Central Asian countries will create a single area in the field of higher education. The Kazakhstan initiated idea was welcomed at the forum of ministers of education of the Central Asian countries, the Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan reports.
The event, held in a hybrid format by Kazakhstan on 18 June 2021, gathered the ministers of education of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as representatives of the ministries of education of all Central Asian countries, representatives of the Council of Europe, the European Commission, the Bologna Process Monitoring Group, Erasmus+ and rectors of universities in Central Asia.
The forum adopted the Turkestan Declaration. According to this document, the Central Asian countries intend to unite the scientific, intellectual and creative potential of higher educational institutions throughout the region.
The five nations are going to create a free zone, enabling students and academic staff to freely move for training, exchange of knowledge, joint research.
The parties also agreed to increase the number of exchange educational programs, joint research projects and establish a relationship between student leaders, to hold forums of rectors of universities in Central Asia to exchange experience and discuss collaboration areas.
The countries will set up a Secretariat to coordinate the efforts of the ministries of education, enhance the attractiveness of higher education in Central Asia and strengthen the competitiveness of the Central Asian countries.
The Turkestan Declaration identifies the following areas of cooperation:
- Alliance of Central Asian Universities.
- Association of Qualifications Recognition Organizations.
- Central Asian Education Quality Assurance Network.
- Student’s Alliance.
The full text of the Turkestan Declaration is available here: https://rm.coe.int/turkestan-declaration/1680a2eac7
The creation of the Central Asian Higher Education Area is an objective need today, stressed the education minister of Kazakhstan Askhat Aimagambetov.
“About 20 thousand students who are citizens of Central Asian countries are currently studying in Kazakhstan’s universities, and this figure is growing every year. In this regard, within the framework of the single higher education area, it would be possible to consider a simplified procedure for the recognition of qualifications, like in the countries of the European Higher Education Area. But all this requires building synchronized systems of higher education,” the minister said.
The Central Asian higher education area has been inspired partly by the European Higher Education Area. “It has every potential to help develop coherent higher education reforms and systems in Central Asia. It has every potential to help establish Central Asia more firmly on the world map of higher education”, said in his opening remarks Sjur Bergan, Head of Education Department of the Council of Europe.
“The journey you are about to set out on is important and exciting. It is not one that will simply pass through Central Asia. It is also not a circular road that will take you to different parts of Central Asia but not go beyond. On the contrary, it is a road that will start in Central Asia and link up to other similar roads in all parts of the world”, he added. /// nCa, 22 June 2021