Uzbekistan Today continues to explore the real situation in local schools. At this time, we decided to dig deeper and went not to a school, crowded by school students, but to ordinary institution, experiencing a shortage of personnel, the problem with decreasing contingent, and high degree of competition.
Our correspondent investigated why it happened, visiting personally secondary school number 245 of Tashkent.
FAQ: At the end of last year, the team Uzbekistan Today wondered, "Do all the 9566 schools offer the same appropriate quality of education as it should be?" At the same time, we came to the unequivocal conclusion, that answer to this question is “no”, after interviews with large number of teachers and parents, as well as the directors of schools. One of the main reasons for this is that some schools have surplus of students, while others barely fill half of the calculated capacity. Then the team decided to look at the problem from the inside, and we went to school №260, where everything is seemingly going well.
Our present school, which will be discussed, is located in the Uchtepa District of Tashkent. The building was commissioned in beginning of 70s of the last century and located in a densely populated area, not far from the former literary institute, now - the Uzbek State University of World Languages.
Once, it worked at full design capacity of 1,400 students. Over time, the number of students has been decreased to 500. Even a part of the building was given to the needs of children's center ‘Barkamol Avlod’. These were difficult times for the school. However, today the school, contrary to many factors, aims to return to normal conditions. That's what the institution is facing towards quality.
The school director Saida Rahimova, analyzing the situation, drew attention to a few facts:
- There is a real competition among the schools, though this word is not entirely applicable to the public school system, because education is free of charge. Parents lead their children to schools with good knowledge provided, high level of admission of graduates to prestigious colleges and lyceums, well established club work with students and additional classes. However, is not that absolutely must be established in each institution? Standards are alone, in fact.
Our school has been for more than 20 years before me led by a very experienced and respected educator.
There has been a sad trend of outflow of students here for the last 10-15 years. Unfortunately, it has given its consequences. A human factor possibly played key role, but let's take first things first.
Currently, school shows the average static results, that is perspective step. To date, the Ministry of Education pays great attention to the problems of schools-"outsiders", because eventual filling their capacity by new pupils will have a positive impact on academic achievement of all students. Overloaded classes and teachers of strong schools are also a major cause of problems in providing quality of education.
The current director of the school №245, Saida Rahimova, is an experienced manager. This is not the first school that the administration of the public education system entrusted to bail out. She worked as director of the neighboring school, before this one. She was able to increase the number of students from 490 to a thousand students there for 4 years. Moreover, the school is still expanding.
Before the conversation, Saida Rahimova invited us to walk through the school and check conditions. It is warm and clean; all the equipment and communications are working correctly. The renovation was conducted here in 2011 as part of the National Program for Development of School Education implemented in 2004-2009. Furniture and equipment in rooms of chemistry, physics, computer science, biology, English, sport hall are the same as those in other schools. Despite winter holidays, there are school children: someone came to additional classes, and someone to take part in the school stage of ‘Bilimlar bellashuvi’ - a traditional competition of knowledge.
- As you can see, the material and technical base of our school are not worse and not better, than in other similar institutions. Today the quality of school education affects result of work of school more than ever. In this sense, we achieved nothing special in three years. Despite the fact that we are still at the last place in the ranking of schools at the district level is and in the middle of the list of national ranking, somewhere closer to five thousand positions, we have positive tendencies, Saida Rahimova noted.
Three or four years ago, we hardly gained one or two first-grade classes. We started intense work with mahalla committees. We need concrete actions, and advantages of school should be shown in practice. So we began to work with the children before they come to us as first-graders.
– We visit houses and invite children to the preparatory class, which is called "Pochemuchka” (Who knows?). The the parents willingly lead their children to us. For example, among the current first-graders, 60 people are graduates of our 'Who Knows?’. They are mainly children who have not attended kindergartens. Moreover, about 40 of first-graders are graduates of preschool institutions. As a result, last year we scored three first-grade classes, this school year we have four first-grade class, and in the summer of the coming year, we plan to collect students for five classes. The popularity of the school is growing and we are confident that we will achieve this goal.
– At the request of the parents, our school educates children not only in Uzbek, but Russian language as well. Residents of adjacent buildings on behalf of their mahalla committees appealed to the District Department of methodological support and organization of public education institutions, and their request was granted. Today we have one second-grade and two first-grade classes with Russian-language education.
One of the greatest challenges faced by the school is the personnel issue.
– On one of the pedagogical meetings with teachers, we decided to face the truth and operated solely by objective data. As a result, each teacher decided to work on their professional level and to make a commitment to conduct additional studies. There were those who were not satisfied with the decision, so they voluntarily moved to another job. There were about ten people. In their place we have invited prospective graduates. At the same time, we try to attract experienced professionals from other schools. It's hard, but it happens. We now have teachers who come to work even from neighboring Chilonzor and Yunusobod Districts. We have become more attractive for them because of a convenient work schedule - our school is working in one shift so far.
Our efforts were noticed. We have students who moved to us from neighboring schools. There are only ten or fifteen students so far. Why are children and parents turning to our direction? Well look, now there are winter holidays, but you yourself have seen school children in our school. When I moved here to work, after 2 PM, the school was empty. There were neither students nor teachers. But today everything is different. Come to us in a week and see everything for yourself again. When I just visit the classes, my soul rejoices. The kids with teachers are everywhere – at additional classes and clubs. There are mostly children, who live in mahallas nearby. Parents thank us for ongoing and additional classes, because they do not worry about their children, knowing that they are under the supervision and spend time usefully.
The director of the school noted work on the quality of education, the empowerment of additional education after school and intensive introduction to the educational process of modern information and communication technologies as the main plans for the future. Especially for the latter, she said, today there is a huge potential. In recent years, the Ministry of Education has created a lot of e-books, training videos, which are currently involved in the educational process weakly. This problem is determined here as the most important one, so the school intends to work seriously in this direction.