Democracy Assistance in the Kyrgyz Republic
The Kyrgyzstani Parliament
The Oslo Center, together with the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, cooperated with Kyrgyzstani political parties on strengthening democratic institutions and practices in the Kyrgyz Republic. As part of our effort to this end we held workshops on good governance for members of the Kyrgyzstani parliament, Jogurku Kenesh.
The long term goal for this work was to achieve a responsible parliament that are passing laws in compliance with international conventions and agreements. Since 2014 three workshops were held on topics related to good governance, human rights, how to draft legislation in line with international conventions, develop strong and independent institutions, functional coalition governments and opposition etc.
The Kyrgyz Republic held parliamentarian elections in 2015, where 120 MPs were elected to the parliament for a five-year term. Six parties passed the threshold of 7 % and got seats in the parliament: SDPK (38 seats), Respublika Ata-Jurt (28 seats), Kyrgyzstan Party (18 seats), Onuguu-Progress (13 seats), Bir Bol (12 seats), and Ata Meken (11 seats). Since November 2016, the ruling coalition consists of SDPK, Bir Bol and Kyrgyzstan party.
Many MPs in the current parliament realize that their skills and competence in legislative work should be enhanced. There is a need to develop the work of the parliament in a more constructive direction, in order to have laws passed that will benefit the country long-term and as a whole.
After three workshops held for parliamentarians (2014 and in 2016), we established good contacts in the leadership of all parties in the parliament. With the experience from the previous workshops, we are now in a better position to fine-tune the format and topics of new workshops/consultations in order to better meet the expectations and interest of the parliamentarians.
‘History of religious culture’
Since 2015, the Oslo Center cooperated with the Ministry of Education and Science and State Commission on Religious Affairs (SCRA) and provided assistance to developing a new school subject on history of religion, ‘History of religious culture’.
Due to the Soviet legacy, broad segments of the population hold a skeptical attitude towards teaching pupils in schools about history of religion and contemporary issues of religion, faith and world views. Moreover, there is a huge lack of basic knowledge among pupils on history of religion, contemporary religion in the Kyrgyz Republic and the world. Thus, the new school subject seeks to fill a void that will not only build important knowledge in the youth, but also have a conflict preventive effect in terms of making the youth more capable of understanding and appreciating the ethnic and religious pluralism of the country and in the world.
The new school subject was introduced to 9th graders in ten pilot schools during the autumn of 2016. Since the independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, as well as during Soviet times, there was no teaching of history of religion in primary or secondary schools in the Kyrgyz Republic.
A long term goal for introducing a subject on history of religion in schools is that the pupils of the Kyrgyz Republic will develop an understanding and appreciation of religious and ethnic pluralism in their country.
The expected results of the new subject of history of religion is that basic knowledge on history of religion will be introduced to all 9th graders in the Kyrgyz Republic and competence for teaching the new subject built in teachers.
After evaluating the pilot, the new subject will be introduced to 9th grade in all secondary schools in the country. The draft textbook will undergo a final revision and translated into minority languages, teachers will be trained, and an electronic version of the textbook will be developed.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee/the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was currently our sole donors for our engagement in the Kyrgyz Republic.