Education Improvement Programme – New UCA Initiative
The latest initiative of the University of Central Asia (UCA) is the Education Improvement Programme (EIP). It engages 20 government secondary schools (grades 7-11) in each of the three Founding States of the University: Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. The objective is to enhance students’ academic achievements and opportunities for entry to high-quality universities nationally, regionally, and internationally, and to be work ready and equipped for responsible citizenship.
Working within the framework of education ministries, district education officers and school staff, EIP accents Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM), Information Communication Technology (ICT), and English. It aims to develop competencies such as critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication, required for full participation in the economic, social and cultural life in the 21st Century.
EIP facilitates the professional development of teacher educators, secondary school teachers and school leaders to ensure effective delivery of the programme outcomes, and pilot best practices and innovations that can be scaled up. Some schools are selected as a ‘Resource School’, a hub whose experience will be shared more widely with other schools, providing an important cascading effect, which over time is expected to have a much wider impact on school education. At the same time through ongoing research, monitoring and evaluation, the programme aims to provide a model that can be scaled up and replicated nationally and regionally. In so doing, it contributes to improving the quality of education in Central Asia and promotes the social and economic development of the region.
EIP started its work by conducting a literature review that identified the current state of education and future plans for the provision of quality education in each of the three countries as well as on national and international best practices that would facilitate quality improvement in teaching and learning to improve student achievement. It has also completed situational analyses in partner schools in Kyrgyzstan, and is currently conducting the same in Kazakhstan and thereafter in Tajikistan. Findings from this analysis is being used to facilitate each school in developing an education improvement plan, and will also be used to facilitate the professional development of teachers. EIP offered the first phase of its professional development programme from December 19 to 25 for English, math, physics and chemistry teachers from Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan at UCA's Naryn Сampus.
The course was taught by experienced UCA School of Arts and Sciences faculty members and the EIP team. There were 64 participants from all UCA founding countries, 6 from Tajikistan, 23 from Kazakhstan and 35 from Kyrgyzstan.
The EIP team will be working closely with the teachers coming from partner schools to follow up and support them in implementing their developed plans until the end of the academic year.
Overheard at EIP
Komilbek Mamadnazarbekov, Physics teacher educator from Tajikistan: “I have many years of experience in teaching both schoolchildren and teachers of physics, but in this professional development I have gained many new and innovative ideas and teaching methods. One of the many things that impressed me is teaching Physics through real life by using accessible resources that make teachers more independent of external resources. I have also learned how to teach children to be ready for coping with real life problems in future."
Maksim Ghuvasov, chemistry teacher from the Lomonosov School #5 in Taldykorgan, Kazakhstan: "The professional development programme was very interesting and relevant. We learnt about competency-based teaching and problem-based learning and practiced their application in subject-specific sessions. I really could see how conducting experiments through real life examples can make learning more engaging and meaningful. Our sessions were very productive, and covered mostly practice-based sessions, as well as theory."