nikhollari” (for the pupils of general secondary education schools), “Barkamol avlod” (for the students at the academic lyceums and professional colleges) and Student Games (for the students of higher education institutions).

The Student Games – 2007, which was held last year in Tashkent, became a true manifestation of the Uzbek sports. The said youth sports forum has brought together nearly 2400 strongest students nationwide to compete on basketball, volleyball, handball, tennis and table tennis, football, track and fields, swimming, judo, chess, and two types of kurash wrestling. The students competed for 224 set of awards. About 800 students secured the Games medals.
Starting April 2001 the Uzbekistan Special Olympics functions in the country, which has become a part of the Special Olympics International. It has been registered as the public charity organization to assist the mentally disabled people.

Uzbekistan Special Olympics aims to hold the year-round trainings and sports competitions on various Olympic types of sports for the children and grown-ups with mental disabilities, while rendering permanent support for them to physically develop, experience joy and share with their achievements, talents, abilities and friendship with their families, other athletes of the Special Olympics and society.

The special athletes from Uzbekistan secured 6 gold and silver, as well as 7 bronze medals at the World Summer Games of the Special Olympics for the mentally disable children that took place in September – October 2007 in Shanghai with participation of 7600 athletes from 178 countries.

The Public Youth Movement “Kamolot”, which unites more than 5 million young men and women, makes a profound contribution to the development of harmonically matured young generation. The Resolution of President of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On the support of Public Youth Movement “Kamolot” and further raising the efficiency of its activity” has rendered a new impetus to the development of the organization’s work with young men and women and has allowed “Kamolot” to become a reliable support and associate of youth, which assists in addressing the youth-facing problems.

The assistance in employment of young people is one of the first and foremost objectives of the movement. Above all, the point is about the youth in the rural area. The young families, servicemen who have served in the country’s Armed Forces, young entrepreneurs and farmers find themselves under the special patronage of the movement. The network of social services centers have been established in Uzbekistan. Those centers help in rendering the legal, medical aid, choosing profession and training to obtain new professions, employment of youth. The movement works given the support of talented youth, as well, by holding the youth festivals, exhibitions, and creative contests.

Yet the youngest talents are also under the care of “Kamolot”. The Republican children’s organization of “Kamalak” (‘Rainbow’) is one of active wings of the movement. It has the vast structure, which unites over 4 million schoolchildren.

The upbringing of the harmonically developed young generation in Uzbekistan is of the most significant priorities. At the same time, it is important that upbringing and education of the forthcoming generation are based both on the national traditions and values, and advanced international experience.
In this context, one may refer to the results of the recent sociological research by “Ijtimoiy fikr” Center “Youth of independent Uzbekistan: social positions and view towards future”. The research has revealed the vital priorities of contemporary youth. The outcomes of the poll allow to note the main thing: the absolute majority of young men and women of the country consider themselves patriots of Uzbekistan. The most significant are such criteria as the selfless service to Homeland and readiness to defend it, augmenting the people’s fame and values of the national traditions, to be worth of heritage of great ancestors, and knowledge of history of Homeland. Those values come first at all age groups in various parts of Uzbekistan.

The research has revealed the high optimism among the youth. It does have concrete plans for the future in terms of the wish to become a good specialist and serve one’s Fatherland. They enjoy good social feeling given the political and economic stability in the Uzbek society. Particularly, over 80% of young men and women of Uzbekistan have said they were satisfied with their lives.

The state promotes the unveiling of talented youth. Thus, the nationwide prize “Nikhol” which was instituted in 2000 has become an important step in supporting the youth in the sphere of arts and developing the national variety arts.

Thanks to the State prize after the name of Zulfia instituted in honor of the people’s poetess of Uzbekistan thousands of girls successfully start off and realize themselves in the sphere of education, science, literature, culture and arts.

At the moment, the bulk of large-scale projects on the support of young people are implemented by non-state non-profit organizations. Speaking at the festive meeting dedicated to the 15th anniversary of Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov has noted the need to support and render assistance to the implementation of projects by non-state organizations that make a significant contribution to the development of young generation.

The “Forum of culture and arts of Uzbekistan” Fund established in 2004 is among those who actively supports the youth of the country. The large projects are being implemented under aegis of the Fund. They are the nationwide contest of talented youth “Kelajak ovozi” (‘Voice of future’), the nationwide festivals of traditional and contemporary art “Navkiron Uzbekiston” (‘Uzbekistan’s youth’), and “Yangi avlod” (‘New generation’). Those projects are peculiar thanks to the fact that they are initiated by the youth itself.

In 2006 the active young men and women – the prizewinners of various contests – established the Center for youth initiatives “Kelajak ovozi” at the Fund. Through the Center the youth can realize its ideas. This, undoubtedly, will help the youth to better their knowledge, develop the talent, and perfect its mastery.
The Charity Fund “Mekhr nuri” also actively supports the talented children. Each year this organization along with “Forum of culture and arts of Uzbekistan” Fund initiates the program of educational grants and scholarship contest for the talented students that attend the universities and institutes in Uzbekistan.
The Republican Public Children’s Fund “Sen yolghiz emassan” (‘You are not alone’) – the non-profit non-state public charity organization founded on November 22, 2002, accomplishes a big role in conducting the purposeful social policy in the country. The subject-groups of the Fund’s activity are the orphan children; the children left without parental guidance; as well as the disabled children; the children from families with limited means; the children and families found themselves in tough life situations; and the talented children.

The main mission of the Children’s Fund “Sen yolghiz emassan” is to comprehensively assist in creating the conditions for a worthy life and full-fledged development of children, maintain the priority of family and provide for the effective protection of children’s interests in need of societal support.
Speaking about the main goals and priorities of the State program on the Year of Youth President Islam Karimov has underscored in his address dedicated to the 15th anniversary of Constitution of Uzbekistan that strengthening the legal basis and reconsideration of legislative acts currently in force aimed at providing for the interests of the young generation must become a priority.

To raise the cultural level and enrich the spiritual world of the youth, further promote its strife towards arts and the beauty the elaboration and adoption this year of the State program of improving the activity of children’s music schools and schools of arts aimed for 2009-2014 should be enlisted among the most significant tasks.

Proceeding from this, the most important priority objectives have been defined for the year 2008. They are the protection of rights and interests of the young generation, obtaining by them the contemporary knowledge and professions, training the new formation cadres able to withstand the harmful influences and currents alien to our mentality, and able to take a worthy place in the life of society.

As President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov put it in his speech on the 15th anniversary of Constitution of Uzbekistan, “The youth is not only our hope and future, but it is a decisive force of our today and tomorrow”. Such definition will serve as the basis of the country’s youth policy. In this respect, 2008 is called upon to establish the foundation based on which the builders of the country’s future will have to address the tasks on its further democratization and constructing the modern democratic society.

London, 11 March 2008


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