Despite the fact that Kyrgyzstan only introduced its Open Education Initiative in 2014, its subsequent development has surpassed all our expectations. At the beginning of this year, Kyrgyzstan’s parliament adopted amendments to the Intellectual Property Rights Law which mandates that all publicly funded resources in all spheres must be made publicly available. For the past three years we were moving towards that goal by implementing a series of small projects, which had a dramatic effect on people’s perceptions of what Open Education is and its importance in the digital era.
The Kyrgyz Ministry of Education launched the Open Education Initiative in 2014. A year later saw its successful adoption of internal provisions within the Ministry, stating that all textbooks developed via public funds should be available in the National OER Repository under CC-BY-NC licenses.
In conjunction with the initiative, the Kyrgyz National Library established the OER Repository. The repository contains contents of three major governmental structures: Ministry of Education, Ministry of Culture and Higher Attestation Commission (oversees the awarding of advanced academic degrees and is responsible for all scientific publications in the country).
With OER, the Ministry of Education is solving its own problem of a school textbook shortage by making e-versions of those textbooks available in the OER repository. The Ministry of Culture has another goal in which it hopes to support the smooth switchover to digital broadcasting in Kyrgyzstan by mid-May 2017. Many current broadcasters have poor chances of entering social digital packages due to digital content production problems. For that reason, the Ministry of Culture has launched a substantial government program to support both the production of new content in digital formats, as well as digitizing audio and video content in the national archives. With this law, all that TV-content will be made available on National TV-Repository to many of our regional broadcasting companies for free. This National TV-Repository, another “small project” at Soros Foundation-Kyrgyzstan, will boost free video content sharing not only within Kyrgyzstan but also throughout Central Asia.