The Year of Support for Youth and Public Health Promotion 2021 is strategically important for Uzbekistan as over 60% of the population are young people. Uzbekistan needs to rip the demographic dividend. According to statistics of UNFPA, in 2046 in Uzbekistan, there will be around 27 million working-age population. Then the demographic dividend reaches its final destination, where it starts to decline in demographic growth. That is why Uzbekistan needs to have a clear strategy for mobilising the resources in young people.

The year of Youth holds some of such strategies that we said in this year. One of reach is to empower by law that the public and private sectors are encouraged to employ young people as much as possible. The private sector is free of taxes if the employee’s young people starting from 22 to 25. So it is a very great incentive for the private sector to hire to employ young people as much as possible. The second thing we are working on is to equip young people with needed skills. It is essential for Uzbekistan to clearly outline what skills will be in demand and the coming years. The Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations of the Republic of Uzbekistan must have a clear strategy. That is why Uzbekistan is focusing on mainly two goals: employment opportunities and educational opportunities for young people. That is why the coverage of tertiary education has risen from 9% to 28 % in the last five years, which is also planned to grow to 50 % by 2023. So it is important to outline these two crucial points: employment opportunities and educational opportunities for young people, in the Year of Support for Youth and Public Health Promotion.

The most important decisions we have made on this year: introducing new student loans to education. It is essential for a country with a growing number of applicants to universities to tertiary education that there should be a systematic approach and systematic solution to cover the demand among young people. With the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Uzbekistan, we have launched new educational loans for young students, which has great importance for many students coming from average families. We must keep the balance between well of and average families in terms of their educational opportunities. Education should not be only available to one in society. That is why Uzbekistan’s primary goal is to provide opportunities for young people who would like to attain tertiary education.

The second goal I can mention is that now young people can impact the governmental budget. It is essential that we also keep in mind that if the significant claims of this country are young people, we should also consider their wishes, problems, and opinions. That’s why in each region, Uzbekistan has 14 provinces and 206 growing districts now across the whole country, and this is very important that we decentralise the youth state policy across the entire country where they are NGO’s are also involved in supporting young people. At the same time, the government itself, cities and regions are also interested in helping young people. That is why the law stated and supported that now young people have the opportunity to influence a regional budget coming from average families that fall into the category of unemployed once, non-education or training need once. That is why young people must also have their opinion on the formulation of the local budget, this is very important we keep the mind. At the same time, we have now an excellent opportunity for young people who would like to study abroad. We have raised the scholarships for young people who would like to learn in the world’s top universities. Now Uzbekistan is locating a minimum of 2 million dollars on supporting the education for young people abroad. We are currently working on different programs and essential needed skills and professions worldwide, so the third thing that I can be proud of is these achievements.

The fourth thing is that I also mentioned that the private sector is mainly encouraged to employ young people, which is why focusing on making sure the private sector hires as many young people as possible. The last thing is we also have a program that is called youth social support system, where we have open access for all young people who have social problems they can approach, and they can register and have government support on different skills gaining educational opportunities and all employment opportunities that youth would like to have. Even they can get financial help from the government if they are in trouble. So, mainly these are the five crucial tools that we have. The last thing we can mention is that the government itself and the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan always have young people in our state as a priority.

