Definition of Youth

The Law of the Kyrgyz Republic on Youth Policy (2009) defines youth as 14 - 28 years of age. It was previously defined as 14 - 35 years of age.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 18
  • 16
  • --
  • Female
  • 18
  • 16
  • --

  • No specific legislation for same-sex marriage. Source: UNSD, ILGA

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
Source:  Penal Code of Kyrgyzstan

Majority Age


Source: Wikipedia

Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • 99.69% Male (15-24) %
  • 99.80% Female (15-24) %

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • 80.79%Male %
  • 79.95% Female %

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • 10.30% Male (13-15) %
  • 4.40% Female (13-15) %
  • Year: 2010
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
Kyrgyzstan has a youth policy law. A 2010 study and 2012 review provide context and details.

The Kyrgyzstan Constitution guarantees free public school education through 11th grade and makes it mandatory through 9th grade. The Law On Education (1992), amended in 1997 & 2003, reiterates these provisions and guarantees all citizens an equal right to education. The Law on Kyrgyz Republic on Youth Policy outlines six priority areas for youth:

  1. Spiritual, moral, civic, and patriotic development of youth;
  2. State support for young families;
  3. Protection of health and promotion of healthy lifestyles for youth;
  4. State support for education, culture, leisure, science, technology, and art;
  5. Provision of economic independence, vocational guidance, and labor rights for youth
  6. Support of young citizens in difficult conditions through social services, and rehabilitation

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
In December 2011, the Ministry of Youth Affairs, which was established in 2010 in response to youth involvement in a popular uprising against the government, was merged with another government department to form the Ministry of Youth, Labor and Employment.  In 2013, in a review of the Kyrgyz Government structure, it became the Ministry of Labour, Migration and Youth.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
Though the national youth policy makes an explicit commitment to youth participation, no national youth council or forum exists. While the number of youth organisations is increasing, youth involvement in decision-making remains limited.

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
KGS 51.5 million
USD 1.1 million
The Youth and Public Policy in Kyrgyzstan (2012) noted that in 2010 the youth ministry received 5.2 million soms (about $113,000), with an additional 20 million soms collected through international donors. The following year this increased to 51.5 million soms. According to Central Asia Online, the 2012/2013 budget allocated 18 billion KGS (USD 380 million) to annual education spending. According to the World Bank, Kyrgyzstan spent 18.64% of its government expenditure and 5.82% of its GDP on education provision in 2010.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank

Additional Background

Young people’s political involvement is often attached to youth wings of political parties, but as the Rights of Young People in the Kyrgyz Republic cited in Youth and Public Policy in Kyrgyzstan found, independent elements of youth activism do exist.

After the mass protests leading to the ouster of then-president Bakiyev in April 2010, some young people observed the emergence of ‘two major groups—those who rode the revolutionary wave and those activists who had entered the public arena long before the storming of the Government House’ in central Bishkek implying that a strain of political opportunism exists among young people just as it does among their elders. While some youth NGOs receive support from domestic sources, many rely on grants from international donors.

Changes made to the country’s election law in June 2010 introduced a youth quota in parliament, mandating that no fewer than 15 percent of every party’s candidates be younger than 36. Although youth activists have pointed out that many parties viewed this as a formality and put young candidates at the bottom of their party lists, the requirement did raise the number of young politicians in the national legislature to 10 percent. Provincial level Youth Ministry officials have also initiated ‘young liaisons’ from each city neighborhood to support the work of the mayoral Committee for Youth Affairs (described in more detail in Section 6.3 of the Youth Policy Review). The Youth and Public Policy in Kyrgyzstan noted that youth policy had been ineffective:

Over the past decade, Kyrgyzstan has developed a raft of youth policies, but few of these seem to genuinely improve young people’s access to information, rights, and opportunities. Too many of the laws, regulations, and conceptual documents have been reactive: off-the-cuff responses to political events— particularly, young people’s participation in the popular uprisings that overthrew two presidents—rather than the enactment of a strategic vision. Worse still, many policies exist on paper only, without effective mechanisms to achieve their stated aims.

The national youth law (2009) sought to address these concerns but the formation of the Ministry of Youth Affairs, in response to the April 2010 uprisings (now the Ministry of Labour, Migration and Youth) similarly lacked the coordination and strategy of previous youth policies.  The report identified a number of factors compounding the effectiveness of youth policies and Ministries:

...Foundational youth policy documents adopted since 2009 contain contradictions and lack concreteness; responsibility for implementation continues to be diffuse; data collection and procedures for evaluating and monitoring policy are extremely weak; policy coherence, cross-sectoral cooperation, and creative approaches to engaging young people are also missing. Overall, Kyrgyzstan’s youth policy fails to focus on young people’s needs or future roles in society.

 It further concluded: Kyrgyzstan’s approach to creating a Youth Ministry, together with the latest wave of national youth policies, suggest that the country’s leadership has not learned from past mistakes and that, despite vocal official commitments to young people, youth policy remains a low priority for the government.