Kindergarten on Wheels: an Uzbek solution for rural areas
Until the launch of Kindergarten on Wheels, only 27% of Uzbek children went to preschool.
In their first-ever exposure to early childhood education, preschoolers in rural Uzbekistan board bright yellow school buses equipped with playdough, books, toys, and educators with all the required qualifications.
The children, supervised by trained teachers, will play, create, sing, and paint over the next few hours. This experience is essential for developing their future potential.
Five years ago, just 1 in 4 children across the country and 1 in 10 children across the Uzbek rural mountains attended preschool. Thus, the government devised an innovative solution: a fleet of specially designed school buses.
Since the project's launch back in 2017, preschool enrolment rates have jumped from 27% to reach 67% in 2022. The project aims to increase that to 80% by 2026.
The idea was that these buses would offer children between the ages of 3 to 7 a space for education across the most rural regions.
Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education, UNESCO, said that “giving all children access to preschool education that is inclusive, caring and creative is key,” adding that “Uzbekistan’s Kindergarten On Wheels project offers a model that can inspire countries around the world to reach the same goal.”
The fleet of buses moves across the mountains, pausing in a different town each day to provide three hours of play-based learning to up to 16 children at a time. Each bus is equipped with solar panels that power the microwave, air conditioning, and a small restroom. They can run fully off the grid, which is essential in an area where access to running water and power is occasionally limited.
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