The second thing I can mention for one of the achievements is that we support young entrepreneurs. Uzbekistan believes in the power of young entrepreneurs, and that’s why we have allocated 2.3 billion sums equal to over 200 million dollars for young people’s entrepreneurial activities. We need to have always in mind that young people have different ideas of start-ups, new innovative ideas, and other creative business plans that the government should support. That’s why we have supported 92000 young people’s entrepreneurial activities, and their number has risen from 100 thousand to 500 thousand 5 times growth in the number of young entrepreneurs in Uzbekistan for the last four years because of continuous programs for supporting young entrepreneurs in Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan must have a strong program for education and different spheres. For example, the introduction of a new Ministry preschool education of the Republic of Uzbekistan was the critical element in President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoev’s reform, because imagine last year we had 700 000 birth for a year 700 000 birth in a year which means there is a boom in birth rates in Uzbekistan. The country must rip the demographic dividend. At the same time, they teach and equip these kids with the needed values, knowledge, and skills they would need when they go to school. That is why President said the new strategy for preschool education and new Ministry was introduced and the coverage of the preschool-age kids from 20 % in 2017 that when he started these reforms, grew to 60% across the whole Republic, this is a significant and extensive reform in President Shavkat Mirziyoev’s presidency. This is an essential strategy. Then he started looking at education scores, where three important key goals were outlined. Firstly, the rise in the teachers’ pay, salary has significantly risen, and it is keeping to progress. Secondly, free teachers of any kind of force labor. This is one of the most importantly political wills of the President that he did, and he took this reform in the country. Now teachers cannot be forced by any means to move labour because there is a substantial punishment for any governmental official involving teachers in forced labour. This is a second meaningful reform of the President started. The third one is bureaucracy; he said teachers must be free of any bureaucracy at schools. It should be attractive not only to females but also to males. Then-President started looking at the quality of education at schools, where he said there should be 11-year systematic education. I mean compulsory education from 9 years to 11 years, which has significantly impacted on kids decide how to go above the further education, because back in the past, if we had colleges and lyceums after 9-year compulsory education now it is directly to universities, I mean tertiary education, after school education. So this has given kids the opportunity to live with their parents until they decided where to go, and then they choose to go to universities when they grow up and become already independent. However, in the previous experience, most of the kids after 9-year compulsory education have to move other regions to study colleges or lyceums which most of the time, the privet the kids of their parent’s attention, essential values and upbringing, etc. Tertiary education, as I said, the main goal was to increase the number of private universities. At the same time, increasing the coverage for students, which has risen from 9% to 28% from 60000 to 180 000 students, this mated very clear for many students that it is possible with their knowledge to enter university and most crucial fall it is transparent the exams have been already started to take place in open fields stadiums and other sites where all the cameras reset. It’s already transparent, which is very important for students because they are future leaders potential governmental personnel that is why important to provide them with transparency elements.

As I mentioned, Uzbekistan has a significant demographic dividend to rip. It is mainly associated with young people and young people keen to learn foreign languages because Uzbekistan is now setting friendly relationships with other foreign countries starting from Central Asia to other most developed countries. Uzbekistan must push forward the idea of having multiple languages in our country. That’s why many opportunities are being provided to those who know foreign languages. For example, just becoming a governmental official is also required to be fluent in at least one foreign language, and young people must have a motivation for themselves.

At the same time, we are providing young people with different international competitions and participation in various international Olympiads. We must teach them foreign languages because most of these contests and other opportunities are available for foreign language learners. That’s why we are providing it as much as possible. Now they are giving year over year rise in their salary to different sectors including government. Now government bodies can benefit from knowing a foreign language, and they need to know a foreign language. Apart from that, Uzbekistan needs to employ these young people, and it is only possible with the knowledge of a foreign language because we potentially prepare them for different freelancing jobs, and at the same time we are paying a significant amount of attention to the IT industry.

We have the essential strategy that educational loan has been launched with the Ministry of Finance, and now we are working on also providing social grants. There is also an existing program where 2 thousand places for young females have been providing by the President himself as a sign to empower young girls to acquire tertiary education. Apart from that, we are also working on ensuring social scholarships for families for kids who come from low-income families where they need social support and the government’s support. We are working on a new program to acquire social support by registering or accessing this social registry system for young people. Now there is a holistic system that they can call to short numbers 1093 or or where they can register and get scholarships if they come from low-income families. This is one of the crucial steps that we took in supporting young people in Uzbekistan.

 By Alisher Sadullaev,
Chairman of the Youth Union of the Republic of Uzbekistan


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