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Challenges in contemporary higher education in Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia



Largely unknown to most of the world, Kyrgyzstan has a flourishing higher education (HE) sector, with more universities per head than other countries with similar populations. Kyrgyzstan is also a major regional importer of international students in Central Asia. This paper opens up this understudied country in three ways: first, through a brief analysis of the HE sector in Kyrgyzstan; second, by offering a personal view of life on the HE coalface through the findings of primary interviews with university managers in Kyrgyzstan, and third, by identifying five key contemporary challenges of working in Kyrgyz universities. The paper therefore contributes to the limited academic and practical study of HE in Central Asia by offering a new perspective on contemporary global challenges in HE administration and management. The key findings are relevant to organisations seeking to understand the context of working in the HE sector in Kyrgyzstan, and also to individuals and organisations wishing to deepen their comparative understanding of HE sectors around the world.
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Challenges in contemporary higher education in
Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia
Emma Sabzalievaa
a St Antony's College, University of Oxford, Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6JF, UK
Published online: 17 Feb 2015.
To cite this article: Emma Sabzalieva (2015): Challenges in contemporary higher education in Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia,
Perspectives: Policy and Practice in Higher Education, DOI: 10.1080/13603108.2015.1011727
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Challenges in contemporary higher
education in Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia
Emma Sabzalieva
St Antony’s College, University of Oxford, Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6JF, UK
Largely unknown to most of the world, Kyrgyzstan has a flourishing higher education (HE) sector, with
more universities per head than other countries with similar populations. Kyrgyzstan is also a major
regional importer of international students in Central Asia. This paper opens up this understudied
country in three ways: first, through a brief analysis of the HE sector in Kyrgyzstan; second, by offering
a personal view of life on the HE coalface through the findings of primary interviews with university man-
agers in Kyrgyzstan, and third, by identifying five key contemporary challenges of working in Kyrgyz uni-
versities. The paper therefore contributes to the limited academic and practical study of HE in Central
Asia by offering a new perspective on contemporary global challenges in HE administration and man-
agement. The key findings are relevant to organisations seeking to understand the context of working
in the HE sector in Kyrgyzstan, and also to individuals and organisations wishing to deepen their com-
parative understanding of HE sectors around the world.
Keywords: Kyrgyzstan; Central Asia; higher education
It may surprise readers to discover that Kyrgyzstan has a
flourishing higher education (HE) sector, with more
universities (52) per head than countries with similar
populations, such as Denmark (8), Finland (14) and
(although not, post-2014 referendum, an independent
country) Scotland (19). Kyrgyzstan is also a major
regional importer of international students in Central
Asia, hosting more than 40% of all international stu-
dents studying in Central Asia. These international
students come mainly from other Central Asian
countries but also from South Asia (particularly Paki-
stan and India), Turkey (where there is a great deal of
linguistic similarity) and, increasingly, neighbouring
China (Jenish 2012).
In total, the number of students in Kyrgyzstan grew
from just over 58,000 at the fall of the Soviet Union in
1991 to over 200,000 in 2006 (Roberts 2010). That
number is even higher today, indicating that most insti-
tutions are fairly small in size. As Roberts notes, the
expansion in participation in HE is not unique to Kyr-
gyzstan or Central Asia:
like young people in most other world regions
today, Central Asian youth are remaining in edu-
cation partly due to ‘push’ factors (the absence of
jobs for teenage labour market entrants) and
partly due to ‘pull’ factors (the hope that
further qualifications will lead to labour market
rewards) ....(2010, 541)
Yet despite the impressively high number of HE
institutions in Kyrgyzstan, this is not viewed in the
country as a uniformly positive good. In fact, President
Atambayev used a speech on the country’s Day of
Knowledge (1 September, coinciding with the start
of the new school year) to criticise what he perceives
to be a lowering in the quality of HE as exemplified
Emma Sabzalieva FAUA, is an experienced and
innovative HE professional with significant experience of
working in a variety of HE settings in the UK and
internationally. She is currently College Registrar at St
Antony’s College and has previously worked in a range
of other roles at the University of Oxford; the Institute of
Education, University of London; and the University of
Central Asia. In addition to her career in university
administration, Emma
researches HE, society and
politics in post-Soviet Central
Asia. Address for
correspondence: St Antony’s
College, University of Oxford,
Woodstock Road, Oxford
OX2 6JF, UK. Email: emma.
#2015 Taylor & Francis
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through the growth in the number of institutions and
lack of graduate preparedness (Shamshiev 2014). The
Education Minister has been directed to review both
the number of universities and their effectiveness
(Bengard 2014).
