By Daniel Lynx Bernard and Nasiba Kamilova 

Uzbekistan and USAID officials gathered with advocates for people with disabilities and international education experts to officially launch the USAID All Children Succeeding activity, which aims to strengthen instruction in foundational skills for primary students including those with disabilities. 

Under the five-year USAID-funded activity, All Children Succeeding’s team of local and international experts will work with education stakeholders in Uzbekistan to improve training and materials for teachers and school leaders to strengthen inclusive education practices that promote literacy, numeracy, higher-order thinking and social and emotional learning. They will equip educators to support children with disabilities to thrive in mainstream classrooms including through assistive technology and individualized support plans. 

U.S. and Uzbekistan officials hold copies of the cooperation agreement launching the USAID All Children Succeeding activity on Feb. 20, 2024, in Tashkent. From left are Uzbekistan Minister of Preschool and School Education Khilola Umarova, USAID/Uzbekistan Mission Director David Hoffman, All Children Succeeding Chief of Party Kate Lapham, Uzbekistan National Agency for Social Protection Director Mansurbek Olloyorov, and Uzbekistan Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Kongratbay Sharipov. Photo: USAID All Children Succeeding activity

USAID Uzbekistan Mission Director David Hoffman highlighted the immense potential inherent in every child and emphasized the collective responsibility to create educational opportunities that enable each child to thrive and realize their full potential. 

Joining Hoffman at the Feb. 20, 2024, launch was Uzbekistan’s Director of the National Agency for Social Protection, Mansurbek Olloyorov, Minister of Preschool and School Education Khilola Umarova and Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Kongratbay Sharipov. 

Uzbekistan’s Minister of Preschool and School Education Khilola Umarova said she was excited about the collaborative effort across government sectors to advance inclusive education. “I am thrilled to be present for the launch of the All Children Succeeding project, a pivotal initiative that will enhance integrating children with disabilities into our society,” Umarova said. 

Uzbekistan’s Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Kongratbay Sharipov expressed hope that the activity will serve as a model for disability-inclusive education that will inspire improvements elsewhere. “I firmly believe that this project will not only elevate the educational standards of our youth but also fortify our society and state, ultimately leading to the prosperity of our people.” Sharipov said. 

In attendance at the launch event were representatives of UNICEF, UNESCO, the European Union, the World Bank and the Zamin Foundation, a nonprofit promoting sustainable development chaired by Uzbekistan’s First Lady, Ziroat Mirziyoyeva. 

USAID plans to provide $25 million for the activity, which is being implemented by a consortium led by Creative Associates International.  

Creative’s President and CEO, Leland Kruvant, said the company’s experience implementing education programs has shown that collaboration among teachers and government officials is crucial to bring about reform across the education system that can be sustained in the long term. 

“Everything we need to see success is there today—first and foremost, the commitment of communities, government, and teachers,” Kruvant said in recorded comments. “Cooperation across government sectors is vital. That’s why I’m delighted to note the high-level participation and commitment today from multiple agencies and ministries.” 

At the launch event, representatives of Creative and the Uzbekistan government signed a cooperation agreement underscoring their commitment to work collaboratively toward providing quality, inclusive education and social support to all children in Uzbekistan.  

Mansurbek Olloyorov, Director of the National Agency for Social Protection, thanked USAID and partners including Creative and expressed confidence that the agreement would lead quickly to positive results in integrating inclusive education methods in Uzbekistan’s educational system.  

“The goal is to create an adapted educational environment for children and pupils with special educational needs and provide quality primary and secondary general education,” Olloyorov said. “It includes a smooth transition from pre-school to elementary school and from grade 4 to grade 5, with the involvement of government agencies, teachers, parents, people with disabilities, and civil society representatives.” 

USAID All Children Succeeding Activity Chief of Party Kate Lapham, Ph.D, explained that the principles of inclusive education will guide the activity. Those include presuming that every child has the competence and ability to learn and preparing all teachers, not just specialists, to be able to teach all students, including those with disabilities. Lapham said the activity will be guided by the experiences and needs of people with disabilities while amplifying local voices and empowering local communities. 

Kate Lapham, Ph.D, Chief of Party for the USAID All Children Succeeding activity, delivers remarks at a launch event in Tashkent on Feb. 20, 2024. Lapham explained the principles that will guide the activity in strengthening inclusive education including empowering local communities, involving all teachers in teaching all children, and centering the voices of people with disabilities. Photo: USAID All Children Succeeding activity

The consortium led by Creative includes international and local partners. The American Councils for International Education provides expertise in learning assessments. Syracuse University’s Center on Disability and Inclusion will support training educators on inclusive education and train higher education faculty to prepare future teachers in hands-on learning that promotes social and emotional learning and higher-order thinking.  

Praxis Plus will ensure inclusion of the viewpoint of people with disabilities and engagement of regional and community organizations. The think tank Yuksalish conducts public perception assessments and communications campaigns and facilitates community-school-government dialogues. 


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