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The full version of Alan France interview

"First entrepreneurial" - the university for future businessmen is planned to open in Tashkent. The full version of Alan Franz's interview, which was published on spot.uz
Higher education in Uzbekistan for the last 25 years has faced the need to adapt and develop in the context of decentralization and globalization. The main challenge has been the highly centralized nature of the system, with control by responsible ministries. This has limited the development of diversified curricula, the emergence of new teaching methods, and the penetration of modern technologies into education. The emergence of international universities such as Westminster, Inha, etc. provided an opportunity to see how the development of new processes in higher education could benefit the country as a whole. The adopted concept implies a focus on the introduction of programs for teaching critical thinking, independent learning, use of virtual systems, etc. From my point of view, the main challenge facing the ministry and other agencies involved today is the need to bring the pace of actual introduction of changes in line with those outlined in the documents. Qualitative changes are needed in terms of greater autonomy not only for public universities, but also for new players. It is important to liberalize the thinking of university management. The ability to develop our own curricula and courses taking into account their subsequent implementation is a trend that we see worldwide. I am sure that the reduction of centralized regulation by the ministry will allow to provide better and more qualitative education - after all, independence and the ability to influence their own future will also bring responsibility.

This responsibility will force a change in management style in universities. Through transparent processes, all stakeholders - students, parents, employers - will not only feel confident in the quality of education, but will also be able to directly participate in its provision and promotion.

Quality in higher education means not only the relevance of programs on the market, but also the future sustainability of the university, i.e. it is necessary to consider the development of research potential, the development of autonomy already within the university.

Universities should see the fact that research, including the involvement of external partners, is an integral part of ensuring a high level of teaching for all categories of students, from undergraduate to postgraduate.

One of the key targets for the development of the higher education system is to increase the level of accessibility from 20% (although in reality this figure is much lower) to 50% by 2030. In this regard, it is of great concern that as the number of higher education institutions increases, so does the cost of maintaining the entire system. Thus, the critical issue is not only the increase in coverage, but also the nature of funding and who pays for it.

In many developed countries this issue is addressed through the commercialization of relationships with students, loans and other forms of financing. Although this is not always the best way - for example, in the United States, where the funding system is highly developed - there are increasing questions about the return on 'investment' - the transformation of education into real income once graduates are employed. In the UK, too, with the relative prevalence of education lending instruments, the issue of the value of education in employment is becoming more and more relevant.

Thus the effect of raising the cost of education is doubling - on the one hand, universities raise more funds for development, on the other hand, transparency and quality of education are becoming more transparent - students are demanding more for their money.

Once again, paradoxically, the increase in the cost of education leads not only to an improvement in the sustainability of the university, but also to an improvement in quality. Thus, the quality of education is regulated by students themselves through market mechanisms. This leads to a reorientation from the regulatory nature of the functioning of ministries to focusing on improving "client experience" through the introduction of assessment tools not only for students, but also for teaching with the introduction of developed university ranking systems. In the end, it is beneficial to all.

Thus, the freedom of private education should improve the quality of education, as it will allow universities to be more competitive and increase their freedom to determine the most efficient use of funds.

In conclusion, I would like to note that the independence of educational institutions actually ensures greater responsibility, and therefore better quality education.
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