Environmental Education and Civic Science in the Mountain Regions of Kyrgyzstan

What we are doing
Implementation Period
  • Implementation Period: 2015 - 2018
  • Donor organization: Сеть по Развитию Открытой и Совместной Науки, Германское общество по международному сотрудничеству, Фонд Кристенсена, Фонд Сообществ Силиконовой Долины
  • Geographical location: Нарынская область, Кыргызская Республика
The level of school education, particularly in the remote mountainous regions, is quite weak due to a shortage of qualified personnel, low salaries of teachers, lack of new teaching methods and poor technical equipment of schools throughout Kyrgyzstan. Equipment and laboratories in most secondary schools have not been updated since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the situation has only worsened in the present. As a consequence, pupils do not have the opportunity to study subjects such as biology, physics, chemistry, ecology, natural history and geography in practice, using technical tools and innovative, interactive approaches that would make learning more informative and engaging. And although information technology is now widely developed and various teaching methods can be explored on the Internet, the lack of knowledge, skills and computer technology make it impossible to exploit these opportunities. In addition, environmental education on the management of natural resources, the concept and role of ecosystems, including the protection and conservation of red listed animals, remains rather low, despite the fact that mountain communities are direct users of them.

Project Background

A special feature of the project is the citizen science approach, i.e. involving people without a scientific background - pupils, teachers, farmers and local government officials - in the collection of scientific data, its analysis and interpretation. Given the limited availability of environmental data at the local level, especially in remote regions, this opportunity is very valuable for the citizens involved, as they can increase their knowledge about their environment and gain a scientific basis for discussing and responding to environmental change at the local level.

Project Objectives & Goals

The aim is to increase the level of environmental education in the mountain regions of Kyrgyzstan through the study of the local environment by conducting citizen research and providing access to the obtained information to all who wish, in order to make informed decisions regarding the environment.

The environmental education component was used in the projects "Ecosystem-based approach for adaptation to climate change in the Central Asian mountain regions" and "Protection of the snow leopard through the development of an integrated pasture management plan with the local community",

In other words, environmental issues are addressed directly through practical experiments and interactive exercises, which contributes to a deeper understanding of the topic and thus to better environmental management and planning.

Project Result

The main products of the Environmental Education component are the practical manuals "Learning about Water through Experiments", "Plant Phenology and Climate", and "Snow Leopard Protection and Conservation". The manuals contain instructions on conducting experiments and exercises in certain topics for secondary schools.

The manuals are created on the basis of project activities that include joint development of experiments with pilot schools, their testing, training for teachers, data collection, data processing and presentation of results at educational exhibitions, seminars and round tables for stakeholders. During the reporting period, similar activities took place in twelve schools in Ak-Tala, At-Bashy and Naryn districts of Naryn province.

Another result of the project was the social and educational exhibition "Through Water: Civic Research in Naryn Schools", where project participants presented the results of their research in the form of models, videos, installations, models of changing water properties, etc.

In addition, the e-book "Through Water" on the theme of the social and educational exhibition, which is the documentation of school projects prepared by students based on experiments conducted on analysis and study of water resources of their villages, was issued. Also based on the water and phenology manuals, the mobile applications "Aquatic Organisms" and "Plant Phenology" are being prepared for release. These apps will serve as a platform for collecting, analysing, interpreting and sharing information gathered from citizen research. The apps will be available for download to mobile phones through the Android Play Store.