Ed­u­ca­tion and Em­ploy­ment: a Shift in Fo­cus

Higher ed­u­ca­tion faces a dilemma. Should univer­si­ties de­cide on what skills and tech­ni­cal knowl­edge they think a grad­u­ate should have, or should they be aimed at meet­ing the needs of em­ploy­ers and in­creas­ing the chances of a grad­u­ate to work? The con­sulta

Uzbekistan Today (English) - - TOPICAL -

- The re­al­ity is that you need a bal­ance. Univer­si­ties should pro­vide grad­u­ates with strong tech­ni­cal knowl­edge based on best prac­tices, also tak­ing into ac­count the in­ter­na­tional achieve­ments in their dis­ci­plines, and at the same time there’s a need for in­ter­ac­tion be­tween em­ploy­ers and stu­dents in or­der to have a clear idea of what will max­i­mize the chances of grad­u­ates for suc­cess­ful em­ploy­ment.

In or­der to try to un­der­stand the pro­cesses and de­scribe the main struc­ture within which univer­si­ties can pro­vide higher ed­u­ca­tion that de­vel­ops both the aca­demic and prac­ti­cal skills of their stu­dents, I and Pro­fes­sor Stephen Pavlin from the Univer­sity of Bath take part in a project aimed at de­vel­op­ing prin­ci­ples of re­form­ing the cur­ric­ula and plans, and the cre­ation of a roadmap through which in­sti­tu­tions can ef­fec­tively col­lab­o­rate with em­ploy­ers, in­clud­ing the el­e­ments of their pro­grams aimed at in­creas­ing the chances of suc­cess­ful em­ploy­ment. The work map will be ac­com­pa­nied by a num­ber of ba­sic prin­ci­ples of ed­u­ca­tional process re­form that cor­re­spond to in­ter­na­tional best prac­tice, which univer­si­ties will be able to guide in the de­vel­op­ment of their cur­ric­ula and syl­labi. The project, de­vel­oped by the Bri­tish Coun­cil in part­ner­ship with the Min­istry of Higher and Sec­ondary Spe­cial Ed­u­ca­tion of the Re­pub­lic of Uzbek­istan, pri­mar­ily fo­cuses on pro­grams that pro­vide di­plo­mas in the field of eco­nomics and man­age­ment, but can also be used for pro­grams in other direc­tions.

As a re­sult of the first phase of the project, grad­u­ates of three univer­si­ties spe­cial­iz­ing in eco­nomics were in­ter­viewed in or­der to get an idea of the mod­ules that they found most use­ful when ap­ply­ing for a job. In ad­di­tion, polls were con­ducted among a num­ber of key em­ploy­ers to de­ter­mine which skills and at­tributes they most value in grad­u­ates of higher ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tions em­ployed by their com­pany. The pur­pose of this study was to de­ter­mine the strate­gic cor­re­spon­dence be­tween cur­ric­ula and the needs of em­ploy­ers. This kind of im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion is key to the eval­u­a­tion of cur­ric­ula in terms of their ef­fec­tive­ness.

These sur­veys are only part of our part­ner­ship project. Within the frame­work of the scheme we have de­tailed dis­cus­sions in the work and fo­cus groups of the con­tent of cur­rent na­tional and sim­i­lar in­ter­na­tional cur­ric­ula, their struc­tures, the bal­ance be­tween gen­eral eco­nomic knowl­edge, de­vel­op­ment of key skills and cov­er­age of a spe­cific spe­cial­iza­tion sec­tor.

The pre­lim­i­nary anal­y­sis of the ob­tained data al­lows to de­ter­mine what ba­sic skills em­ploy­ers would like to see in the new gen­er­a­tion of grad­u­ates. At the same time, such ap­ti­tudes as the use of ICT, so­cial and com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills, in­clud­ing the abil­ity to work in a team, are in­di­cated as the most crit­i­cal. In ad­di­tion, anal­y­sis of sur­vey data from grad­u­ates shows that the knowl­edge they con­sider use­ful as a re­sult of their univer­sity train­ing needs con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment and de­vel­op­ment, es­pe­cially as they move up the ca­reer lad­der.

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