NEWS AND EVENTS
March 31, 2014
Education in Uzbekistan
To provide the nation with qualified specialists, Uzbekistan’s leadership has been assigning a greater deal of efforts to the comprehensive development of the higher education system since the initial days of independence. Uzbekistan Today reporters have tried to build up the vector of major courses in the advancement of the university network.
In the early 1990s, there were 42 universities across the country, including 19 in Tashkent. The further economic evolution required a radical restructuring of the higher education system. In 1991, several institutions and universities were established on the basis of major universities. The Faculty of Law and that of Oriental Studies segregated from the National University as separate Institutes, the Tashkent Polytechnic Institute became a platform for the Technical University, the Engineering and Chemical Technology Institute and the Tashkent Architecture and Construction Institute. The Tashkent Institute of National Economy was split into the University of Economics and the Institute of Finance. A year later, Jizzakh Polytechnic Institute, Qarshi Engineering and Economics Institute, Namangan Engineering and Technology Institute and Navoi State Pedagogical Institute were founded on the basis of regional branches of metropolitan high schools.
In the same year, Andijon, Bukhoro, Guliston, Qarshi, Namangan, Farghona and Urganch universities were established on the basis of regional pedagogical institutes. The Tashkent Institute of Foreign Languages and the Tashkent Institute of Agriculture were granted a status. New higher education institutions opened subsequently: the University of World Economy and Diplomacy, the Tashkent University of Islam, the Navoi State Mining Institute. The Samarqand Cooperative Institute was transformed into an Institute of Economics and Services.
By 1997, the higher education system of Uzbekistan numbered as many as 58 higher educational institutions, including 16 universities and 42 institutes.
Reorganization of universities continued after the adoption of the Law ‘On Education’ and the National Specialist Training Program. The Tashkent State University received the status of the National University of Uzbekistan. In 2005, two metropolitan medical schools merged in the Tashkent Medical Academy. Westminster International University, Turin Polytechnic University, Management Development Institute of Singapore in Tashkent, branches of the Lomonosov Moscow State University, Plekhanov Russian State Economic Academy, Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas opened in Tashkent as Uzbekistan boosted cooperation with foreign countries. In order to ensure an integrated economic development in the regions, major universities opened their branches: the University of Information Technologies opened five affiliates across the nation, the Medical Academy launched two, and the State Agricultural University, the Institute of Irrigation and Land Reclamation, the Pediatric Medical Institute and the Institute of Culture and Arts opened one affiliate each.
Taking into account the needs of production localization and the modernization of provincial economies, the Bukhoro Technological Institute of Food and Light Industry was transformed into Engineering and Technology Institute, the Andijon and Engineering and Economics Institute was transformed into machine building institute, and Namangan Engineering and Economics Institute to the Engineering and Technology Institute. In 2013, the Tashkent State Institute of Law received the status of university.
The higher education system was divided into two levels - undergraduate and graduate courses – after the approval of the National Specialist Training Program. In recent years the graduate courses have acquired a clear shape as one of crucial stages in training research and pedagogical staff. The requirements for writing and defense of master’s theses have been revised: they covered supervisors, the content, development of research skills in students aspiring for the Master’s degree, including enhancement of practical and scientific significance of research works. The period assigned for research work and writing a thesis was increased to 50 % of the curriculum.
Today, there are 58 domestic higher educational institutions, 11 branches of central universities of the republic and six branches of foreign universities in Uzbekistan. Highly qualified staff for national economy and social sector gets education in six subject areas. Humanitarian workers study in 48 universities, experts in the social sector, economics and law - in 40, production and engineering – in 24, agriculture and water resources - ten, health and welfare - nine, services – in 26 universities.
Supply and demand
Given the requirements of the time the basic standard documents have been revised. The classifier of subject areas and specialties was updated and approved as well. The number of undergraduate disciplines was cut from 1,265 to 228 as a result of merging allied specialties and elimination of idle subjects. The number of subjects in graduate courses was reduced from 1,200 to 447. And 22 engineering and technical subjects were added.
In recent years, much attention has been paid to integrated training of the staff for certain sectors as demanded. For example, the Tashkent University of Information Technologies and its regional branches revised their training system last year. As of 2014, it has changed the list of subject areas and specialties and advanced the content of the educational process. At present, the University offers training in computer and software engineering, telecommunication and television technologies, economics and management in information and communication technologies, professional education in information and communication technologies, postal service technologies.
The intake for engineering and technical areas is growing. For example, the percentage of students who learn ‘Production and engineering’ subject area has been increased in a total quota of bachelor intake from 23% in 2010/ 2011 academic year to 30.6 % in 2014/2015 academic year. Streamlining of state educational standards is underway. The accent is laid both on integrated and comprehensive development of the younger generation and their preparation for professional work.
Meanwhile, staff training moves from the capital to the regions, making it possible to train specialists in close proximity and close cooperation with the client enterprises. The proximity of the educational process and a potential employer allows arranging the educational and practical training of students at the appropriate level.
With focus on teachers
Despite technological progress, a teacher remains a key pillar. He organizes the educational process and defines its streams. He is a professional not only in terms of perfect knowledge of his subject, but also in terms of active application of advanced teaching and computer technologies.
