Uzbekistan is one the Central Asian republics of the former Soviet Union, it flourished as the medieval center and intellectual center of the Muslim world due in part to scholars, philosophers and cultural leaders such as Al- Farabi, Ibn Sina (also known as Avicenna), Ulugh Beg, Nawaiy, Babur Shah and Tamerlane. Their contributions to world culture in the humanities and sciences were numerous and included such works as Avicenna's Canon of Medic ine, Al-Ferghani's (also known as Alfraganus) Fundamentals of Astronomy, Babur's Baburnama, and Nawaiy's Divans. Uzbekistan maintained trade, intellectual and religious contacts with South Asia, the Middle East and Europe. The oasis towns of Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, and Tashkent mark the famous "Silk Road" over which caravans took the products of Europe to exchange for those of Asia. From the tenth century onwards, Central Asian scholars an d scientists held sway in the courts of Spain. But after the Communist Revolution in 1917 contacts with the outside world had ceased to exist. Uzbekistan declared independence on September 1, 1991. More than 50% of Uzbekistan's population of over 24 million are under the age of 18. Many speak two languages (Uzbek and Russian); most speak three or more languages. The s tudy of English language has become very popular ever since independence. Many students speak it well, others, including adults, are vigorously learning it. The switch from a planned to market economy after independence has triggered wide-spread interest in the fields of economics, business, management, international relations, medicine, law, agriculture, education, engineering, the physical sciences, language and literature. Uzbekistan is one of the largest cotton producing countries of the world and has large deposits of gold and other precious metals and resources. Uzbekistan is situated in the heart of Central Asia with Kazakstan on the North; Turkmenistan and Afghanistan on the South; Kyrgyzstan on the Southeast.
Higher Education in Uzbekistan
When Uzbekistan became an independent state in l991, a new law of education was written guaranteeing its citizens secondary and higher education. This article should serve as a guide, rather than a definitive source of information, as the educational system in Uzbekistan is still developing and changing and many institutions are changing their names.
New Degree Structure
Independence has brought many reforms within Uzbekistan, especially educational reforms. A new degree structure is being implemented gradually by many higher institutions throughout Uzbekistan. In the past, universities and some institutes were five years in duration and graduates received the first university level degree (diploma), issued by the authority of the State Examination Commission. The *diploma* is similar in educational level to the US's bachelor's degree. Presently, this has been reduced to four years. The exceptions are medical ins titutes with 5-6 year programs depending on the speciality.
Individuals interested in graduate study can pursue two to three year master's degrees. At the end of study, the students defend their dissertation to earn the Kandidat's degree which is somewhere between a master degree and Ph. D. in the US.
Next comes the Doctor of Science Ph.D. degree. The scholars should have several years monitoring experience and have several publications in major scientific journals. After 3-4 years of research work, they defend their dissertation and earn the Doctor of Science degree. In case were the quality of the research and dissertation is high, a doctor degree may be awarded immediately following the kandidat degree. The last degree of "Professo rship" comes after some years of leadership position, publications and experience.
At present, there are 62 higher educational establishments including 2 academies, 16 universities, and 44 institutes. Universities are prestigious institutions that prepare skilled personnel as well as academic staff. The university offers a variety of disciplines and focuses on preparing future researchers and teachers.
Institutes prepare specialists in specific fields of study such as: engineering, law, agriculture, etc. The academies coordinate research and retraining of specialists.
The number of majors offered in higher education in Uzbekistan is 103, the number of specialties 600.
Regardless of the type secondary training completed, a citizen of Uzbekistan has the right to continue education in
Universities and institutes are divided into faculties
which reflect major fields of specialization. Within
faculties are specific departments dedicated
to narrow specializations. There are specialized institutions
in education (Pedagogical Institute); economics (Tashkent
State Economic University); in law (Law Institute) etc.
Each institution is headed by a rector, with faculties lead by
Since 1995, admission to some institutions is on
a contractual bases with tuition charges. In Uzbekistan, students
choose their field of specialization before entrance
to institution of higher education. Students apply to a specific
department rather then to the institution.
An institutional admission commission is organized
by the rector and consists of the pro-rector for instruction
and research and the deans of faculties. In 1993, entrance
exams were changed to tests. With the exception of the
University of Economy and Diplomacy, entrance
tests take place simultaneously, on August 1, throughout the
republic. Admission to higher educational institutions is
based primarily on merit. In some institutions an interview
is also required to determine the student's aptitude and
motivation in a given field.
Most students study full time but evening and correspondence
courses are available. The first and the second year of the curriculum
is devoted to study of social science with similar course requirements
for all related specializations. Specialization begins in the
third year and continues in the fourth your. Within this
period a student has between 4,500 and 5,000 hours of instruction
in approximately 20 to 30 subjects, depending on the field of
concentration. The academic year begins on September 2 (September
1 is Independence Day) and ends in July. In some institutions,
there are two terms while in others, there are three. The language
of instruction is Uzbek or Russian.
Final grades are determined by test scores,
papers, attendance, and class participation. They are broken
into percentages of the whole final grade. The number of courses
that may be taken for credit within a given curriculum is determined by
the department. Usually, no more
than five tests are taken at the end of each semester with
the remainder of the courses receiving a credit (*zachet*).
Also, a student is required to satisfactorily compose essays
and seminar papers. In the final year of study (except for medicine),
students are required to prepare theses papers and take exams.
By Fazilat Khalilova, Tashkent EIC, firstname.lastname@example.org
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