03/12 13:27

The Aga Khan Foundation expands its support to early childhood development in Kyrgyzstan

A new television programme, Adventure to the World of Books, and a series of new children’s books will be formally presented by the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF), an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), at the National Library of Kyrgyzstan on December 3, 2010.

The decision to launch a new TV programme was prompted by AKF’s positive experience in the development of Keremet Koch together with international and government partners, a popular children’s programme in the country. Developed under the AKF’s Reading for Children Project, the programme seeks to improve the reading and learning capacities of children using innovative and entertaining reading techniques. Guided by Chypalak, the main character of the programme, the young audience and their parents embark on thrilling adventures through stories developed by local writers and AKF early childhood development specialists. The television programme is expected to encourage parents to play a more active role in the education of their children, revive traditions of family reading, and strengthen ties between parents and children.

Adventure to the World of Books is the result of a strong partnership between the National TV channel and script writers, artists, composers, and actors from Kyrgyzstan. The program started weekly broadcasts on the National TV Channel in October and will be available for children from all over the country.  

Shahid Punjani, the Chief Executive Officer of the Aga Khan Foundation, explained that “AKF is trying to provide a range of education opportunities – from television programmes to books – for parents and young children to build their capacities. These initiatives are intended to make learning exciting and to encourage children to be curious. At the same time, they complement AKF’s on-going activities in retrofitting kindergartens and training teachers.” 

The event will also includ a presentation of new Kyrgyz Language children’s books with collections of traditional songs, stories as well as poems and children’s encyclopedias on history, traditions, geography and flora and fauna of the Kyrgyz Republic. Earlier research conducted by AKF found that there was a short supply of Kyrgyz language children’s books in the country and that many parents did not read regularly with their children. 

“Nowadays, as the children’s book publications have become poor, we are glad that international agencies like Aga Khan Foundation have greatly supported this process. The books presented today are useful for children both in preschools and schools. They contain interesting stories and poems of both classic and modern authors. I would like to express deep gratitude to the Aga Khan Foundation for supporting culture transmission and literacy development,” said Baitemir Asanaliev, the author of the “Collection of Poems for Children”.

To date, AKF and its local partner, the Mountain Societies Development Support Programme (MSDSP), has developed and distributed more than 32,000 books, established 46 mini-libraries, and trained 183 librarians and facilitators in Osh and Naryn Oblasts. More than 8,800 parents and other caregivers have been trained in reading methodologies. In addition, AKF is actively working to improve the learning environments for young children through the repair and refurbishment of government kindergartens, the establishment of home-based and jailoo kindergartens, and policy dialogue. In its work, AKF collaborates closely with the Ministry of Education and Science in Bishkek and in the regions, local government authorities, teachers, and communities. Since 2005, AKF investment in early childhood development has led to the establishment of 102 kindergartens in the country and is providing more than 5,300 children with access to quality early childhood education. 



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