Uzbekistan is boldly transforming its out-of-school education system, offering after-school activities in special centers known as Barkamol Avlod, which translates to "harmonious generation" in Uzbek
With a keen interest in robotics since the age of six, 13-year-old Akbar Nabijonov Akbar dreams of becoming a great engineer
"My dream is to become a great robot builder and to create a robot with artificial intelligence that helps a lot of people" he says.
With the help of Uzbekistan's after school programmes in the Barkamol Avlod centres, Akbar is learning the important skills to turn his dream into a reality.
Unlocking a Range of Talents
Beyond robotics, Barkamol Avlod centers also offer other learning opportunities including chess, problem-solving with the Rubik’s cube, and even hairstyling. Each child has a chance to pursue their dream, like student Abdukarimova Muxlisa who aspires to become a professional hairdresser.
Barkamol Avlod schools, more than 250 of them across the country, form part of Uzbekistan's national education system. As Indira Kholdarova, Head of the Department of Out-of-School Education of the Ministry of Education of Uzbekistan, puts it, "The Bark-am-ol Avlod children's schools are a platform that gives children the opportunity to develop hidden talents and their potential, and of course to apply these skills to build future careers".
Among various courses, traditional design class is quite popular. The aim is to integrate proportions, patterns, symmetry, and modern trends to create fashionable costumes with traditional Uzbek elements.
Student Jabborova Shahwoda has her sights on making a big impact on the fashion world.
“My dream is to create a collection that combines clothing from Uzbek national fabrics with modern clothes. And also - to use this fabric to make hats, shoes or bags.” she says
The government has prioritized computer science and digital technologies, with programs like SkillsForGirls, a global UNESCO initiative, being introduced. In Tashkent's IT park, girls, including those with disabilities, get the chance to acquire IT skills such as web page design.
UNICEF representative to Uzbekistan, Munir Mammadzade, sheds light on the purpose of the program, "We cover all the regions, bringing girls from disadvantaged backgrounds, including girls with disabilities, to be trained on design related programming and also office related ICT skills... These skills are in great demand and we want to give this opportunity to Uzbek girls so that they can compete not only in the domestic labor market, but globally as well".
In another specialized IT school, the teachers are fostering an emerging popularity of e-sports. The director of the school, Fazliddin Ismailov, emphasized the importance of e-sports, stating it develops strategic logical thinking, leadership qualities, and communication skills.
One student, Muxiddinov Kamron, plans to create his own e-sports community organization, a testament to the empowering influence of out-of-school education.
Barkamol Avlod's are leading the way in transforming Uzebek society. By investing in children's education, Uzbekistan is preparing itself for the emerging digital age. And costing the equivalent of a little over €3 per month, all families have access to these vital learning centres.