Higher Education in Central Asia: The Challenges of Modernization. Case Studies from Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, The Kyrgyz Republic and Uzbekistan

AVI.png Dibujo de la anatomía humana, realizado por Abu’Ali al-Husayn ibn’abd Allah ibn Sina (Avicena, 980-1037), médico y científico de Bujara, Uzbequistán. Redactó el Canon de Avicena, un compendio estructurado de todos los conocimientos médicos existentes en la época.
Informe (inglés) publicado por el Banco Mundial sobre políticas y sistemas comparados de educación en cuatro países del Asia Central: Kazakastán, Kyrguistan, Uzbequistán y Tayikistán. Co-autores y editores; Jose Joaquin Brunner y Anthony Tillett. Incluye con 4 estudios de casos:
M. Nurguzhin, K. Zhakenova, E. Teremov, M. Narenova, Y. Suleymenov
Kyrgyz Rep
A. Shamshiev, B. Torobekov, N. Tyulyundieva, A. Djumabaeva,
K. Sadykov, K. Fakerov, S. Kodirov, S. Nurova,
A. Vahabov, E. Imamov, A. Soleev, M. Tulakhodjaeva,N. Khusanova
Bajar publicación en inglés aquípdf_icon051.gif 1,5 MB
Bajar Introducción de los autores y coeditores en ruso aquípdf_icon051.gif 200 KB
Bajar documentos de los 4 países en ruso aquípdf_icon051.gif 3,15 MB
Annette Dixon
Country Director for Central Asia
Europe and Central Asia Vice Presidency
The World Bank
Since independence, the four Central Asia countries included in this report have made consistent efforts to modernize and reform basic and secondary education in an attempt to align their education systems with broader political and economic initiatives aimed at the transition of their social and economic institutions from centrally planned to market. Although higher education also experienced an important transformation during this period, specially in terms of increased enrollment and institutional autonomy, not enough attention has been paid to strengthening the empirical knowledge and improving the policy debate on how the higher education system operates and of what are its main challenges as it tries to become more responsive to the demands of an increasingly diverse student body and a rapidly changing economy.
This report was prepared as part of a World Bank led initiative “Analysis of the Situation of Higher Education in Central Asia”. It represents an initial attempt to put forward an analytical framework that can be used to guide further empirical research and policy dialogue in this area. It provided an opportunity for a group of local researchers and policy makers to conduct policy analysis aimed at helping government officials, decision makers and university administrators to make informed policy choices in reforming their higher education systems.
The four country reports included in this volume were prepared by country teams, each consisting of government officials, stakeholders and local experts. They document how the significant and rapid pace of expansion of the tertiary education system has not brought significant changes to how the institutions are managed, or to how teaching, learning and research are conducted. University faculty has changed very little and is aging rapidly with little hope for renewal due to outdated staffing practices and lack of incentives. Within this context, public universities and other tertiary education institutions are at risk of losing relevance, while the newly established private institutions still do not ensure the necessary quality. All this is happening while central government agencies (Ministries as well as deconcentrated agencies and other buffer bodies) still have little capacity to hold the providers of tertiary education services accountable. An urgent task ahead is to build consensus on the direction
universities and the sector at large should move towards.
This publication consists of an introductory overview presenting the analytical framework and the main findings followed by the four short case studies where those broad findings are explored and documented in more detail for Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, The Kyrgyz Republic and Uzbekistan. Initial funding for this project was provided by DFID within the framework of the World Bank/DFIDTrust Fund on Knowledge and Skills for the Knowledge Economy.
This volume is a product of the staff of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank. The findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in this paper do not necessarily reflect the views of the Executive Directors of The World Bank or the governments they represent. The World Bank does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this work. The boundaries, colors, denominations, and other information shown on any map in this work do not imply any judgment on the part of The World Bank concerning the legal status of any territory or the endorsement or acceptance of such boundaries.
Rights and permissions
The material in this publication is copyrighted. Copying and/or transmitting portions or all of this work without permission may be a violation of applicable law. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/ The World Bank encourages dissemination of its work and will normally grant permission to reproduce portions of the work promptly. For permission to photocopy or reprint any part of this work, please send a request with complete information to the Copyright Clearance Center, Inc., 222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, MA 01923, USA, telephone 978-750-8400, fax 978-750-4470, http://www.copyright.com/.
All other queries on rights and licenses, including subsidiary rights, should be addressed to the Office of the Publisher, The World Bank, 1818 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20433, USA, fax 202-522- 2422, e-mail pubrights@worldbank.org.
Recursos asociados
Cheryl Gray, Tracey Lane, and Aristomene Varoudakis (Editors), Fiscal Policy and Economic Growth: Lessons for Eastern Europe and Central Assia, July 2007

The purpose of this introductory essay is to explore the current challenges facing higher education in Central Asia using the recent case studies of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan prepared under the World Bank initiative “Analysis of the Situation of Higher Education in Central Asia”1.
If there is a common purpose that links the four government’s approach it is that tertiary education should contribute to the consolidation and modernization of their societies. These four nations or areas had a reasonably successful education system – using quantitative indicators such as literacy, primary and secondary coverage and research – under the Soviet Union and a part of this legacy remains. Yet that legacy is irrevocably part of history leaving the political elite with the task of creating new educational systems for the new countries. Suffice it to say that such a task is likely to involve challenges that go beyond education to questions of national identity and globalization with
responses – however inconsistent or fragmented – driven by different doses of principle and pragmatism. The four countries have not followed the same model, but there is enough similarity between the problems that they face coupled with their geographical proximity, to compare their different responses.
These responses will differ and in a sense be conditioned by the human and physical resources at the nation’s disposal. Uzbekistan is the most populous country with 27m followed by Kazakhstan with 15m and Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic with 7 m and 5m respectively. However the value of Kazakhstan’s gross domestic product is greater than the other three countries combined principally because of petroleum and gas. In addition, the geography of the four countries varies substantially together with the economic distribution of goods and services within each country. While in all countries the rural population tends to be poorer, it is the size of that population and its opportunities for attending schools that define the educational challenges and which are then transferred as policy options into the higher education system.
The first section of this introduction surveys these issues with a brief examination of the transition process, which is both ongoing and one of the principal determinants of the emerging higher education system in the four countries. The section points out the need for greater policy clarity about why higher education matters at this stage of the transition and how difficult, without a consistent policy structure, it will be to build national higher educational systems. The section also discusses the value of a comparative approach involving three generic issues – the national education system, management and resources, and the multiple dimensions of successful market integration, particularly as ‘competitiveness’. These issues from the substance of the following three sections (II-IV) are based on a reading of the national reports. These pioneering and valuable reports, it should be added, are English abstracts of documents written in other languages and so it is possible that the present authors have unintentionally misunderstood aspects of this sector and for which apologies are due. The introduction points to the need for greater policy clarity about why higher education matters at this stage of the transition and how difficult, without a consistent policy structure, it will be to build national higher educational systems.


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