Reformation of the system of highly qualified research and pedagogical staff conditions the replenishment of the faculty with young professionals who handle the advanced fields of science well.
Meanwhile, Uzbekistan has built a fundamentally new system. There is a synergy of head scientific and methodological center of retraining and advanced training of teachers and management staff of higher education institutions, 10 sector-based and five regional centers. A big part is assigned to enhancing the competence of teachers in application of computer technologies and knowledge of foreign languages . Teachers were advised to attend short-term intensive courses, which covered almost all teachers. The new subjects ‘E-pedagogy’, and ‘Designing of teacher’s personal electronic space’ were introduced in the curriculum of mandatory courses.
It is noteworthy that the advanced training system for teachers is an example of active use of computer technologies in teaching. There is an electronic system to monitor the educational process, and an opportunity of distance on-line and off-line advanced training.
Development of a new range of measures on improvement of the current system is underway. It is planned to introduce a mandatory internship of teachers at enterprises to assure that specialists are aware of the main trends in the development of industrial technologies.
Overhaul and reconstruction
The logistical capacity of educational buildings, places of student residence, social facilities, land design and landscape of universities has significantly improved over the last decade.
In this regard, the ongoing program under the Presidential Decree ‘On strengthening the logistical capacity of higher education institutions and radical enhancement of quality of training of highly-qualified staff’ is considered the most scaled one. The program envisages the construction of 10 educational and laboratory buildings for 8,600 seats, the overhaul of 98 educational and laboratory buildings including 63 buildings in the regions. It is projected to strengthen the logistical capacities of sports facilities at 34 universities and 48 student dormitories. A specialized fund is entrusted with the development of logistical capacity of higher education institutions.
By the beginning of 2014, the scheduled works have been completed on 70 sites, including the building of the National University of Uzbekistan, Namangan and Bukhoro engineering and technology institutes, and other universities. In 2014 the builders have embarked on the upgrade of another 51 buildings.
The list of higher education institutions, covered by construction works, is constantly expanding. For example, according to the instructions of the government, they are underway at the Tashkent State University of Law, and the Namangan State University is getting prepared for the overhaul.
Equipping of educational laboratories is allocated a great deal in the complex of measures dedicated to strengthening the logistical capacities of universities. By 2016 it is planned to update equipment at 296 educational laboratories in 63 natural and 233 technical subjects.
The opportunities of researching on the cutting-edge equipment are expanding. It is very important not only in terms of enhancing the quality of staff training, but also for full employment of research capacity at the universities. Three-quarters of all country’s researchers are concentrated in colleges and universities. The amount of the funds for implementation of fundamental, applied and innovation research is growing. There are innovation groups that are actively involved in solution of production and science intensive tasks as part of cooperation between universities and enterprises.
Research centers open across the country to further enhance the integration of education, science and production. In recent years, the National University of Uzbekistan launched the Institute of Mathematics and a Philosophy Center, the Tashkent University of Information Technologies - the Software and Hardware Development Center, Samarqand State University - an Environment Laboratory, the Tashkent University of Law – a Center of Law, the Tashkent State Economic University established a research center ‘Scientific fundamentals and problems of economic development in Uzbekistan’.
The work is underway on the establishment of 15 up-to-date intercollegiate laboratory complexes of joint use. Seven of them are located at regional higher educational institutions by field of science:
energy saving and renewable energy, optics, chemical engineering and oil and gas processing, energy-saving building materials and many others.
There are ultramodern projects on the launch of research and technology park at the Turin Polytechnic University in Tashkent and a training and experimental high-tech center in Tashkent. They provide the conditions for scholars and students to make their boldest ideas true on the latest equipment.
Modern information and communication technologies are changing the academic reality. Today, the country’s universities are operated by over 28,000 computers, or 12.2 computers fall to 100 students. All educational institutions have access to the Internet and educational network ZiyoNET.
All universities have official websites. Teachers actively create their own websites. Virtually all departments have their own computer centers. The number of classrooms equipped with modern projectors is growing. Educational institutions offer information resource centers switchable to electronic information sources. The introduction of information and communication technologies in the educational process is underway.
The center for introduction of e-learning in educational institutions under the Ministry of Higher and Secondary Special Education and the single high-speed corporate network of E-education has opened up new opportunities. These projects have empowered further projects requiring a high-speed connection.
Today, the E-education network is actively used for intercollegiate videoconferencing. The new facilities are also used for introduction of distance learning in the education process.
The list of big projects empowered by the network opportunities includes the e-learning, and creation of a single intercollegiate electronic library. The project is carried out by the Ministry of Higher and Secondary Special Education in collaboration with the Alisher Navoi National Library, the State Committee of Communication and Information and Telecommunication Technologies. The establishment of the information library system is underway. A composite electronic catalog, consisting of 450 thousand bibliographic records, has been already built. 27 thousand textbooks and teaching materials are currently being digitized. To date, more than three million pages have been digitized (9,600 resources), and it is planned to digitize about 23 thousand resources by 2015.
(Source: “Uzbekistan Today” newspaper)