Building a Knowledge-Based Society: The Role of Colleges in Uzbekistan

  • Zulfiya Tursunova
  • Nodira Azizova

After obtaining independence in 1991, Uzbekistan, like other countries of the former Soviet Union, had to redesign and reorient the educational system which had been designed for a centralized country. The educational system of centrally-governed USSR was linked to the Ministry of Education and economic power was exercised by the State Planning Committee (GOSPLAN), the production apparatus, which determined and dictated the imbalanced economic plan with a high concentration of manufacturing industries in the north. After collectivization in the 1930s, cotton became the main crop and production has grown exponentially in the past 50 years (Spoor, 1993). The emphasis on cotton production resulted in decreasing the exist ing system of crop rotation with wheat, alfalfa, and the key production of fruits and vegetables. Moreover, the increased cotton production led to soil salinity, erosion of land, water pollution, and the drying up of the Aral Sea. Despite the fact that the economic and political systems had been set up to satisfy the needs of the centrally run market economy, there were some advantages the system provided. For exam ple, Uzbekistan achieved very high literacy rates (98% by 1990), free education at all levels for all citizens, privileged access to enter higher educational institutions for the applicants from rural areas (as a result of allocated quotas), and guaranteed employment for graduates of colleges, techniquims†, and universities

Vocational education was developed to satisfy the demands of the economic plan by producing the required number of specialists for particular economic sectors. The content was set by the policies and needs of the Soviet Union as a whole, with only minor regional differences. The collapse of the Soviet Union, rupture of economic relations between the countries, and out-dated technology and knowl edge urged Uzbekistan to address the issues emerging from the socio-economic, political, and cultural transformations. The vocational system needed significant improvements to meet the needs of a global society


Vocational Education State Committee High Educational Institution Vocational College Professional College 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zulfiya Tursunova
  • Nodira Azizova
    • 1
  1. 1.Ministry of Public EducationRepublic of Uzbekistan

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