UCA News - Issue 59
UCA’s School of Professional and Continuing Education (SPCE) developed a unique “Certificate in Local Economic and Community Development” programme, supported by eleven specifically designed textbooks and other reading materials published in Russian and Kyrgyz language editions. The programme, developed in response to the events in Kyrgyzstan, will continue to be offered by SPCE to build capacity in local government and will be adapted for use in other countries.
Youth activism during the 7-8 April 2010 events in Kyrgyzstan that brought about a change of government led to the Interim Government’s decision (30 April) to launch a programme to train and recruit 2,500 young people to the civil service. The programme, “Recruitment of a New Generation of Managers into the Public and Municipal Services”, targets the recruitment of 100 young people to first-tier positions; 400 to second-tier and 2,000 to the third-tier. At a meeting on 6 May 2010 Roza Otunbaeva, the head of the Interim Government (and currently President), asked the University of Central Asia to assist in the implementation of this programme. UCA’s SPCE responded to the request and established partnerships to deliver the certificate programme for the third-tier, namely, those who will work in village, raion (district), town and oblast (regional) administrations. This rank, comprised of several grades, is the most numerous and includes civil servants charged with administrative, technical and analytical work in the delivery of public services.
The Certificate programme employs a novel approach to training local government officials, focused on actions that local authorities can undertake to promote growth and employment; modules promoting an understanding of local community assets, and community mobilization; and on natural resource management, energy efficiency, IT, and public administration and management.
Economic development is covered by modules on local government and local economic development, and the budget and budget process. Recognizing the need for public servants to understand issues confronting local entrepreneurs, the programme also features a module on “Entrepreneurship and Private Sector Credit”. Community development is covered by modules on mobilizing community resources for development, diversity and managing inter-ethnic relations, integrated local natural hazard risk management and mitigation, energy conservation and the built environment, and pasture management (60 per cent of the country is covered by pastures). IT modules were especially designed for local government. For example, the unit on Microsoft Word includes work with templates of government documents and forms, and Microsoft Excel instruction includes exercises on real local budgets and preparing standard cost estimates. Finally, modules for public administration and public management have topics such as the legal frameworks of state and municipal administration, management, communication and the decision-making process.
The delivery of SPCE’s “Certificate in Local Economic and Community Development” was organized by the Academy of Management, Office of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic, and the programme’s development was supported by the Local Government and Public Service Reform Initiative, Open Society Institute (Budapest, Hungary); and the Swiss Cooperation Office in Kyrgyzstan.
As no one institution in the Kyrgyz Republic had the expertise required to develop the range of modules that comprise the programme, SPCE entered into partnership with the country’s leading think-tanks and NGOs to pool the wealth of knowledge and experience in their respective areas. Given the extensive experience of each partner in implementing donor-supported initiatives, the engagement also maximized previous donor investments as the capacity acquired was redeployed for new educational products.
The partners were:
- CAMP Alatoo Public Foundation, successor organization of the Central Asian Mountain Partnership (a programme financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation), developed modules on environmental management and energy conservation;
- Centre for Social Integration Policy, whose work in the field of inter-ethnic relations and diversity has been supported by the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities and the Managing Multiethnic Communities Project of the Local Government and Public Service Reform Initiative, Open Society Institute (Budapest, Hungary) contributed the module on inter-ethnic relations and diversity;
- Development Policy Institute that united former Urban Institute experts in areas such as municipal management and strategic development provided expertise in local economic development and the budget process;
- Effective Management Center, a not-for-profit organization with the mission of promoting effective management in different sectors to reduce poverty, achieve ecological safety and promote economic growth, was responsible for the module on mobilizing community resources.
The modules on public administration and public management were developed by the Academy of Management, and those on IT and entrepreneurship by SPCE.
Lecturers from various universities delivered the Certificate programme. Recruited on the basis of their experience of teaching subjects of a similar nature, the lecturers participated in an intensive programme of professional development led by the experts who designed the curriculum and the learning resources. During this programme the lecturers were taught the entire course and were assessed on their grasp of the subject matter. A total of 112 lecturers from seven institutions completed the professional development programme, and a significant by-product of this initiative is the capacity that was built at each of the participating institutions.
The programme was taught simultaneously at the Academy of Management in Bishkek and the universities of Batken, Issyk-kul, Jalalabad, Naryn, Osh, and Talas in two periods: July to August, and September to October 2010. This programme involved 300 hours of instruction. Young people aged 20-35 with higher education (bachelor’s degree) or who completed studies at a tekhnikum (post-secondary technical education) applied to the State Personnel Service for admission. Over 1,900 were admitted and the 941 who successfully completed the course of study are being recruited to positions in local, regional and municipal administrations.
The SPCE programme received considerable coverage by the media coverage that commented on the quality of the learning resources published in two languages and the speed with which they were produced.
For further information contact: Gulnara.Djunushalieva@ucentralasia.org.