SPCE TVET Alumni, Instructors and Students Help Construct New Village School in Tajikistan
An unprecedented collaboration between alumni, instructors and students of the University of Central Asia’s School of Professional and Continuing Education's (UCA-SPCE) Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) programme has contributed to the construction of a new village school in Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO), Tajikistan. This unique initiative brought together several generations of UCA learners in a community effort that will benefit 150 students from two villages in GBAO.
In June 2012, the Central Asia Institute (CAI) announced a tender to community partners interested in building a school to serve GBAO’s Vanqala and Pish villages. When Safo Pallaev heard about it, he knew this was an important opportunity. Safo completed SPCE’s TVET carpentry programme in 2010 and soon after, established his own construction company, LLC Sokhtmonchi 2010. “I knew that CAI emphasised community partnerships, and it would be a huge step forward for my company if we won the tender” he said.
When Safo learnt his company was selected to build the school, he was delighted; “At first, we only worked on small-scale projects. This is normal for any new start-up company. However, we were absolutely thrilled when we were selected to construct the school.”
|The school will serve 150 students from the remote mountain villages of Vanqala and Pish in Tajikistan.
Safo soon became the key player in a network of partnerships bringing together other SPCE TVET graduates, instructors and students. First, he hired fellow SPCE alumnus Sherzod Pulodov, who graduated from the accounting programme, to manage administration and finances. Soon after, Safo was contacted by Ubaid Saidasanov, SPCE’s TVET Coordinator; “When I learnt Safo Pallaev’s company was selected for construction, I connected with him to see how UCA-SPCE and his company could work together for the benefit of the project and the greater community,” said Ubaid.
Safo was pleased to work with SPCE, which, he said, made it possible for him to have his own construction company today. He and Ubaid designed an apprenticeship programme to enable TVET graduates and students to support the project. Apprentice training and site supervision was systematic, with current TVET students supervised by TVET alumni and alumni supervised by TVET instructors. Approximately 30 TVET graduates and student apprentices contributed to the school’s construction.
TVET student Nemat Otambekov said: “I am only 18, but through this project, I got the practical experience I needed to graduate and I made some money to support my family. I enjoyed working on the school construction.” Nemat was supervised by TVET alumni Dаvlat Beronshoev, who also worked on the project. In turn, Devlat was supervised by TVET instructor Muhiddin Ramikhudoev.
|A multi-generational effort: (from left to right) TVET student Nemat Otambekov works with TVET alumnus Devlat Beronshoev, as TVET instructor Muhiddin Ramikhudoev supervises.
Dаvlat attributes his sound knowledge of construction to his TVET studies at UCA, “At TVET, I learnt construction techniques, safety requirements and acquired substantial skills to obtain relevant employment. My instructor was excellent at explaining and clarifying concepts which made it easy for me to not only understand, but to excel at these skills.”
TVET instructor Muhiddin Ramikhudoev emphasises the importance of the TVET apprenticeship model, “Many TVET students do not have practical real-world experience. It is our role as teachers to help them find an apprentice placement, and as mentors to ensure they learn to advocate for their site safety. We aim to help these students achieve their future career goals.”
Other community residents were also engaged. Mirgand Mirgandov learnt about the school from his wife, Basigul Mamadyounusova, who was hired by Safo to cater food for his employees who worked long hours to maximise the seasonal building time. After moving back from Moscow to be with his family, Mirgand joined the construction team. Basigul and Mirgand were pleased to be able to generate additional income for their family.
The school was completed in July 2013. “UCA-SPCE is very excited about this partnership with LCC Sokhtmonchi 2010, which provided an excellent learning opportunity for our students, an employment opportunity for graduates and a lasting investment in our communities. We hope to continue this partnership and collaborate on future projects,” said TVET Coordinator, Ubaid Saidasanov.
Since 2008, UCA’s School of Professional and Continuing Education (SPCE) has offered Basic Level Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programmes in the following trades: Bricklaying / Masonry, Construction Carpentry, Plastering and Tiling, Plumbing, Metal Working, and Automotive Electrics. SPCE is also preparing to launch an auto mechanic course and an advance level course for carpenter construction. These programmes are approved by the Ministry of Education of the Government of Tajikistan and are designed to help adults seeking re-training or qualifications. TVET programmes operate on an apprenticeship model, which alternates theoretical and applied modules and allows learners to earn wages while undergoing practical training. TVET programmes are based on the needs of the local labour market. Since 2008, more than 300 learners have graduated with TVET certificates from UCA.