This article takes as its starting point the 1990s tran-
sition from the highly planned and centralised era of
education policy under the Soviet Union to a policy
and context defined by Kyrgyzstan becoming an inde-
pendent country. The article has three parts. First,
given that Kyrgyzstan is in general little known and
studied, it provides a brief analysis of developments in
HE since 1991. This sets the context for the subsequent
section, which summarises the main observations and
findings of primary research undertaken with university
managers in Kyrgyzstan in 2014, thereby offering a
snapshot of four personal views of life on the HE coal-
face. Finally, the article identifies five key contempor-
ary challenges of working in Kyrgyz universities
drawn from the empirical research and the findings of
these original qualitative interviews.
A literature review drawing on contemporary news
articles, development agency reports and the little aca-
demic literature that is available on HE in Central Asia
provides the data for background information about
Kyrgyzstan and its HE sector. This section also draws
on the author’s blog on HE and contemporary
society in Central Asia.
There is almost no academic work in either English
or Russian
about HE administration/management in
Central Asia, which makes it similar to the UK and
other English-speaking sectors where this element of
university life remains understudied (Gander, Moyes,
and Sabzalieva 2014). More generally, research on HE
in Central Asia remains markedly underdeveloped
and although there is a growing body of literature
addressing the importance of tertiary education on
development, this mostly relates to sub-Saharan
Africa and South and South-East Asia (Oketch,
McCowan, and Schendel 2014).
The primary research for this article took the form of
four face-to-face interviews with senior university
managers at HE institutions in the capital Bishkek.
Given the lack of literature in this area, the high-level
aim of this empirical research was exploratory in
nature, aiming to find out more about how universities
are organised and managed in Kyrgyzstan. The inter-
views were semi-structured, in that there were a pre-
pared set of questions/themes, but there was also
flexibility for the interviews to be guided by the interest
and opinion of the interviewees. This method can
often uncover new or unexpected information,
which was important to an initial study like this one.
Interviews were secured through personal contacts
that the author has maintained and developed since
working in the region a decade ago. Two interviews
were undertaken in English and two in Russian.
From Soviet to independent HE
Like the other Central Asian countries, Kyrgyzstan was
part of the Soviet Union until declaring independence
in 1991. As a consequence of Soviet education policies,
the country maintains near universal levels of literacy
and great respect and support for education. Develop-
ment of HE across the Soviet Union accelerated after
the Second World War with the expectation that stu-
dents would continue to HE to qualify in specialisms
that would help reconstruct and develop the
economy (Shpakovskaia 2007).
A number of changes and challenges have arisen for
HE in Kyrgyzstan since the fall of the Soviet Union,
which can be summarised as follows:
.Education policy is no longer funded and decided by
.Public expenditure on HE is low, especially com-
pared with the overall education budget;
.The specialisms taught in each country have now
become disaggregated from local production needs
(this used to be centrally coordinated);
.Pedagogy relying on MarxistLeninist traditions
has lost legitimacy, but no single philosophy has
replaced it;
.Market reforms have led to the rapid growth of a
private HE sector as well as greater prevalence of
tuition fees and other cost-sharing measures;
.Cross-border educational networks have broken
.Academics face lower salaries and job security, and
greater levels of professional alienation;
.However, there continues to be high levels of
demand for HE.
HE in twenty-first century
Kyrgyzstan is the first parliamentarian state in Central
Asia and currently making progress towards democracy
following parliamentary elections in October 2010
(Collins 2011). Despite low trust levels in political lea-
dership, frequent protests and periodic ethnic and
border tensions with neighbouring Uzbekistan and Taji-
kistan, it is the most open country in Central Asia in pol-
itical terms (see e.g. ‘Politics in Kyrgyzstan’, 2012).
Thirty per cent of the population of 5.7 million
were aged under 15 in 2013, a young nation with
good prospects for transition into the many HE insti-
tutions noted in the introduction. Kyrgyzstan has high
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expectations for education and steady participation
rates 41% in 2011, compared to 21% across all
lower-middle-income countries. One hundred and
twenty-four women enrol in tertiary level education
for every 100 men, which is also higher than the
average for lower-middle-income countries where
there are 106 women for every 100 men (World
Overall HE policy is oriented towards improving
quality. Until the most recent assessment in 2012, it
was the only Central Asian country to have participated
in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-oper-
ation and Development)-run Programme for Inter-
national Student Assessment (PISA), demonstrating a
commitment by the government to assessing educational
levels and development at international standards. The
government has increased investment in HE, for
example, beginning the process – like in Kazakhstan
of making the system more compatible with the
Bologna Process.
