Training Eases Tensions in Southern Schools
November 29, 2010
Teachers in training discuss promoting tolerance among youth.
The explosive political demonstrations that rocked Kyrgyzstan in early April challenged the USAID Quality Learning Project’s team to engage youth who made up a majority of demonstrators. QLP’s success with Youth Education Activities in Bishkek’s novostroikas were well received. Then, as spring turned to summer, outbreaks of violence in the country’s impoverished south broadened QLP’s focus. QLP was able to field an immediate “real-time” response to Kyrgyzstan’s social challenges in its South. Implementers worked to create safe school environments to help students cope with the recent violence. The QLP team understood that the first people who needed support were school administrators and leaders. Beginning August 1, 2010, QLP partnered with the Kyrgyz Ministry of Education and Science and the Jalalabad Methodology Center to began training school administrators and community leaders in Jalalabad Oblast in conflict resolution and tolerance. Psycho-social training in Jalal-Abad Oblast is a part of USAID’s QLP emergency response efforts to help stabilize the situation in the South and to increase harmony between communities. “The training is designed and conducted at just the right time,” said Amangeldi Asanov, principal of the Manas-1000 school which received the training. “Sessions covered in the training are very practical and important. To me, the training content is like helping a person who is searching for water in the desert, or how to provide medical treatment when a patient is ill.”
QLP team members on their way to survey Novostroika households.
The training provided participants with in-depth information on child behavior during and after crisis situations, specific strategies were given to school and community leaders to help students and parents after emergency situations, along with specific techniques to deal with stress in communities and schools. The training was completed before the opening of the school year on September 1. Thirty trainers were recruited and prepared for this task in three languages: Russian, Kyrgyz and Uzbek. Training was conducted in 420 schools of Jalal-Abad Oblast for an estimated 2300 participants. The training reached school principals and deputies, social workers, inspectors for juvenile offenders, local committees for youth affairs, raion education boards, parent committees and social counsellors. The approach was tailored to three different levels: schools located in recent violence zones, schools instructing in multiple languages, and schools located in remote areas. The training contains special exercises and materials designed to provide the participants with skills to help guide a school through the difficult process of bringing students and communities together after experiencing violence or ethnic conflict. Altogether 196 schools and 970 local leaders were trained in Jalalabad city, Suzak and Bazar-Korgon raions beginning the first of August. Aksy raion, Tash-Komur and Kok-Jangak cities received their training from August 23-25, while the schools of Ala-Buka raion received theirs beginning September 23-29. The QLP project is expanding participation in quality primary and secondary education in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. QLP is one of the many assistance projects supported by the American people through the United States Agency for International Development, or USAID.