"The future and the well-being of our planet depend on what our children do and what their accomplishments are. We are to create an enabling environment for the young people to display their potential."
From the report of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan
Shavkat Mirziyoyev at the 72nd session of the UN General
UZBEKISTAN: THE LAND OF THE YOUNG
As the historical development path of any state shows, the accelerated evolution of a country, achievement of certain progress, the well-being of the people are closely related to the degree of concern about education and upbringing of young people, their future. In this sense, the issue of youth in Uzbekistan ranks among the top priorities of state policy.
There is a strong foundation in Uzbekistan to protect the rights and interests of young people, create the enabling environment and opportunities in our country, and this system is being streamlined in accordance with the requirements of the time. To date, the Parliament has adopted over 40 youth-related laws, and ratified over 30 international legal documents.
Meanwhile, with an eye to the fact that today we all live amid the biggest number of youth in the history of mankind, the proposal of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev from the high rostrum of the United Nations to accede the UN Convention on the Rights of Youth was warmly welcomed by the international community. The head of Uzbekistan substantiated the adoption of the document with the fact that the current number of young people throughout the world has exceeded two billion, and that they need to be protected amid the rapid growth of the influence of international terrorism and extremism.
It is highly symbolic that the first legislative act signed by Shavkat Mirziyoyev as President of the Republic of Uzbekistan was the Law ‘On State Youth Policy’ of September 14, 2016. This suggests that both the leader and the government are well aware that the consistent implementation of the state youth policy in the country with youth making up more than half of the population. Also, bringing up young people in the spirit of patriotism and dedication, comprehensively advanced intellectuals, purposeful and enthusiastic individuals with a strong life stance, concerned about the ongoing reforms and willing to engage in livable future of their country, is an important factor for Uzbekistan to take a decent place among the developed countries of the world.
It is worth mentioning that this objective is also reflected in the National Action Strategy on Five Priority Development Areas 2017-2021. Specifically, it defines the following priorities aimed at protecting the rights and interests of young people:
First objective is to bring up physically healthy, spiritually and intellectually developed, independently-minded young people, devoted to their Homeland, with strong life stance, and increase their social activity in the process of enhancing democratic reforms and developing civil society;
Second, employ, and engage graduates of secondary special, vocational and higher educational institutions in private entrepreneurship;
Third, support and fulfil creative and intellectual potential of the young generation, promote healthy lifestyles among children and young people, broadly involve them in physical culture and sports.
The Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan ‘On the State Program Yoshlar – Kelajagimiz’ dated June 27, 2018, has become an important document aimed at increasing the effectiveness of the efforts taken in this area. In pursuance of the Decree, the Union of Youth of Uzbekistan established the Yoshlar - Kelajagimiz Foundation (Youth Is Our Future), which specializes on ensuring the provision of soft loans and leased property through commercial banks at a rate of 7% per annum for youth business initiatives, start-ups, ideas and projects. The document explicitly and consistently sets objectives for the integrated development of youth entrepreneurship and initiative.
In turn, fundamental reforms are underway in the educational system, making up the basis of all the changes in Uzbekistan. Currently, the share of expenditures on social sector, including education, is more than half of the total spending of the state budget. In such conditions, it is natural that such expenses are not feasible for any state; nevertheless, despite difficulties, the funds and resources needed are still allocated.
Seeing the above costs not as costs, but as the most productive investment in the future, the head of Uzbekistan repeatedly notes that the level and quality of education are essential factors that determine the future of each state. Indeed, the fate and results of the reforms primarily depend on the level of education of human resources, on how they meet the requirements of time and progress.
For this purpose, Uzbekistan established the Ministry of Preschool Education, fundamentally reformed the public education system, re-introduced the 11-grade general secondary education system. Admission quotas to higher educational institutions were expanded considerably, and extramural education was restored in the higher education institutions of the country. Reputable universities of 15 developed countries of the world have opened their branches in Uzbekistan in the last two years.
In short, Uzbekistan is gradually implementing the state youth policy pursuing clear goals, based on integrated measures.
In this context, five important initiatives by Shavkat Mirziyoyev, which envisage system-based policies in social, spiritual and educational areas, have marked the beginning of a new stage in the upbringing and education of young people, for the first time in the history of Uzbekistan.
The first initiative is to enhance the interests of young people in music, drawing, literature, theater and other kinds of arts.
The second initiative is the physical hardening of young people, creating an enabling environment for them to demonstrate their aptitudes.
The third initiative is ensuring an effective use of computer technologies and Internet by the population and young people.
The fourth initiative comes to organizing regular activities to raise spirituality of young people, and to widely promote the reading of books.
The fifth initiative is to ensure the employment of women.
The good idea of the head of state was welcomed both by the people in general and by the youth, so in a short time it spread widely throughout the country.
The implementation of the five above-mentioned initiatives, which will be widely introduced into everyday life in the future, promises to significantly improve the state of cultural centers in the regions of the country, the logistical capacity of music schools and schools of art. Based on the interests of young people, it is planned to establish additional 1.500 clubs, amateur artistic groups, youth drama studios and youth clubs in all district centers in the most remote settlements.
Also, it is envisaged to optimally engage young people in more than 12,000 sports facilities across the country. All secondary schools will be equipped with modern sports equipment. Along with that, gyms and sports grounds with artificial turf will be built from light construction sandwich panels in distant and outlying settlements. The number of children's and teenage sports schools will increase significantly.
IT learning centers will be established in all regions of the country based on best international practices in protecting young people from harmful attacks on the Internet, teaching them the effective use of information technologies. Young people will learn e-commerce and programming for free, acquire innovative skills in doing business in the field of information technology, and receive help with their start-ups.
By 2021, it is envisaged to develop and gradually implement an action plan on providing computer classes with up-to-date equipment and high-speed Internet access at all schools. Newly created computer game centers will be provided with tests, quizzes, development strategies and other useful programs aimed at expanding the knowledge and outlook of the younger generation.
In order to boost reading skills in young people, as part of the new initiative, at least a million copies of books will be delivered to the Republic of Karakalpakstan and to all regions of the country. Concurrently, an exemplary bookstore with mobile book stands will be established in the center of each city and district. It is planned to provide library services to rural people via Library Buses.
As part of ensuring employment among women, it is envisaged to select densely populated areas with large labor resources in all regions of the country, and build 195 garment and knitwear enterprises in 2019-2020. It is expected that these measures will help to create over 24,000 permanent jobs.
In general, Uzbekistan takes every effort to create modern and innovative conditions and employ all the capacities to enable young people to get education and become full-fledged citizens. The extent of the attention paid to the comprehensive support of young people, to the upbringing of a spiritually developed and physically healthy young generation in the spirit of patriotism and selflessness, to the protection of their rights and interests, predetermines the scale of returns.
This is the reason why Uzbekistan considers the youth as a strategic resource of the state, active strata of the population, which is not a ‘problem’, but a tremendous force capable of ensuring the prosperity of the country. Consequently, nowadays, well-educated and advanced young people with a strong life stance are gradually turning into the decisive force of tomorrow's progress.
Development Strategy Center