Sector Assessment


The education system in the Kyrgyz Republic follows the model adopted when the country was part of the former Soviet Union. It comprises preschool education; 11 years of general education, including primary (grades 1–4), lower secondary (grades 5–9), and upper secondary education (grades 10–11); primary vocational education and training (PVET); secondary vocational education and training (SVET); and higher education. Under the country’s 1993 constitution, primary and lower secondary education is compulsory and free to all children. The Ministry of Education and Science (MOES) manages all the levels of the education system except for PVET, which is under the management of the Agency for Vocational of Education of the Ministry of Youth, Labor and Employment. Some secondary vocational training institutions are under MOES, while others are under other ministries or agencies. Recurring costs of the public education system are funded through national and local budgets as well as by private sources.


The Kyrgyz Republic enjoys abundant hydropower resources, but less than 10% of this potential has been utilized. The country has only modest petroleum and natural gas resources and ranks 81 and 90 in the world in reserves of these two energy sources, respectively. In 2008, total primary energy supply was 2.86 million tons of oil equivalent, of which 70% was supplied by imported oil, coal, and gas, and 30% by domestic hydro sources. The Kyrgyz Republic is a net energy importer but a net exporter of electricity. The sector overall is characterized by energy intensity and carbon dioxide emissions that are below average. This reflects its lightly industrialized economy and a power sector based on hydroelectricity. Apart from hydropower, the country’s principal energy resource is coal. Reserves are estimated at 27 billion tons and proven reserves are quoted as 1.3 billion tons.


Most water supply and sanitation (WSS) infrastructure in the Kyrgyz Republic was built 40 to 50 years ago. Understanding the issues facing today’s WSS sector requires an understanding of the system before the country became independent of the former Soviet Union. WSS services, like the rest of the Soviet Union’s planned economy, were driven by quotas set in five-year economic plans. The systems provided 24-hour water supply and adequate sewerage, but efficiency, sustainability, and cost recovery were neither required nor considered relevant by the system of the time. Tariffs were minimal. As the Soviet Union’s economy stagnated in 1970s, these WSS systems went into a decline. 


The Kyrgyz Republic is a mountainous, landlocked country bordering the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in the east, Kazakhstan in the north, Tajikistan in the south, and Uzbekistan in the west. Regional commerce depends heavily on road transport, which dominates the Kyrgyz transport system. Approximately 95% of passenger and more than half of freight traffic is carried by road. In addition to about 35,000 kilometers (km) of roads, the country has 420 km of railway tracks, four international airports, and seven domestic airports.2 From 2002 to 2010, vehicle registration increased by more than 60%, from 285,084 to 459,747 vehicles. From 2002 to 2008, freight traffic increased by 58% from 1,270 million to 2,002 million ton-kilometers, and passenger traffic rose by 35% from 4,900 million to 6,599 passenger-kilometers.