The Condition of Higher Education in Uzbekistan

Once Uzbekistan became independent in 1991, it realised that to improve its socio-economic condition, the country would have to bring about radical reforms in its education system. The system had to be such that not only would it fulfill national interests, it would also make Uzbekistan competitive in the world market. Hence, this brought about many reforms in the education system, particularly higher education.

Today, the Ministry of Higher and Secondary Specialised Education co-ordinates and funds higher education in the country. The country boasts of 34 high education institutes and all them responsible to the Ministry.

Types of Higher Educational Institutes in Uzbekistan

The following types of higher education institutes are present in the country:

University – This institute is responsible for imparting Bachelor’s and Master’s level education in wide ranging fields of study as well as professional training. There are 22 universities in the country, which are responsible for conducting fundamental and applied science research.

Academy – This type of higher education institute offers two levels of education and postgraduate programmes in specific fields. There are 3 academies and all of them are located in the capital city of Tashkent.

Institute – Such a higher education institute offers Bachelor’s, Master’s and postgraduate programmes in specific fields. There are around 41 institutes in Uzbekistan.

Admissions to higher education institutes are possible through either grants or paid basis. Every year, in August, detailed information for enrolment is published and students who wish to pursue higher education have to sit for tests. Students require in-depth knowledge and understanding along with logical thinking and reasoning skills to pass the tests. Just those who pass get admissions in higher education institutes. The students, who get top marks in the test, can pick a university or institute of their choice. If a student cannot get government funding for higher education, they opt for paid studies which is paid by parents, organisations or companies. Students can also apply for educational loans after successfully passing the enrolment tests.

Using Technology in Higher Education Institutes

Teaching methods, styles and techniques vary quite a bit in higher education institutes in Uzbekistan. Some opt for lecture style methods, while others may use complete improvisation. If a higher education institute has technology, such as TVs and VCRs, it is used. However, use of computers, the Internet and LCD projectors is not widespread. In fact, it is rare because of high costs, substandard maintenance system and chances of theft.

Internationalisation of Higher Education in Uzbekistan

Internationalisation of higher education is a priority in the country. The government has signed many agreements with other nations, so Uzbek students have the option of getting educated in foreign universities. Furthermore, many Uzbek universities get support and have close working relationship with foreign universities in the UK, US and Germany. The country hopes that with these measures in place, it will be able to involve foreign scientists and teachers in the teaching process in higher education institutes in the country, be able to organise international conferences to solve problems plaguing higher education and also attract much needed foreign investment.

Challenges in Higher Education in Uzbekistan

Some of the challenges that higher education is facing in the country include the following:

• Adopt the requirements of the Bologna Process in Uzbek higher education system, so that it meets the international and global standards

• Have uniform curricula across the country for same programmes offered by different higher education institutes

• Create a information and educational network that connects higher education institutes that have Internet, so that they can access it

• Retrain the teaching staff at higher education institutes, so that they are well-versed with the latest pedagogical methods

• Have specialities that meet the specific demands of the labour market

• Have a good quality assurance system to accredit higher education institutes.

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