WENR, Sept./Oct. 2002: Russia & The Commonwealth of Independent States
Regional University to Service Central Asia
A team of international scholars is creating a regional university that will serve some of the most remote and poverty-stricken areas of Central Asia. The University of Central Asia will bring secular education to the people of Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
The university will offer degree programs based on a liberal arts and sciences curriculum. The programs are being created to serve a new elite in the hope they will provide leadership in the region. Fees will be charged. Alongside the degree programs will be a number of continuing and vocational education programs for civil servants, farmers and merchants to be offered at each of the three campuses.
A treaty, ratified by the parliaments of Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan has brought the university to fruition. The main campus at Khorog, in the Badakhshan region of the Pamir Mountains in Tajikistan, is already functioning as a continuing and vocational education center. It is expected to be fully equipped for undergraduate and graduate studies within the next four years.
Two other campuses will be built at Tekeli, Kazakhstan, and Naryn, Kyrgyzstan. The institutions will offer equal access to all, and a woman, Dr. Raikhan Sissekenova, is directing the first phase of operations in Kazakhstan.
Cost for the project is expected to reach US$200 million, and funding has come from a number of sources. The Aga Khan Foundation has pledged US$15 million, and governments in several countries — including Canada, Germany, Japan and Switzerland — as well as corporations and other foundations are expected to contribute.
Students will get a grounding in English and computers before beginning course work. All undergraduate classes will be taught in English. Adult education programs, which will be taught in regional dialects, will respond to local needs in terms of language and subject matter, and will retrain civil servants and assist would-be entrepreneurs.