The Uzbek higher education system consists of institutions, scientific and pedagogical establishments performing research work, and state body formations. According to the National Programme for Personnel Training, higher education builds on academic achievements of specialised secondary education (academic lyceum) and/or vocational education (vocational college) and includes two levels: Bachelor degree and Master degree.
The Ministry of Higher and Secondary Specialised Education’s (MHSSE) responsibility is to organize the academic year, including the length of the semesters, examination periods and academic holidays.
The academic year starts on September 2nd and lasts until the end of June. It is divided into two semesters with holidays ranging from 10 to 12 weeks:
• 1st semester - from early September to late January;
• 2nd semester - from the beginning of February to the end of June, although the duration of the semester can vary depending on the status of the HEIs or on the study programme.
First level - Bachelor programme
This basic higher education provides fundamental knowledge in one of the branches of higher education for a minimum period of study of four years. Upon completion of the Bachelor programme, graduates are awarded Bachelor degree and a state diploma (in Uzbek: Bakalavr), which entitles them to start professional activity or to continue studies at Master level.
Second level - Master programme
This level of higher education provides knowledge in specific areas and lasts for at least two years after the Bachelor degree. Master programme graduates are awarded a state diploma (in Uzbek: Magistr), which entitles them to work in the relevant professional areas or to continue education in postgraduate education establishments.
More detailed information about the higher education system in Uzbekistan can be found in the country fiche on http://erasmusplus.uz/images/shared/countryfiche_uzbekistan_2017.pdf or here.
According to “Comprehensive Development Programme of the Higher Education System for 2017-2021” adopted in 2017 the implementation of Higher Education reform process for the whole year 2018 has been intensified by a number of significant decisions and considerable developments: on quality improvement of graduate training, qualification upgrading of academic staff of higher educational institutions, wide-scale development of international relations; opening new HEIs, establishing of joint degree programmes and joint faculties, introduction of new education directions and specialties, extramural and evening departments, university autonomy on student quotas and educational programmes according to labour market needs, recognition of diploma obtained abroad etc. The total number of HEIs has been increased from 77 in 2016 to 95 in 2018. 16 new joint programmes have been introduced in cooperation with prestigious overseas universities. Students quotas of overall admission to HEIs have been doubled. It is worth to underline that as of the next year (2020) it will be possible to submit application for admission to several HEIs in one round.
Two Presidential Decrees on “Additional measures on enhancing quality of education in higher education institutions and ensuring their proactive involvement in considerable reforms” (No 3775 of 5 June 2018) and “On strategy of the Republic of Uzbekistan for innovative development for 2019-2021” (No 5544 of 21 September 2018) have encouraged the overall continuous changes in HE system of Uzbekistan.
Another important document on the issue is the Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On Uzbekistan's Development Strategy for 2017-2021” from 7 February 2017. In the priority areas of development of the social sphere (#IV): Development of education and science refers to all main aspects of the education system of the country like continuous education; strengthening of the material-technical base of educational institutions; improving the quality and effectiveness of higher education institutions through introduction of international standards; quality of teaching; gradual increase in admission quota in the higher educational institutions.
All above mentioned changes have demonstrated commitment of the Government to considerable and fundamental reforms of the HE system with an important role allocated to international cooperation.
All Tempus and Erasmus+ projects are aimed to introduce some value in the development of HE in the country with components like capacity building, curricula development and equipment. It should be noted that national projects are designed to mainly consider priorities of Uzbekistan and also have considerable impact with sustainable results. More information about completed and ongoing projects can be found in the NEO’s annual publications on http://erasmusplus.uz/publication/NEO-publications/index.htm. Below a couple of the Erasmus+ projects:
IMEP - Internationalisation and Modernization of Education and Processes in the Higher Education of Uzbekistan (http://imep.bimm.uz/). The main objective is to contribute to the internationalization and further enhancement of the Quality Assurance System in Higher Education of Uzbekistan through the development of continuous professional development, student and employer engagement in teaching and learning.
RENES – Development of Master Programme in Renewable Energy Sources and Sustainable Environment (http://www.reneseplus.uz/). The main goal of this project is to develop a new master's program on renewable energy sources and sustainable environment and implement the developed courses at all Uzbek partner universities. A wider objective of the project is to create educational base for training of a new generation of engineers in Renewable Energy sources and sustainable environment.
Another similar project has been launched by the World bank in 2016: Modernizing Higher Education Project (http://projects.worldbank.org/P128516?lang=en). The objectives of the Modernizing Higher Education Project for Uzbekistan are to strengthen the Recipient’s higher education system managerial capacity, and to improve both the labour market relevance and the learning environment of selected higher education institutions. There are four components to the project, the first component being Strengthening Higher Education Management. The project will support enhancement of the managerial capacity of the higher education system in Uzbekistan.