However, in the 2009 PISA assess-
ment, the country was ranked last out of all participating
countries for maths, science and reading (Hou 2011).
The poor result of the PISA assessment must be set
against the context of recent political challenges, but
nevertheless indicates that the sector needs to be mod-
ernised and managed more efficiently, primarily by the
Ministry of Education and Science but also by univer-
sities themselves. The post-PISA report also rec-
ommends that quality be improved, which will be
complicated by the growth in the private sector HE
market. Amsler notes that the shift towards non-state-
funded HE has led to ‘extremely uneven educational
“markets” in which academically weak but wealthy stu-
dents can purchase university places and competent but
poor students are excluded from higher education
altogether’ (2008, 119).
The state retains a strong role in HE in Kyrgyzstan,
both through direct control of state-funded universities
and by the regulation of private institutions. Intervie-
wees for this article commented particularly on the
state’s intervention in the curriculum, primarily
through a quality assurance regime, a recent accredita-
tion initiative and frequent new directives concerning
HE. That said, in a recent report comparing Central
Asian countries, Soltys reported that ‘Kyrgyzstan has
made the most significant attempts to reform its edu-
cation, though the country’s poverty allows it little
capacity for change’ (2014, 11).
University managers in
Kyrgyzstan: four case studies
The main findings of each of the four case studies are
presented below, the aim being to personalise a
setting that will be unfamiliar to most through a brief
description of the interviewee’s reflections on
working in HE in a Kyrgyz university.
Case study 1
Case study 1 is currently Director of the School of Pro-
fessional and Continuing Education in a post-Soviet,
private university. She has always worked in HE insti-
tutions although her first degree was in engineering.
The interviewee defines herself as an academic
although she does both academic and administrative
work. Case study 1 reported natural tensions between
academic and administrative staff, whether this is
because a person cannot be expert in all areas or
because information does not flow well enough
between academic and administrative departments.
Case study 1 noted that during the Soviet Union,
there was strong state control over the administration
of universities, for example, in defining the student
teacher or space student ratio. Much of this has con-
tinued in the post-Soviet era (1991date) which is
why she believes that university management is
already quite clearly defined and managed by the
The interviewee says that it is not common to stay in
the same employment sector in Kyrgyzstan although
generally not through individual choice. Research by
her university in 2009 showed that people in Kyrgyz-
stan change career path four times during their
working life, particularly in the post-independence
period. This is due to changing economic and political
priorities and the closing of state companies. The inter-
viewee believes that this trend will continue into the
Case study 2
Case study 2 is Head of the Inter-agency educational
cooperation unit in a post-Soviet, intergovernmental
(joint Russian Kyrgyz) state university. She has
worked for the university since it opened in 1993,
having been headhunted from another HE institution
where she had been a lecturer for 20 years.
The interviewee felt that she had progressed in her
career as far as she wanted to; she reported that her
career was not foremost in her life, but that a job she
can do well and enjoy doing was more important.
Case study 2 noted that when she first joined the
university, she attempted to combine teaching with
her administrative role, but that owing to the frequency
of business trips she needed to undertake, she decided
to drop the teaching element. Although in hindsight
she felt that this was the wrong decision, she nonethe-
less takes pride in her role and feels that her academic
background makes her role easier as she can understand
academics. She described some of the projects she
manages as academic related, such as organising
summer schools for Russian-language teachers, so a
certain element of hybridity was clearly something
she valued.
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Case study 3
Case study 3 is Pro-Rector (Curriculum) in a Soviet
era, state university. He knows his institution well,
having been a student there himself and having then
re-joined and stayed with the university from a junior
academic position. He reached his current position, a
wide-ranging role covering everything from introdu-
cing a module rating system to initiating online distance
education, through internal promotion.
Case study 3’s role is considered an administrative
post and is part of the Rectorate. He also continues
with his academic work and continues to supervise stu-
dents. The interviewee felt strongly that he has an obli-
gation to continue his research and continue to develop
the next generation of researchers.
The interviewee confirmed that at least a doctorate
(or better, Doctor of Science
) would be required to
progress to a senior administrative post and to be
accepted as a senior member of an academic commu-
nity. Without a doctorate, his view was that one
would at most be able to progress to Deputy Dean or
possibly even Dean of a department, but possibly
higher in a non-curricular role such as international
affairs. He considers the administrative roles at his uni-
versity to be in the Rectorate, Human Resources,
International Affairs and Finance.
