Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 2
By Fikret Dolukhanov – Trend:
The Ministry of Innovative Development of Uzbekistan has signed a $40 million agreement for the creation of the University of the Future, CEO and founder of the University Behruz Hamzaev told Trend.
The document was signed with an angel investor who will invest the $40 million for the creation of the first online University in Central Asia.
People behind the project are currently in active negotiations with the world's leading online universities as well as with Learning Management System (LMS) platform providers and other content creators, such as McGraw-Hill Education, Belouga, Minerva Schools at KGI/Minerva Project, The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand, City University of Hong Kong, edX, Udacity and iversity.
In some cases, the parties have already reached agreements and MOUs (Memorandums of Understanding) are being finalized for signing.
The new university project provides for the introduction into the educational process of advanced pedagogical and information technologies and the latest achievements of science and technology.
To get the university up and running, the parties have been creating the necessary conditions for the functioning of a robust electronic information and educational environment. The platform will include resources, courses and degrees that can be accessed in English, Russian and Uzbek languages and will provide programs for about 50,000 students per year, regardless of their location.
The coverage of higher education in Uzbekistan is only 9 percent at the moment. In 2018, roughly 800,000 students applied for university places in the country and sat exams for only 70.000 university places, leaving around 730,000 students to be excluded from higher education. The University of the Future is most scalable and fast solution for this problem.
The University is expecting to attract 50,000 students in the first year and up to 5 million students by 2025.
“We understand that this is a very ambitious goal. However, all important prerequisites such as technology, content, platform, know-how and human capital are there. All we need to do is to build the minimum viable product and to carry on with DevOps” Hamzaev said.
When assessing students’ knowledge, their results will be received and stored in a database in New Zealand. This factor will serve as a guarantor to prevent corruption during the exams.
Despite being 100-percent online, the University will have a main campus in Tashkent and branch campuses in all 14 regions of the country. The government of Uzbekistan is graciously providing the university with the premises of one former vocational college in each region so as to assure that the university can realize its vision of multipurpose education.
“In fact, all branches will contain test, study and tutoring spaces, as well as makerspaces, co-working spaces, startup incubators and business accelerators, so that students will be better prepared for the real world,” Hamzaev said.
All local negotiations have been finalized and it is expected that Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev will sign the decree to establish the very first online university in Central Asia by the end of this year.
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