Aga Khan Reviews Progress of University of Central Asia’s Naryn Campus

Date: 03 November 2014
His Highness the Aga Khan, Chancellor of the University of Central Asia (UCA) visited the Naryn campus, the first of UCA’s three new undergraduate campuses spread across the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan on 3 November 2014.
His Highness the Aga Khan reviewing progress on the Naryn campus, the first of the
University of Central Asia's three new undergraduate campuses. 
Two other campuses are being built in Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. 
The UCA Chancellor was accompanied by Kyrgyzstan’s Minister for Education Mr Kanat Sadykov, Naryn Governor Mr Amanbay Kayipov, Mayor Mr Rakhat Adiyev, the Akim of the Naryn rayon Zhanboev Tugolbai as well as UCA leadership. The delegation toured the first phase of construction of the Naryn campus, which includes an academic block, residential dormitories for 150 students, and international standard sports facilities. The master plan and concept design for the campus, located on the banks of the Naryn River on 252 hectares of land provided by the Kyrgyz Government, were conceived by award-winning architecture firm Arata Isozaki & Associates.
UCA was jointly founded in 2000 by the Presidents of the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan and His Highness the Aga Khan. The university’s mission is to offer an internationally recognised standard of higher education in Central Asia and prepare graduates to contribute leadership and innovation to the economies and communities of the region.
His Highness the Aga Khan was very pleased that construction is on schedule and that the first students would be enrolled in September 2016. Students will be admitted on a merit basis regardless of their ability to pay.
“We live in a knowledge society today where access to good quality education and research leads to sustainable development. It is our aspiration that the University of Central Asia will offer teaching and research on the challenges and prospects of the mountainous areas of Central Asia and the twenty to thirty million people who inhabit them,” explained His Highness the Aga Khan. “I am very pleased that the Naryn campus of UCA will be the first to admit students, starting in 2016. They will benefit from a unique curriculum developed in partnership with world-renowned universities as well as some of the best academic and residential facilities in the region.”
The five year undergraduate programme offered by UCA will include preparatory, cross-disciplinary, core and prerequisite courses, as well as the choice of six specialisations or majors. Each of the three campuses will offer two majors, from amongst Computer Science, Economics, Communications and Media, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Business and Management and Engineering Sciences. Students will also have the opportunity to study for a minor in Central Asian Studies, Development Studies or Globalisation Studies.
The Chancellor and his delegation also visited UCA’s School of Professional and Continuing Education (SPCE) in Naryn town, which provides over 50 professional and vocational programmes in eight areas of study and is a leading educational publisher in the region. Since 2006, SPCE has reached over 19,000 learners in the Kyrgyz Republic.
The first UCA campus currently employs 350 construction professionals, with over 50% from Naryn. In 2012, all of the construction site preparatory works were awarded to contractors from Naryn providing over 48,000 days of employment to the 100% local workforce. In 2013 and 2014, $6.5 million in contracts and procurement were awarded locally. As construction progresses, between 20 and 30 contracts are being tendered; many are prioritised for Kyrgyz and Central Asian contractors, who in turn are obligated to employ at least 50% of their workforce from Naryn. Despite extreme weather conditions, construction in Naryn continues all year round, with the use of tented and heated areas to handle the severe winters.
Mr Shamsh Kassim-Lakha, Head of the AKDN Representation to the Kyrgyz Republic and Executive Chairman of the UCA Board Executive Committee commented that: “UCA benefits from being part of AKDN enabling us to draw on the Network’s experience of developing the renowned Aga Khan University, now operational in several countries of Asia, Africa and the United Kingdom” said Kassim-Lakha. “Institution building, when done well, is a long-term endeavour. It requires dedicated faculty members committed to high quality teaching and research. When UCA’s Naryn campus opens in 2016, we will be embarking on a new journey, opening the first campus of the first regional university in Central Asia.”
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