Case study 4
Case study 4 was at the time of the interview the
Vice-President for Academic Affairs for a small
English language post-Soviet private university. In
October 2014, the interviewee was appointed to the
national government as Deputy Minister for Edu-
cation and Science.
As with case study 3, this inter-
viewee’s links with her institution were longstanding,
although in this case the interviewee had progressed
up in the institution by obtaining experience at
other organisations.
Case study 4 explained that her move up from Head
of Department to Vice-President was not considered
unusual as the university is such a young institution.
Her role as Vice-President for Academic Affairs
encompasses the student career from recruitment to
graduation, incorporating the Registry, Admissions,
Timetabling/Exams, Human Resources, Library, the
Central Asian Studies Institute, and the Continuing
Education Department.
During the interview, case study 4 admitted that she
felt that she had hit a ceiling at her current university,
but said that she would not want to move to another
university in Bishkek because of her university’s
uniqueness and owing to corruption in other insti-
tutions which she felt negatively about. She had been
planning to stay in her role for a couple of years, but
it looks like she was once again enticed to move early
with the offer from the government.
Contemporary challenges of
working in universities in
Drawing on findings from the interviews with the case
studies, five key challenges emerged. These are ident-
ified below, as are some of the potential challenges
and opportunities these create, both for policy-
makers in Kyrgyzstan and for practitioners and insti-
tutions seeking to build or deepen links with the HE
sector in Kyrgyzstan.
To be a senior university administrator,
one needs an academic background
This does not necessarily mean that one has pursued an
academic career before switching to a senior adminis-
trative role as case study 1 showed, but in general
there was a strong sense that to have credibility in a
senior university role, one needs to have an academic
background. Case study 2 argued the case for those
without an academic background, noting that skills/
experience such as financial management or commer-
cialisation can be transferred over to HE, but also felt
that those with experience in HE would stand a
better chance of progressing than those who come in
from other sectors. And as case study 3 notes, it
would be difficult to progress to a very senior role
without a doctorate. This finding has similarities with
attitudes towards becoming a vice-chancellor in the
UK (Gander,Moyes, and Sabzalieva 2014), although
in the British setting there is greater recognition of pro-
fessional qualifications for senior roles in areas such as
finance or human resources.
As the debate on the quality of HE progresses, one
implication could be that the government also turns
its attention to the quality and level of training of uni-
versity managers. Rather than this necessarily being
about the academic credentials, this discussion could
be focused instead on the types of skills needed to
reach senior roles. In this sense, there is an opportunity
for providers of courses in areas such as HE manage-
ment and public sector finances to create a market in
Kyrgyzstan, either to offer such courses (probably at
the graduate level) in-country themselves or through
local partners, or by attracting university managers to
study in the university’s home setting. Case study 4
highlighted the difference this can make when describ-
ing how the University’s Director of Financial Aid was
promoted after completing a Master’s degree in HE
administration in the UK.
Senior university administrators are not
being recognised as ‘blended’
Case study 4 says that she is a blended professional
because she chose to be one by continuing with
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research and advising students. Although only one of
the interviewees specifically referred to herself as
blended professional, all four could easily be described
as such. In her study of third space professionals in the
UK, US and Australian settings, Whitchurch identified
a growing number of staff who are being ‘recruited to
dedicated appointments that spanned both professional
and academic domains’ (2008, 384). Such roles com-
monly work on projects that span a mix of what
might previously have been undertaken either by an
academic colleague or by an administrator. Whitchurch
offers examples such as regional partnerships, student
well-being and academic/professional practice.
Research from Eastern Europe suggests that man-
agers feel frustration at the lack of institutional recog-
nition for their work and may consider leaving the
sector for business roles (Nastase, n.d.). As only one
of the four interviewees self-identified as a blended
professional, it would be unwise to assume that the
same frustration is present among Kyrgyz university
managers, but there is an important point here about
recognition. All four of the case studies gave examples
of working well beyond the scope of their job descrip-
tions and demonstrated their commitment to teaching
and research as well as to their administrative roles.
Some, such as case study 2, expressed regret at
having had to make the choice between an academic
or an administrative role. It could therefore be
argued that reframing senior roles in universities to
acknowledge these boundary spanning functions
could not only serve to formally recognise that
blended roles do exist, but could also enable those in
the roles to justify their academic work rather than
thinking of it as an ‘add-on’ to their administrative
The concept of a career in university
administration is not well embedded
While the interviewees were not averse to the author’s
suggestion of the concept of a career in university
administration, their responses did not suggest that
this is a widely recognised notion or necessarily one
that could be successful. The research cited by case
study 1 on employee mobility implies that those who
begin their working life in university administration
may not necessarily continue in that sector, or that
there are particular career paths (linear or otherwise)
that could be followed.
