BISHKEK – Bishkek’s new public school No. 82, which was funded by Kazakhstan, has been in full swing for a little more than a month, and the students and teachers are already reaping the benefits of their new facilities.
“Now, we have room to put on events and concerts,” said Principal Atyrkul Konyshbayeva in an interview at the school on May 7. “Now, we have a lot of places to study and there are a lot of hobby groups and children can decide what they want to do after school. They can learn cooking and sewing [and other things]. Now we have a concert hall! Before, the children had to perform in the street.”
The new school in the Kyrgyz capital’s Ala-Too district is relieving another local school, where students used to have to study in three shifts. Now, the area’s 1,600 students, ages 6–17, can study in two shifts (8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.) at two schools, with the old school accommodating 600 students and the new school 1,000. Konyshbayeva has been the principal of the village school for 20 years. Now, she oversees both her old school and the new facilities a few streets away. The students are studying better now, she reports, and she expects most of them to go on to university in Bishkek.
The new school is much bigger than their old facility, the principal explained during a tour of the premises, as children moved between classrooms inside and took gym classes on the basketball courts outside. The 3.5 hectare school complex includes special classrooms for studying music, dance, gymnastics, cooking and sewing (for girls) and metalworking and woodworking (for boys), as well as a concert hall, an auditorium, a library with books in a variety of languages and outdoor exercise spaces.
It has also incorporated new technology into the young students’ lives, something they seem most excited about. There are now computers and computer classes available at the new school and new technologies for presenting more traditional subjects.
“We want to thank President Nursultan Nazarbayev. We’re really glad to have this new school,” said Kursant Alizhanov, 15, the school’s student body president. “We waited for this school for a long time, because the old school was really small and there wasn’t enough room. Now, this is a big school and there are a lot of possibilities to explore our interests and hobbies. There is new technology here that we didn’t have at the old school and now it is easier to learn with the interactive blackboards and with computers …”
Nazgul Raimbek, 14, wants to be a translator. So far, the new school offers language classes in Russian, English, Kyrgyz, Kazakh and Korean. She says it’s easier to study now. “I like the new school. It’s beautiful, it’s big. It’s easier to study, there are many classes and rooms in the school, and there’s lots of light.”
The official agreement to build two schools in Kyrgyzstan, one in Osh and one in Bishkek, was signed during an official visit by President Nursultan Nazarbayev in 2012, and $6.45 million was allocated for their construction from the Samruk Kazyna Sovereign Wealth Fund. School No. 82 in Bishkek opened on March 20 in a ceremony attended by Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev and Kazakh Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan Beibit Issabayev, among other dignitaries.
The school in Osh is still being built and is estimated to be completed before the end of the year.