The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is helping the Government of Kyrgyz Republic for addressing the educational needs of children with special needs in order to better prepare them to become active members of society and reduce their vulnerability to poverty.
A US$ 1-million grant from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, funded by the Government of Japan, will be provided by ADB to support the Improving Access to Quality Basic Education for Children with Special Needs Project. The assistance was given in response to the request made to ADB by the Government of Kyrgyz Republic to help develop a project to address the educational requirements of children facing barriers to learning, which could range from acute disabilities to minor difficulties in performing basic activities. Most of these children come from poor families. It is perceived that very few children with special needs actually receive education or training, and most of them remain outside the system of mainstream education. The ADB's country strategy and program for the Kyrgyz Republic highlights the need to improve the level of human development and the importance of focusing on basic education and disadvantaged children. While progress has been made in the formal educational sector of Kyrgyz Republic, in which ADB has been active, the educational requirements of children with special needs still require attention. The ADB-supported project will specifically address factors that have contributed to this problem, including poor policy, legal, institutional, and planning frameworks; lack of awareness among parents and communities; inadequate teaching skills, educational standards and curriculum; and scarcity of special learning materials, equipment, and facilities. The total number of registered children with disabilities under 18 stood at 17,100 in 2004, but it is believed that the figure may be higher.