Frequently Asked Questions about the School of Professional and Continuing Education (SPCE)

1What is SPCE?
SPCE is Central Asia’s first provider of post-secondary, non-tertiary continuing education, offering vocational, professional development and personal improvement opportunities to youth and adults. Begun in 2006, SPCE is the University of Central Asia’s (UCA) first operational academic division, and has the mission of fostering economic development. SPCE has learning facilities in Khorog and Dushanbe, Tajikistan; Naryn and Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic and Tekeli, Kazakhstan, and is also active in northern Afghanistan through its six satellite learning centres (Darvaz, Faizabad, Ishkashim, AKES Ishkashim, Zebak, Shugnan). To date, SPCE has engaged over 105,000 learners (October 2017).


2What came before SPCE?
In 2003, UCA created the School of Continuing Education (SCE) which offered a variety of short-term courses and workshops. In 2005, it was decided that a more focused approach was needed, with a mandate to foster economic development through the provision of fewer but higher quality course offerings. On the basis of this assessment, SPCE was created in 2006.


3What kinds of programmes and courses does SPCE offer?
SPCE has programmes in areas relevant to the economic development of the region: Small Business Management, Accounting, Information Technology, Applied Languages, Public and Social Sector Development, Technical Vocational Education and Training, Post-Graduate Preparatory and University Entrance Preparatory Programmes, Professional Development, and Personal Development and Improvement.


4Why does SPCE focus on these areas?
There are many possible areas that SPCE could address through its programmes and courses. We have deliberately chosen to focus on those that will have the greatest impact on the local employment and business opportunities. SPCE continually monitors changes in the local economies in which it operates, and offers courses that create employment and income generating opportunities for youth and adults, and professional development opportunities for mid-career professionals. By building vocational skills and professional competencies, SPCE encourages entrepreneurship in the region and stimulates economic development.


5 Where are SPCE courses held?
Three of the SPCE learning centres are located in UCA campus towns - Naryn, Kyrgyz Republic, Khorog, Tajikistan and Tekeli, Kazakhstan. Each centre has large multi-purpose classrooms, a library and learning resource centre with computers, a computer lab and student services offices. SPCE also operates in the capital cities of Dushanbe, Tajikistan and Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic and has six satellite learning centres in Afghanistan (Darvaz, Faizabad, Ishkashim, AKES Ishkashim, Zebak, Shugnan). Some SPCE courses will be held in other towns or cities based on course requirements and the students involved.


6What language is used to teach SPCE courses?
With the exception of the applied language programmes, all courses will be conducted in national languages or in Russian. While English is the language of instruction for the graduate and undergraduate programmes on the main campuses, knowledge of English is not required for SPCE programmes.


7 What is the value of my SPCE education?
SPCE offers two kinds of programmes: some that prepare students to qualify for an externally awarded certificate, and others that award an SPCE certificate (or state Diploma for TVET programmes). For the externally awarded certificates (e.g. Microsoft, English for Business) SPCE prepares students for the examination to receive their certification. For the SPCE certificates (e.g. Small Business Management, Accounting), the School follows curricula that are based on the best international practices, and reviewed by leading international and regional experts. All SPCE certificates are designed to meet the standards of the European Credit Transfer System, making these courses internationally transferable. For all programmes offered at SPCE, rigorous quality assurance procedures, such as external examination and programme evaluation, are used to ensure that programmes meet high standards.


8Who will teach SPCE courses?
SPCE instructors are recruited from the region and receive thorough training and qualifications before they begin teaching in the learning centres. They use innovative and interactive teaching methods, encourage critical thinking, and help students with further professional development.


9 How much does it cost to attend SPCE courses?
The cost of a SPCE course varies, depending on the course. Every SPCE student is expected to pay a share of the cost of their course.