However, case study 2 gave the example of a gradu-
ate of her university who she supported up to a deputy
manager role, and, after achieving Russian government
accreditation as a federal education expert, has moved
on to a higher position. Case study 2 also pointed to
her two deputies as possible replacements for her if
she moves on. Case study 4 also gave examples of sup-
porting more junior colleagues with career
development, but pointed out the lack of specific train-
ing programmes.
As with the points made earlier, this potentially pre-
sents an opportunity for HE institutions outside Kyr-
gyzstan to introduce specialised programmes to
develop the skills of university administrators. It could
also be argued that organisations such as the UK’s
Association of University Administrators, or the
Russian institutions that drive the Russian-language
University Management: Practice and Analysis journal,
could play a role in supporting the development of uni-
versity administration as a career in Kyrgyzstan.
There are skills gaps between potential
employees and job roles at universities
Case study 2 explained that applications to work at her
university are generally poorly completed and that
there may not be many applications for junior roles.
To counter this, she has offered voluntary work in
her office both as a means of identifying possible candi-
dates and to determine whether their work is of a suffi-
cient quality. Case study 4 similarly emphasised that her
university has to be proactive to fill vacancies and use a
variety of recruitment methods. To some extent she felt
that the lack of well-qualified candidates was caused by
the university’s very different operational structure to
that of many local universities; this university has a
structure that would be more familiar to those used
to a UK or US institution. Case study 4 commented
that many candidates simply would not have had the
opportunity to build up relevant work experience
unless they had worked abroad or were already
employed by her university.
This mismatch between the skills and preparedness
of candidates for the jobs that are available at univer-
sities is in keeping with trends seen more broadly
around the world as the concept of the ‘knowledge
economy’ embeds. In its 2012 report Skills, Not Just
Diplomas, the World Bank reported that many employ-
ers in Eastern Europe and Central Asia ‘view the lack of
necessary skills among potential workers as a major
impediment to their operations and development’
(Sondergaard and Murthi 2012, 18). Further, univer-
sities in Central Asia have been identified as not
doing enough to equip graduates for the workplace
which of course includes working in universities,
with the World Bank suggesting that they ‘must learn
to liaise better with firms, employers and past students
to build up a picture of current market conditions
(Brunner and Tillett 2007, 79). While Kyrgyz univer-
sities, according to the World Bank, have progress to
make to prepare graduates for the contemporary job
market, they are not alone, as it could be argued that
this is a common global problem. In the UK, this is
starting to be addressed through, for example, the rise
of graduate training programmes such as Ambitious
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That these challenges are being addressed
elsewhere presents universities in Kyrgyzstan with
opportunities to learn from practice in other settings
through partnerships and exchanges, or even for organ-
isations to seek to create specific training programmes
in Kyrgyzstan.
Universities may not be doing enough to
attract good candidates to administrative
Case study 1’s comment that Kyrgyz workers move
between career sectors may be attributed to the
broader context of economic and social change as
Roberts observes of post-independence Central Asia,
‘modern economies are expanding rapidly but failing
to draw in the whole population’ (2010, 539) but
are universities doing enough to make people aware
of the opportunities that exist to work in HE
It is likely that part of the problem in recruitment
and retention to university administrative roles is the
lack of acknowledgement of university administration
as a legitimate career route, and in the Kyrgyz
context, the interviewees’ experiences demonstrate
that this is further complicated by the weight placed
on academic, rather than skills-based, qualifications as
a pre-cursor to progression. Progression routes within
and between institutions are not mapped out and this
is another challenge for universities in the country to
address. A move in this direction could also, for
example, help to establish salary scales and to create a
job evaluation scheme like that created by Higher Edu-
cation Role Analysis (HERA) in the UK.
The company now running the HERA identifies
effective people management as consisting of: attract-
ing, rewarding, training, educating and empowering.
Employing these principles to jobs in Kyrgyz univer-
sities would not only make them more attractive as
workplaces that retain and value staff, but also could
help to counter the perceived benefits of working in
the rapidly growing private sector, where ‘young
people [who started their careers in the public sector]
were likely to have discovered early on that they
could achieve significantly higher earnings in the
private sector even if this meant a loss of occupational
status’ (Roberts, Kamruzzaman, and Tholen 2009, 73).
Little attention globally is paid to HE in Central Asia,
whether that be in analysing developments in the
region or through universities seeking to work in part-
nership with institutions or government in-country.
