By Muzaffar Djalalov (Rector of Inha University in Tashkent)
The following article and pictures were provided by the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Seoul for publication by The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news publications since 1985.—Ed.
Uzbekistan has entered a new level of its development, based on the Action Strategy developed by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, which is carrying out constant transformations in all spheres of society. The goal was set for Uzbekistan to enter the top 30 leading countries by 2030 according to the PISA international student assessment program.
The key to digital transformation is the “human capital” created by the education system, so the role of Universities in solving ambitious tasks can hardly be overestimated.
Inha University in Tashkent (IUT) is actively implementing a model of cooperation with Inha University in Incheon, Korea. The teaching methodology that they have been implementing over the past 8 years creates the basis for recognition of the international status of IUT in the near future. This was facilitated by the first national accreditation for compliance with the requirements for the quality of education.
The university began its activity in 2014 in two areas of study "Computer Engineering" and "Software Engineering". Since the 2016-2017 academic year, a new direction "Logistics" has been opened, to which in 2021 the direction "Business" was added.
Educational process at IUT is conducted in English according to the credit system, which allows the student, within certain limits, to individually plan the sequence of the educational trajectory. The model of such an organization of the educational process is the individualization of education, increasing the role of independent work, and increasing the mobility of students. Student progress is determined by the method of relative assessment - Grade Point Average (GPA).
Currently, more than 20 professors and specialists from the Republic of Korea, Australia, Russia, India and other foreign countries are involved in teaching 1608 of IUT students. These qualified specialists are sent annually to monitor the organization of the educational process on an ongoing basis.
The developed curricula comply with the requirements of the Accreditation Board for Engineering Education of Korea (ABEEK) and are compiled according to the credit system of education practiced in South Korea. It is worth noting that these requirements are in line with the provisions of the Washington Treaty on the Unification of Standards and Mutual Recognition of Engineering Degrees.
According to the legislation of the Republic of Korea, which was in force until May 2018, in order to obtain a diploma from a Korean educational institution, it was mandatory for foreign students to complete at least one year of study in the country. In our case, at INHA University located in Incheon. This model is called 3+1. In this regard, the first graduates of Inha University in Tashkent in the amount of 99 students who entered the University in 2014 were applied to Inha University (Republic of Korea) to study at the 4th year. This measure provided a test of our students' knowledge for compliance with the requirements of the education standards of the Republic of Korea, as well as the effectiveness of the 3 + 1 project in the future. In August 2018, the first graduation of IUT students was made as part of the 3 + 1 program in the specialties "Computer Engineering" and "Software Engineering". 85% of graduates found a job in their specialty and 15% continued their education in the master's program of universities in South Korea, USA, Germany etc.
The next step was the revision of legislation regarding the awarding of bachelor's degrees without the need to study in South Korea, which was submitted to the country's parliament for discussion. After long discussions, it was decided to establish a 4 + 0 model, which allows Korean universities to initiate large educational projects outside their country and award diplomas without the need to study in Korea.
In 2019, the second graduation of bachelors was made in the amount of 202 people, who were already experimentally trained according to the “4 + 0” model. It should be noted that this model has been repeatedly positively evaluated during the systemic monitoring of the quality of education by INHA University in Incheon. The result of the joint training of personnel in the credit-modular form of education was the awarding of the first sample diplomas issued to graduates of INHA University in Incheon.
In our opinion, IUT should become one of the centers of national science in the near future. It should not only teach students, but also conduct scientific research, and most of them should be carried out by students, undergraduates and doctoral students.
The next step towards the set goals was the launch an MBA in digital transformation program in 2021, which was organized with the participation of the INHA University of Korea. This program represents a completely new training format that combines the traditional MBA business program and information technology.
On December 16-17, 2021, within the framework of a visit to the Republic of Korea, with the rector of Inha University in Tashkent, as a member of the delegation of the Ministry for the Development of Information Technologies and Communications of the Republic of Uzbekistan, it was held a number of meetings with educational, scientific and IT organizations, during which a number of agreements were reached. On December 16 with ARAD Networks Co., Ltd., GEO 2 Technology Co., Ltd, SRPOST Co. Ltd, Global Optical Communication Co., Ltd. issues of cooperation in the field of BPO (Business Process Outsourcing), as well as issues of opening and developing the first Korean IT cluster in Uzbekistan with the support of the Ministry for the Development of Information Technologies and Communications (implementation by Inha University in Tashkent and IT Park) were discussed.
