The status of water education in Central Asia

11 October 2011

Upon the order and with the support of UNESCO Almaty Cluster Office for Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan the Center of Cooperation for sustainable development of Republic of Kazakhstan has prepared a review of existing practices of teaching water issues in Central Asian region to identify challenges of this area and develop recommendations for improving training in water sector.

The survey involved three countries of Central Asian region: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. State educational standards, job qualifying requirements, list of required courses and their content were examined and analyzed as part of this survey. In order to assess the teaching practices the technical equipment of the educational process and the availability of educational resources were scrutinized, the methods of teaching were assessed as well. While preparing the review the number of interviews with government agencies, research institutes and design organizations were conducted. Developed recommendations were presented at the sub-regional seminar on Capacity Building on IWRM in Central Asia, in May 2011.

In order to improve the quality of training it is recommended to review existing educational standards and curricula of universities, to provide additional funds and resources for training water professionals. According to experts opinion, there is an urgent need to improve the list of special engineering courses and enlarge the undergraduate curriculum with general engineering training courses. The experts recommend that all three countries to focus on the creation of textbooks, including electronic, in Central Asian languages of respective country, as well as paying more attention to the professional development trainings of teachers who teach in national languages. Water practitioners should be engaged in the development of these textbooks and in teaching several courses.

Currently, Central Asian countries are introducing the concept of research universities. A large role in this process is given to student participation in research projects. The experts noted the huge interest of the water management organizations of Central Asia to improve professional development and retraining of their staff. It is recommended to the Ministry of Education and Science and Ministry of Water Resources to establish in-service teachers training system for water sector. This system should include multi-level courses on IWRM for university professors and specialists of the Ministries working in the water sector.

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