However, using Kyrgyzstan as a case study offers a fas-
cinating insight into a unique combination of
.A highly literate and educated society with continu-
ing great regard for HE but not, as you might
expect, a rich country: Kyrgyzstan is a lower-
middle-income country with 38% of the population
in poverty (World Bank databank);
.A relatively high proportion – around 18% (World
Bank databank) of the (small) national budget
spent on education yet with calls from the Head of
state downwards for reforms to known problems
of inefficiency in the sector;
.University staff successfully undertaking senior
administrative roles despite a general lack of recog-
nition for careers paths in university administration,
universities themselves not taking an active role in
attracting good candidates, and a variably skilled
pipeline of applicants into more junior roles in
These factors demonstrate why it is important to
understand the specific context of Kyrgyzstan, yet it is
equally important to understand that much of what
has happened in HE in the country since 1991 has
also been played out in HE sectors around the world,
from the debate about blended professionals to con-
cerns about graduates’ lack of skills. As such, perhaps
Kyrgyzstan is not so unknown, after all.
I extend my warm thanks to the participants for their
willingness to be interviewed, and to Norma Jo
Baker and in particular to Jyldyz Doolbekova for
their assistance in identifying participants.
Disclosure statement
No potential conflict of interest was reported by the
This research was supported by the Joan Balchin Mem-
orial Travel Fund, and I am grateful to the trustees for
their support.
2. Russian is widely used as a language for state and inter-agency communi-
cation in Central Asia owing to the countries’ shared Soviet past, but the
official language in Kyrgyzstan is Kyrgyz. Knowledge of English is increas-
ing but is not widespread.
4. Doctor of Science in the for mer Soviet system is a higher doctoral deg ree,
comparable to the habilitation qualification offered in some countries.
5., accessed on 24 November
6., accessed on 3 December 2014.
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7. Source:, accessed on 17 January 2015.
8. For comparison, Russia has an 11% poverty rate and Kazakhstan is at 2.9%.
Amsler, S. 2008. “Higher Education Reform in Kyrgyzstan: The Politics of
Neoliberal Agendas in Theory and Practice.” In Structure and Agency in
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... Despite the recent attention given to higher education in Asia due to its rapid expansion of enrolment rates, institutional growth and change, internationalization drive, and knowledge outputs, Asian higher education systems remain mostly understudied (e. g., Sabzalieva, 2015). The same can be said of Asian higher education research and its communities, which continue to be underrepresented in the international higher education literature (Atkinson, 2013). ...
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Studies of higher education by scholars based in Asia have been growing in volume, following worldwide trends. To a large extent, this growth has been driven by East Asian countries, but little is known about the characteristics of the contribution of these countries. This study analyses their overall and specific contribution. The paper concludes that systemic development and its internationalization, have different impacts on trends towards international publication of higher education research and on the collaborative networks nurtured and developed in each East Asian country. The main finding is that these countries present different realities in terms of engagement in internationally focused higher education literature among their national research communities. Yet, each country has made a wide-ranging contribution to international higher education research literature over time; each has a potentially decisive role in the further integration and development of higher education research in Asia over the coming years; and also, possibly , in the development of a regional higher education system.
... They also have to cover the fees that public schools increasingly demand as "voluntary" services, e.g. to carry out renovations (Abdoubaetova, 2019). Families are important as well when it comes to paying for private universities, and also for covering the sometimes considerable fees of state universities (Braunmiller, 2016;Sabzalieva, 2015). Young people are also extremely poorly integrated into the labor market and no support is available for job placement or career counseling except at best through family members (The Ministry of Youth Affairs in the Kyrgyz Republic & UNICEF, 2011, p. 36). ...
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The paper focuses on the question of how young people in the post-Soviet country of Kyrgyzstan deal with the structural and cultural demands of a society characterized by strong obligations of intergenerational solidarity and the normative pattern of submission under the authority of elders. Based on three preponderantly qualitative empirical studies on kindergarten children, teenagers and young adults, young people’s commitment to that order is mapped out, defining their reasons for acceptance on the one hand and the limits of their acceptance on the other hand. Concerning the latter, a special focus is laid on processes of the “self” as well as notions of a “generation gap”. We can then deduce what the hierarchical age order means for the well-being of young people.
