On 20 May 2011 The University of Central Asia’s School of Professional and Continuing Education (UCA SPCE) Naryn building was officially opened by Akylbek Japarov, Member of Parliament and Head of Finance and Budget Committee together with Vice Governor of Naryn Oblast Emilbek Alymkulov. Also present were Aga Khan Development Network Representative Nurjehan Mawani and UCA Director General Dr. Bohdan Krawchenko, French Ambassador Thibaut Fourriere, and Koba Gvenatadze, International Monetary Fund Resident Representative.
The 3,000m2 building faces a 2,300m2 park developed by UCA for the citizens of Naryn. The new building is equipped with state-of-the-art learning technologies, two computer laboratories, four classrooms, and a 7,476-volume library. The School has become a leading provider of adult and continuing education in Kyrgyz Republic. Programmes offered at SPCE are benchmarked against international standards and delivered by instructors with international qualifications. SPCE-Naryn is a registered IT Microsoft Academy, a registered Center for the International Computer Driving License in computer literacy, and a registered centre of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industries International Qualifications.
After the traditional bread and salt and ribbon-cutting ceremony, the 80 guests were given a tour of the building. They then witnessed SPCE Naryn’s 3rd graduation ceremony where 100 learners received certificates in programmes ranging from Accounting Technology; English for Business; Information Technology; Guide and Entrepreneurship programmes, Technical Vocational Education and Training programmes, and professional development certificates for secondary teachers and veterinarians.
“This is a special occasion for the University of Central Asia and the people of Naryn,” said Dr Bohdan Krawchenko, Director General of the University of Central Asia. “This purpose-built facility will enable us to better serve the needs of the community for adult and continuing education. We are proud of the 100 SPCE learners graduating today and the 9,000 learners who have passed through our learning system since 2006.”
According to an SPCE alumni survey, 56 per cent attributed their studies as the factor that enabled them to increase their income and secure better jobs. In addition, 11 per cent started or expanded their business as a result of SPCE courses.
“Seventy percent of our training is devoted to hands-on experience at construction companies which allows us to earn wages while pursuing our qualifications. Currently, I am working at the UCA main campus construction site and following my graduation will continue working with UCA,” said Ulan Narynbekov who is studying Bricklaying and Masonry at SPCE.
As of 2010, SPCE graduates (at all locations) had established some 45 new businesses, including two construction companies. Entrepreneurship programmes in Naryn will be bolstered by the establishment of an enterprise development fund by UCA-SPCE at the Kyrgyz Investment and Credit Bank (KICB). The fund, started with a $25,000 grant provided by the Norwegian government, is to be augmented by other contributions. This fund will offer low interest loans to graduates of the entrepreneurship programme who have viable business plans.
Highlights of the ceremony included a videolog featuring SPCE Naryn’s history and interviews with staff, learners and alumni, and a virtual tour of the future UCA Naryn campus, scheduled to begin construction in 2012.
Following the ceremony, graduates, community members, and guests attended a reception, followed by a cultural performance by the Kyrgyz Music Centre ‘Ustatshakirt’ whose main mission is to preserve and develop Kyrgyz musical heritage through the traditional system of knowledge and skills transfer.
Profile of SPCE Graduate
Meerim Bektemirova, Accounting Technology Certificate (ATC) Programme
After completing her studies at Kyrgyz-Turkish Manas University, Meerim Bektemirova moved to Dubai to manage merchandising and sales for GF Ferre clothing. When she returned to the Kyrgyz Republic in 2009, she decided to pursue a different career.
“I studied tourism at University,” said Meerim, who is originally from Naryn. “When I returned home, I wanted to learn more about accounting technology, so I enrolled in SPCE’s ATC programme.” Meerim appreciated SPCE’s style of teaching. “I particularly enjoyed the simple and clear method of teaching accounting skills, financial reporting, computer skills, tax and law,” said Meerim. After completing the ATC certificate programme in 2009, Meerim was hired by Mol Bulak Finance as a cashier operator.
Meerim, 27, is now employed at the Kyrgyz Investment and Credit Bank (KICB) in Naryn. As a credit officer, she works in nearby villages to help individuals access and develop credit. Meerim said the ATC programme “was very useful for my work at KICB – it helped me understand balances, cash flow, and cross-checking.”
Ainura Abdyrasulova, Accounting and Information Technology Programmes
Ainura first enrolled at SPCE in 2009. “I used to be an accountant, but I left in 2003 to raise my children,” she said. “When I decided to return to work, it was difficult for me to find a job because I didn’t have computer skills.”
Ainura then applied to SPCE and took short-term courses in Microsoft Excel and Word. After completion, Aichuk-Aichuk, a microcredit finance organisation, hired Ainura as an accountant.
Ainura returned to SPCE later that year to complete the accounting programme. “The programme information was most useful, and the quality of education was also very good,” she said. “The technology and resources available here at SPCE are similar to international standards available elsewhere.” In January 2010, Aichuk-Aichuk promoted Ainura to Senior Accountant. In her new position, she is responsible for calculating loan percentages and facilitating credit access in Naryn Oblast.
Mataibek Baltakunov, Technical and Vocational Education Programme
Mataibek Baltakunov enrolled in the bricklaying course in 2008, one of three trade programmes offered as part of SPCE Naryn’s Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme. For Mataibek, the programme provided an opportunity to learn an in-demand skill. “It was very useful for me to study bricklaying because it’s very important nowadays. I enjoy the work, so that’s why I decided to enrol in the programme,” he said.
Mataibek is currently employed by SN-3, a Bishkek-based construction company. As captain of a crew of 12, Mataibek is responsible for overseeing work in settings, plastering, bonding, and tile glazing. Mataibek, 23, will soon complete his certificate in bricklaying, and he plans to pursue a position as a construction foreman. “I didn’t work in construction before, but I’m very happy,” he said. Although he lives in Bishkek, he returns to Naryn often to visit his parents and seven siblings. Mataibek hopes to participate in the building of UCA’s Naryn campus when construction commences in 2012.
Elzada Mangeldieva, Guide Training Programme
A graduate of Naryn State University, Elzada used to spend her university summer breaks working as a computer services operator in Bishkek. After graduating in 2010, she moved back to Naryn and decided to enrol at SPCE.
Elzada, 23, completed the Guide Training programme at SPCE in 2010. She was then hired by Naryn Construction Service, a construction business started by graduates from SPCE Naryn’s TVET programme. As a human resources assistant, Elzada manages employee documentation and completes translations. She also serves as an interpreter and guide for guests visiting from Bishkek and other parts of the country. SPCE Naryn has employed Naryn Construction Service to complete fencing around the new SPCE building.
“SPCE helped me develop very useful skills,” said Elzada. “When I was studying at university, I was only studying English in the classroom. After SPCE, I began to work in construction, which helped me develop vocabulary and accounting skills that are necessary for my job.”