This cluster will cover the following areas: a Korean language training center, an IT educational center for training specialists in Information Technology, an incubation center and an acceleration center for the development and implementation of business start-up projects, as well as advanced training in IT. On December 17, a meeting was held with the Vice President of the Research Institute of the Republic of Korea ETRI (Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute) in Daejeon. Following the meeting, an agreement was reached to open an international research and development center on the territory of Inha University in Tashkent. Representatives of this institution conducted an excursion for the guests, demonstrating the technological potential of the institute, as well as their latest scientific developments in the field of artificial intelligence.
On the same day, the IUT rector met with the president of the INHA University of Korea. During the meeting, the following projects were discussed on which they came to final agreements for elaboration: support and assistance in providing an academic program, professors and laboratories for opening new faculties in the field of telemedicine, digital agriculture at Inha University in Tashkent.
Also, a meeting was held with representatives of the Inha Hospital (Republic of Korea). At the meeting, the parties discussed the opening of telemedicine directions at Inha University in Tashkent. Educational programs and teaching staff will be partly provided by INHA University (Korea) and Inha Hospital.
The cooperation between IUT and educational institutions of Korea is not limited only to the field of information technology. The university is actively involved in developing interest in Korean culture among the youth of Uzbekistan. So, in September 2021, the Korean language center "King Sejong Institute" was opened at Inha University. This is an educational project founded as part of the popularization of the Korean language and culture. A branch of the King Sejong Institute at Inha University in Tashkent, was organized by the Korea's INHA University and the Korea Sejong Foundation.
In general, the concept of the future successful education at Inha University in Tashkent is the development of science and innovative teaching methods. The training of in-demand specialists is based on the creation of conditions:
- introduction of modern digital technologies;
- current scientific and educational programs;
- a set of measures to further improve the infrastructure of the University.
Cooperation of countries in the field of education:
The historic state visit of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev to the Republic of Korea in November 2017 became truly large-scale. During the visit, more than 60 documents were signed in the trade, economic, investment, financial and technical fields, and agreements were reached in the field of science and education. A clear example of further strengthening cooperation between our country was the opening of popular branches of Korean universities in Uzbekistan - Yeoju, Puchon and the Uzbek-Korean International University.
Uzbekistan and South Korea are successfully implementing a number of joint strategically important large projects in various sectors of the economy, including in the field of education, information and communication technologies and others.
In April 2019, the President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae paid a return visit to Uzbekistan. As part of the stay program, it was symbolic to visit Inha University in Tashkent, where he got acquainted with the presentation of the telemedicine project in cooperation between Uzbekistan and the Republic of Korea and the modern conditions created at the University for teachers and students.
It is important to note that the President of Uzbekistan is taking consistent measures for digital development. In October 2020, a Decree was adopted to approve the "Digital Uzbekistan - 2030" Strategy. And E-government systems, the formation of a digital economy, e-commerce and others are being gradually introduced. As part of the administrative reform, there is an improvement in the public administration system, increasing its accessibility with the use of modern telecommunications infrastructure. It is planned to comprehensively study the experience of foreign countries in training personnel in the field of digital technologies, primarily the experience of Korea, as well as to ensure close interaction between interested bodies and entities in the implementation of innovative ideas. The annual meetings of our specialists at INHA University in Incheon are becoming a tradition, which leads to the implementation of the Korean IT Hub project at IUT, the transformation of the university’s electronic library into a digital one, and the presentation of bilateral partnerships in the field of scientific training to leading Korean companies.
Tashkent University of Information Technologies (TUIT) has established cooperation with many higher educational institutions and organizations in the ICT sector of South Korea, including the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Seoul National University (SNU), Yeongnam University (YU), Kyung-hee University, Information and Communications University (ICU) and others.