Five years ago, only every fourth child went to preschool in Uzbekistan. The solution is a fleet of book-filled buses that deliver education to rural areas

Every morning in the remote mountains of Uzbekistan, preschoolers board bright yellow school buses, stocked with play dough, books, toys and fully trained teachers. For the next few hours they will draw, play, create and sing. This will be their first taste of something important to the development of their future potential: early education.

Five years ago, every fourth child in the country went to preschool, and every tenth child in remote areas. The government has come up with a new solution: feet of specially designed school buses that will deliver education to children aged three to seven in the most remote regions.

Since their launch in 2017, pre-school enrollment has risen from 27 percent to 67 percent, with plans to reach 80 percent by 2026.

The buses travel through the mountains, stopping at a different village each day, providing three hours of play-based learning for 16 children at a time. Each bus is equipped with solar panels for air conditioning and a microwave, as well as a tiny bathroom. They can work completely off the grid – a must in a region where electricity and running water may be in short supply.

“Giving all children access to inclusive, caring and creative early childhood education is key,” said Stefania Giannini, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education. “Uzbekistan’s Kindergarten on Wheels project offers a model that can inspire countries around the world to achieve the same goal.”

Main image: Ministry of Preschool Education of Uzbekistan

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Uzbekistan’s solution to a lack of rural preschools? Kindergartens on wheels