Higher education in 21st-century Uzbekistan

October 19, 2020
  • International
  • International Admissions and Credential Evaluation
illustration of chalkboard with uzbek flag

In the wee hours of October 8, AACRAO’s Julia Funaki, Melanie Gottlieb, Tom Green, and Ann Koenig joined colleagues in Uzbekistan on a Zoom call originating from Tashkent, Uzbekistan’s capital city, which is 9 hours ahead of Washington DC time. At the invitation of Webster University Tashkent (WUT), and following months of collaboration and planning between WUT and AACRAO, the program kicked off at 9:00 a.m. Uzbek time, with many participants logging in from their homes with a fresh cup of morning coffee in hand, while AACRAO presenters already had a full workday behind them.

Conference focus: credit system implementation

The focus of the conference was one specific directive mandated in the “Presidential Decree on the Concept of Development of the Higher Education System of the Republic of Uzbekistan until 2030” issued in October 2019: the implementation of a credit system in Uzbek higher education. What better partner than AACRAO for a discussion of what a credit system is all about, how it is created, and how it functions as a tool that supports quality assurance and student mobility, both within a country and across international borders? The participants in the program were officials from the Uzbek Ministry of Higher and Secondary Specialized Education, higher education administrators and faculty members 

With the “Presidential Decree” and the new “Law on Education” passed in September 2020 as foundations, Uzbekistan is moving into the global academic mobility space and engaging in activities that promote the internationalization of higher education. The number of branches of foreign universities operating in Uzbekistan is increasing rapidly, each offering programs according to the educational system and credit structure of the home institution. Thus a number of models of credit systems are in use in the foreign institutions in Uzbekistan.

Introducing and explaining the US credit hour model

The half-day workshop included a presentation on “The US Credit Hour” by Gottlieb and Green, and a session on “Global Mobility and the Currency of Academic Credit” with a focus on Uzbekistan by Funaki and Koenig. Nearly 300 people logged in to the workshop and watched the sessions recorded by the AACRAO presenters in either Uzbek, Russian, or English.  

In these sessions, the presenters provided an overview of the history of the US credit hour and examined the variety of credit systems operating at the foreign institutions in the country through a comparative framework. They drilled down into the underlying structures of the academic credit and the role it plays as currency in the global mobility landscape. 

Due to AACRAO’s long history in the field of admissions and registrar issues, the AACRAO colleagues were well-positioned to serve as experts on this venture. Funaki, Gottlieb, Green, and Koenig shared wisdom from AACRAO’s cumulative knowledge base. They educated Uzbek colleagues, helping them as they embarked on a mission to internationalize the Uzbek higher education system. The AACRAO colleagues also listened and learned from their Uzbek counterparts. 

The presentations were followed by Q&A, and then by small discussion groups. Questions included:

  • What are the goals of international exchange and partnership for Uzbekistan?

  • What types of support would be needed for Uzbekistan to develop a national credit system? 

Webster University, headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, opened its doors in Tashkent in November 2019. Webster is one of more than 20 foreign universities with branches in Uzbekistan. Other countries represented there including Russia, South Korea, Italy, India, United Kingdom, Singapore, Latvia, and Belarus. 

The organizers of the conference were energized by the positive and enthusiastic participation and feedback on the conference. In a follow-up meeting with the Webster University Tashkent organizers, they expressed their appreciation for AACRAO’s contribution and continued collaboration.   

Stay tuned

Join us for a free AACRAO Webinar on updates in the educational system of Uzbekistan and Uzbekistan’s approach to internationalization on Thursday, December 3 at 2:00 pm EST. Details and registration information will be available soon.