By Anvar Meliboev, Public Relations Specialist, Uzbekistan
Today, the concept of human development is gaining its popularity and practicality among academia, students, civil society, mass media and selected policy makers in Uzbekistan. Acknowledgement of the human development as a development paradigm among above stated parties has mainly been a result of consistent efforts of UNDP in Uzbekistan to raise awareness and promote the concept principles across the country.
In Uzbekistan, until 2008 the concept of Human Development had been mostly reflected in the National Human Development Reports (NHDR) published since 1995 to cover topics varying from economic growth to social integrity. However, issued with a view to provide an in-depth assessment of the situation in priority areas of national development and propose recommendations for the future. The NHDRs did not serve as an educational tool, neither had they identified a more complex approach among academia to promote a better understanding of human development in Uzbekistan.
Most importantly, an absence of methodological base and lack of sustainable training mechanism specifically targeting various groups representing policy making institutions and academia remained as a stumbling block in promoting and applying the concept in the country. To address above mentioned challenges in May of 2008 UNDP initiated a project in order to increase capacities of selected policy making institutions in promoting and applying human development concept.
As a first step, the UNDP project identified a key partner, the University of World Economy and Diplomacy UWED) under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Uzbekistan. In October of 2008 two sides signed a memorandum of understanding providing for various activities such as conduct of trainings, issuance of a pilot “Human Development” course book and teaching a Human Development course at the university.
In the course of over three years, the project was able to conduct 9 trainings of trainers, specifically targeting academic staff of universities in Uzbekistan with a further aim of transferring knowledge to training recipients, who would later apply obtained knowledge while delivering trainings themselves on other educational establishments of Uzbekistan.
“When we started delivering human development trainings at UWED back in 2008, we almost had no qualified in-country lecturers available in this area. Whereas, today we have a pool of 29 certified trainers of which 21 are women, who have successfully completed our training of trainers courses and contributed to launch of our human development courses in Uzbek and Russian languages”, said Ms Elena Danilova-Cross, UNDP Human Development Coordinator in Uzbekistan.
Such an investment empowered participants to receive valuable knowledge that largely contributed to development of methodological base - a Human Development course book supported by a teaching tool-kit: syllabus, lecture materials and sample course tests. Moreover, preparation of a methodological base has closely been co-echoed with introduction of a “Human Development” course for graduate level students of all three faculties of the UWED.
A Graduate Level Course on Human Development. The course has been taught since 2008 and is offered to graduate level students of all three faculties of the University of World Economy and Diplomacy under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan (UWED). Structured in both theoretical and practical format, the course is delivered by lecturers from UWED, UNDP country office, government representatives and international consultants. The students also had a unique chance to acquire firsthand knowledge through master classes by well known experts and practitioners from the Moscow State University and UNDP Bratislava Regional Center. Since 2008, almost 100 UWED graduate students completed the HD one semester–long course. Based on the results of written tests, assessment of assays and presented research papers, 87 of students got certified. A thesis on the topic on “Influence of Globalization on Human Development” was defended to pursue Doctoral degree.“Thanks to this course. It helped me to broaden my knowledge on human development and enabled me think of new socially oriented development policies addressing needs of people”. The 2010 HD course male participant.
Human Development Website – www.humandevelopment.uz To ensure wide access to information of population the project launched the first website on human development Uzbekistan that provides visitors with an opportunity to participate in human development related forums, to access an electronic library on human development literature. Registered students are also eligible to go through an online course and pass a self-assessment test. The website serves as a networking platform for over a hundred members of Associations of students and teachers on human development.
Human Development Resource Centre. Opened in 2008, the Human Development Resource centre is located under premises of the University of World Economy and Diplomacy (UWED) under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan. The Centre aims to facilitate various debates, forums, round tables, research activities and presentations on human development. The centre’s mission is to make its resources available and useful not only to students and academic staff of UWED but also to all interested parties. As of date the resource centre allocates about 500 human development related books, magazines, scientific papers, training, electronic and video materials.
Brochure on Human Development for Parliamentarians. Developed in Uzbek, Russian and English languages, the brochure provides with a unique opportunity for Parliamentarians to be familiarized with the Human Development concept in easy to read language. According to the representative of the Senate, the brochure became a successful publication among representatives of local legislative chambers and the Parliament and generated positive feedback. As of to date, the project disseminated about 1000 copies of the brochure countrywide in Uzbek and Russian languages.
In fact, the whole idea of making this brochure available to parliamentarians significantly and greatly contributes to raising awareness of members of the Parliament on human development. Thus creating a knowledge base, which can be transferred to knowledge practice while indentifying, developing, considering legislative proposals and initiatives that would most importantly result in pro-human oriented decisions.
Countrywide training seminars. The project in partnership with the Senate and the Academy for State and Social Construction under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan conducted countrywide training seminars covering all 14 regions in 2009. These trainings enabled more than 600 participants- high level local government officials, senators, academia, NGO, entrepreneurs, people with disabilities and civil society institutions to acquire basic understanding of key principles of human development.
Participation of such variety of groups has largely contributed to overall success of these training as they ensured constructive dialogue and exchange of ideas between different groups, people representing public and private sectors and various socio-economic strata. And most importantly, as highlighted by training participants, these activities revealed new pro-people oriented development policies applicable to practical realities of Uzbekistan.
Further Prospects of Human Development in Uzbekistan
The HD phenomenon is in the center of attention of pubic authorities, international organizations, academic society, media and civil society and is taking growing recognition in Uzbekistan. The President of Uzbekistan officially declared the 2010 as the year of Harmoniously Developed Generation. A special state program was developed and being carried mostly targeting youth population of Uzbekistan.
In Uzbekistan, with a median population age of 24, this decision is more than ever crucial for the country’s’ intention to promote and introduce healthy life style, enhancing people’s choices, better educational standards and gender equality among youth and population in general.As mentioned above, the human development concept in Uzbekistan is gaining recognition and yet to be expanded through unfolding of tailored trainings for policy makers and enriching methodological base of educations institutions of the country.
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