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У статті аналізується розвиток вищої освіти в Україні з урахуванням історичних, геополітичних та соціально-економічних факторів. Авторка стверджує, що ці чинники визначають траєкторію розвитку сучасної освіти у державі. Реформи вищої освіти аналізуються у контексті двох основних джерел впливу: європейської регіоналізації та успадкованих від Радянського Союзу структур у системі освіти. Особлива увага приділяється Болонському процесу, європейській освітній ініціативі зі стандартизації вищої освіти. Радянські організаційні та адміністративні принципи окреслені та проаналізовані як другий за потужністю вплив, який визначає унікальний освітній напрям України. У результаті короткого огляду реформ системи вищої освіти було визначено основні відмінності у правовому середовищі протягом 1996-2014 років. Реформи у сфері освіти цього періоду розглядаються з точки зору Болонського процесу, серії добровільних угод між країнами Європи про створення спільного Європейського простору вищої освіти для збереження впливу та конкурентоспроможності регіону. Думки щодо європейських освітніх реформ набувають різноманітних форм: від безумовної підтримки (єврофільська) до повного неприйняття (єврофобна). Такі дискусії свідчать про ширше розуміння українським суспільством освітніх проблем у державі. Авторка стверджує, що занепокоєння громадськості з приводу започаткованих Болонським процесом реформ спричинене суттю самих реформ, станом української освітньої системи та її основоположними принципами, стереотипним ставленням суспільства до реформ та нестабільною політичною ситуацією у країні.
Western scholarship on the foreign policies of the post-Soviet Central Asian states has consistently framed the region as marginalized but ripe for Great Power influence and poised to assume a more important role in world affairs. This article explores the analytical assumptions, institutional agendas, and geopolitical drivers of scholarly and policy portrayals of Central Asia, emphasizing the key role played by the Western military intervention in Afghanistan in 2001 and the region’s supporting role as logistics providers and security partners. The ensuing local and regional reactions to this intensifying securitization prompted International Relations scholars to explore the limits of Western governance and the liberal international order in Central Asia and highlight the rise of new counter-ordering norms, organizations and networks. This body of work has made important contributions to the now growing literature on post-Western International Relations, but still excludes the voices of many Central Asian scholars themselves and overlooks important regional topics and new analytical approaches.
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Over the last 25 years, Europe’s strategic efforts to retain its significance in higher education have resulted in the Bologna Process – the largest and most influential initiative affecting the higher education systems of 49 countries, including Ukraine. Despite extensive research on Ukrainian educational reforms in the context of the Bologna Process, the university governance transformation has received little attention in the relevant literature and minimal empirical support. This study sought a comprehensive understanding of how the Bologna Process influenced the governance of Ukrainian public universities. Ukrainian universities deserve particular attention to their reorganization efforts because their unique positions are determined by specific historical, political, and socio-economic realities in Ukraine. Using a qualitative case study methodology, I investigated how the Bologna Process had transformed university governance in three Ukrainian universities: National Aviation University, Ternopil Volodymyr Hnatiuk National Pedagogical University, and Zhytomyr Ivan Franko State University. I examined challenges to, supports for, and implications of university governance transformation. Through document analysis and individual interviews with senior university administrators, I identified six themes in the collected data: the Bologna Process and its implementation, university autonomy, university collective governance, the increasing role of internationalization, marketization of higher education, and reconceptualizing national identity. The interpretation of these themes allowed me to distinguish decentralizing higher education governance inherited from the Soviet times and responding to European regionalization policies as two directions of university governance reforms. These directions were recognized as attempts to step away from the Soviet inherent governing practices, such as highly centralized educational governance and the Soviet relative isolation from the world, towards more open and democratic policies of the European Higher Education Area. The two contesting influences of Soviet legacies and the Bologna Process caused both the change and inertia of Ukrainian university governance. This study is a timely investigation of Ukrainian university governance transformation, for it advances our understanding of European regionalization and its impact on higher education governance in former socialist countries. The findings from the study are relevant to policy-makers within Ukraine and internationally, as they shed light on Ukrainian public universities’ inner workings, guiding policies, and decision-making processes. APA: Zakharchuk, N. (2021). Transforming university governance in the context of the Bologna Process: A case study of Ukrainian higher education. (Doctoral Dissertation). Retrieved from University of Saskatchewan Library,
In his article “In Search of the Global East: Thinking between North and South”, Martin Müller offers a number of radical, although not new, insights on the role that post-socialist states presumably play in the modern world, as well as their perception, and the production of knowledge about themselves in these countries. This article is a response to Müller’s text and a reflection on the historiography of Central Asia, an integral part of the “Global East”. In the first part of this text, we analyze Müller’s own approach and explain why it is problematic from a historical point of view. In the second part, we focus on the production of “external” and “internal” knowledge about Central Asia and propose another paradigm labeled as “tactical essentialism”, which we believe best describes the production of historical narratives in the region at the moment. Despite the differences between the two concepts, it seems to us that “strategic” and “tactical” essentialism are essentially manifestations of the same process, namely, the attempts to oust the Soviet past from the ethos of post-socialist researchers (or replace it with other narratives).
