BISHKEK, 12 April 2018 – During his first visit to Kyrgyzstan in his capacity as OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM), Lamberto Zannier agreed with the authorities to intensify their long-standing co-operation on the integration of society and inter-ethnic policy, particularly in the field of education.
To formalize this next phase of the partnership, Zannier and Minister of Education and Science Gulmira Kudaiberdieva signed a Memorandum of Co-operation on Multilingual and Multicultural Education.
“I commend this new positive step in our co-operation with Kyrgyzstan,” said Zannier. “Education is at the forefront of my institution’s engagement in this country to advance social cohesion and foster a stable society with linguistic diversity.”
Under the Memorandum, the HCNM and the Ministry will continue the third phase of the Central Asia Education Programme, which promotes integrative and inclusive multilingual education (MLE) both at national level and through regional co-operation between the Central Asian Republics. Multilingual programmes encourage the learning of the State language among minority communities while simultaneously enabling them to study in their mother tongues. Since 2005, MLE has been introduced in 78 schools and 13 kindergartens across the country. Five universities are involved in MLE teacher preparation.
Zannier also agreed with the authorities to continue their co-operation on further developing the State Concept concerning national unity and integration of diverse society as well as on addressing root causes of violent extremism and radicalization.
“Eight years after the tragic events in Osh, the inter-ethnic situation in the south of the country has stabilized but challenges remain; concerted efforts are needed to ensure that all communities feel included and are able to participate freely in public life,” said Zannier.
During his three-day visit to the cities of Bishkek and Osh, Zannier also met with Prime Minister Sapar Isakov, other representatives of the central and regional authorities as well as UN Agencies, education professionals, and members of civil society and national minority communities.