Interest-free loans will make education more affordable for women
Uzbekistan has signed a decree introducing a state program aimed at supporting women’s education. The initiative will run until 2026 and involves the creation of a university for women in Tashkent. There will be university-based technical schools in the country’s regions. In addition to the opportunity to enroll in an educational institution specifically focused on education for women, the state will offer interest-free loans that will cover the cost of education. Such a loan can be taken out for seven years.
The government also said that for the academic year 2022/2023, graduate students will not have to pay their own tuition – the cost of the contract will be covered by the national budget, for which officials plan to allocate about $18 million annually. In addition, quotas for women to enter doctoral programs have been increased to 300 places.
The authorities intend to organize a society for women involved in science under the state committee that deals with family and women’s issues. For this purpose, each year they promise to allocate about 4.6 million dollars.
Each year 50 girls will be able to go to a prestigious foreign university for a bachelor’s degree. 10 female students will be able to continue their master’s studies at a university in another country. For girls who are educated and have children, there will be an opportunity for convenient distance learning.
In addition, the government of Uzbekistan fully supports the development of woman’s businesses. To increase the number of businesswomen in the country, the program “Business Women” (“Women in Business”) was launched. The latter involves the allocation of about 734 million dollars, which will be used to provide various benefits. The funds will be used for subsidies to partially cover mortgages.
The program “Business Women” is designed for 2022-2024, and, according to experts, should increase the proportion of businesswomen from 25% to 40%.
National Bank will organize a platform that will popularize starting a business among the country’s female population. For this purpose, women managers will provide services in each branch of the financial institution. Female employees will advise women and familiarize them with the peculiarities of doing business. Managers will use an individual approach and offer specialized business courses. National Bank lends to women at a discounted rate, and the amount depends on how long the borrower has been employed. Commercial financial institutions also lend to businesswomen.
Such a large-scale program is the first-ever launched in Uzbekistan, the president said. It signifies the development of society and the desire to eliminate gender inequality among the local population. The total amount of the initiative is about $1.4 billion.