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This paper contextualizes the development of Ukrainian higher education in broad historical, geopolitical, and socio-economic realities. The author argues that these realities determine the current Ukrainian education trajectory. Higher education reforms in Ukraine are analyzed in the context of two major influences: European regionalization and inherited Soviet structures in education. Particular focus is placed on the Bologna Process, the European education initiative to standardize higher education in Europe. Soviet organizational and administrative principles are outlined and analyzed as the second influence that determines Ukraine’s unique educational developments. A brief overview of higher education reforms in Ukraine notes the distinctive changes in the legal framework between 1996 and 2014. Ukrainian education reforms within this period are viewed from the perspective of the Bologna Process, a series of voluntarily agreements between European countries to establish a common European Higher Education Area to retain the regions’ influence and competitiveness. Contesting voices regarding the European-associated education reforms range from unquestionable support (Europhiliac) to absolute rejection (Europhobic). Such contesting voices reflect the Ukrainian society’s broader understanding of its complex educational challenges. The author argues that public concerns about reforms in Ukraine initiated with the Bologna Process, originate in the nature of the reforms, the Ukrainian educational system and its foundational principles, public stereotyping of the reforms, and the unstable political situation in the country.
Technical Report
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This evidence brief summarises the findings from a rigorous review conducted by Oketch, McCowan and Schendel (2014), entitled \"The impact of tertiary education on development\". The review aims to assess the evidence linking tertiary education (TE) to a wide range of economic and human development outcomes in low- and lower-middle-income countries (LLMICs). The review found that the returns to tertiary education (TE) have been underestimated. TE appears to contribute substantially to both human and economic development in LLMICs.
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The University of Central Asia (UCA) was founded in 2000 by the governments of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Tajikistan, and by His Highness the Aga Khan, with the aim of offering an internationally recognized standard of higher education in Central Asia and of producing knowledgeable, skilled, and creative graduates who will contribute leadership, ideas, and innovations to the transitioning economies and communities of the region. Campuses are located in the mountain communities of Khorog (Tajikistan), Naryn (Kyrgyz Republic), and Tekeli (Kazakhstan). UCA's mission is to promote the socioeconomic development of Central Asia's mountain societies, while at the same time helping the diverse peoples of the region to preserve and draw upon their rich cultural traditions and heritages as assets for the future.
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This article argues that Central Asian youth share more commonalities than differences vis-à-vis young people in other ex-Communist countries. The common features include high rates of unemployment and under-employment, associated poverty and a propensity to become pendulum migrants. Meanwhile, as elsewhere, rates of participation in higher education have risen spectacularly in parts of Central Asia. Central Asia has been part of a global trend towards later marriages and lower rates of fertility, although the region's young people still tend to marry earlier and parent more children than in other parts of the ex-USSR. As elsewhere, Central Asian youth have lost most of the provisions for leisure activities formerly offered by state and Communist Party organizations. These have been replaced by relatively patchy provisions by NGOs, and commercial facilities that are beyond the means of most young people. The article argues that the most distinctive feature of youth in Central Asia is citizenship in newly independent states with no prior history of statehood, hence their difficulties in achieving a collective identity. This has created a metaphorical market place in identities. What young people share with youth throughout East-Central Europe and Eurasia is a dominant personal aspiration; namely, to join their countries' new middle classes.
This qualitative analysis describes the socialist legacy in the governance of higher education within the former Soviet-led member countries that entered the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) between 2001 and 2010. In joining the EHEA these countries signed on for the Bologna Process (BP), but are not members of the European Union. The analysis is based on EHEA BP Country Reports and a survey of Western academic literature and sources from the former-socialist region. It is argued that ministries of education are little engaged with academic and civic communities, in large part because policymakers underestimate the depth of the cultural and institutional changes that are necessary for educational reforms. Therefore, deep convergence of the new signatory countries to the EHEA via the BP has not occurred. Concurrently, West European measures intended to empower educational communities operate perversely in the post-socialist region, characterised by low civic and state capacities. The over-emphasis on bureaucratic checks and controls negates two important aspirations of Bologna: on the one side, university autonomy, empowerment of faculty, and development of local communities; and on the other side, the free flow of international knowledge. Without an adjustment of policies, the prospects for effective reforms are dimmed.