Many social and economic problems in our country are intensified by the declining level of education. And this is because the country lacks those who are educated in the humanities, people who develop culture, education and science, who are talented and deeply educated scholars and teachers who can be leaders of preschool institutions, schools and universities.
To do this, it is not enough to acquire basic knowledge and skills in one’s profession, it is necessary to do your utmost for the education. This education shapes a person, a person who understands the past and present, who can apply the lessons of history to modern life. This is a person who can think conceptualy, with problem-solving skills and the ability to learn throughout life. Today, the ability to live and thrive in an era of fundamental socio-economic change, in an era of uncertainty, is as needed as air, We need teachers who understand what is happening in the modern world and who can explain it to others. It is those teachers who, using flexible and creative approaches, form in children and adolescents the qualities they will need in life.
Therefore, the goal of the faculty and teachers of the Institute of Humanities, which currently includes the programs in English Linguistics, Chinese Linguistics and Pedagogy, is to develop these qualities in students. The development of new courses has begun, with integrated content; courses that meet the changing interests of our society.
The institute develops new methodological materials and assessment tools, changes approaches to the formation of curricula, structure and management. Practice-centered trainings are used, such as study tours, internships, online courses, seminars, debates, and team projects, An active academic exchange program with universities in Norway, the USA, Taiwan, is under way.
Active cooperation between IUCA and the NLA University College (Norway) began in 2011 with a 4-year grant from the EURASIA Foundation. This cooperation contributed to the expansion of the participation of students, teachers and staff in research and experimental activities, which is especially important for developing the basis for a complete cycle of “preschool education – school – college – university” through the creation of an early development center, kindergarten and elementary school and secondary school.
In 2018, a new two-year project of the EURASIA Foundation was launched, focused on the early development of children. The project intends to improve the effectiveness of educational activities, raising the quality of education in both Kyrgyzstan and Norway. It is consistent with the main goal of IUCA – to build and maintain high-quality education for preschool and school teachers in Kyrgyzstan. As part of the project, students have teaching practice in a kindergarten, participate in the Children’s Festival and attend classes of the Pedagogical Leadership course, and NLA teachers conduct master classes as part of this course. In addition, NLA is actively using additional funds from the Erasmus+ International Credit Mobility program to increase the number of students trained.
The training was completed by students and staff/faculty of IUCA Pedagogy and English Linguistics Programs. More than 20 people participated, most of the students are currently studying at the NLA for a semester in NLA’s Pedagogical Leadership course, as well as are working in a preschool.
When studying, students actively communicate with their Norwegian and foreign peers, and are included in the educational, social and cultural environment on campus. They also get to know the Norwegian system of pre-school and secondary school education during classes, workshops, events and visits to kindergartens.
During the pandemic, cooperation was not interrupted: 15 students and about 20 teachers underwent online training and a two-day webinar, during which the participants achieved a deeper understanding of modern pedagogical ideas, and also continued to develop their communication and pedagogical skills.
In the spring of this year, 4 more teachers and 12 IUCA students are being trained at the NLA and will take part in art and drama classes as part of the Pedagogical Leadership course. The collaboration between NLA and IUCA will provide students, university and kindergarten teachers with the opportunity to see and test elements of other educational systems and adapt them to their own learning/teaching practice.
We hope that the sense of purpose and intense interest of IUCA students and faculty in studying in Norway and other countries and their motivation to work in kindergartens and schools in Kyrgyzstan will will help our graduates once they are seeking jobs.
The strategic plan of NLA reflects the priorities and possible outcomes of this project: the university seeks to cooperate with international educational organizations to improve the quality of education and develop intercultural understanding, which helps students better prepare for life in a multinational society, increase the mobility of students and staff, and expand the circle of promising international partners.
IUCA and NLA faculty conduct collaborative research on overall development and enhancement of children’s creativity, the use of digital and media tools, as well as games, voice, body language and improvisation in the process of teaching children in various cultural settings. They also reflect on the introduction of innovative technologies in foreign language learning and active learning in general.
The result will be the development of a new course in Pedagogical Leadership at IUCA, and IUCA students will be able to apply the knowledge, experience and professional competencies acquired in Norway in their work at the Center for Early Development, which will be part of the HTC.
It is planned to continue the use of digital technologies in hybrid and online learning, to start developing a Technology in Education program, especially since the first steps in this project by the NLA and IUCA which were made in 2021. NLA has an active research group that studies digital methods and tools in early childhood education.
By developing quality university education that is attractive to young people from all over Kyrgyzstan, IUCA is committed to transforming Tokmok into an academic city. And this will help to strengthen the international relations of the university with foreign partners.
Consequently, the faculty of the institute is committed to developing an innovative, holistic approach to learning, and one way is through the integration of programs, which, combined with in-depth study of English and other languages, will lead to the institute becoming one of the best liberal arts educational institutions in the region of Central Asia.