Kyrgyzstan is a country with almost half of its population under the age of 25, young people who are engaged in the process of finding themselves, their own position in society and the world around them, both at local and global levels. Against this background, the Institute for Youth Development (IYD) together with DVV International in Kyrgyzstan planned a number of large-scale events for 2020, which aimed at creating conditions for training young people on global citizenship and for providing education around knowledge, skills and values based on the principles of human rights, social justice, diversity, gender equality and environmental sustainability.
The relevance of digital learning as a main or additional source of knowledge is gaining special relevance in the modern world, and more so in the context of the pandemic, being the only alternative for schoolchildren and students who were forced to change their daily routine during the closure of educational institutions. Online learning platforms can help a wide array of population groups gain access to education because they are easily accessible. According to sources and statistics, the vast majority of Kyrgyzstan’s population actively uses the Internet, and the level of coverage for young people in particular is close to 100%. Recently, short educational videos and audios, especially podcasts, have been gaining great popularity among young people and adults in Kyrgyzstan.
Being forced to replan part of its activities and formats in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, IYD with the support of DVV International in Kyrgyzstan, decided to establish the Laboratory of Innovative Education in Bishkek, with the aim of increasing civic consciousness among young people through new online learning formats that meet all the requirements of today’s reality. The project includes two main components: the development of the Kyrgyz online educational platform Mozgi (Russian for “brains”), and the launch of the first recording studio for young people.
The Mozgi platform is an educational site with educational and informational audio, video and text materials in Kyrgyz and Russian (later to include Uzbek, Kazakh and Tajik). A person being trained on the platform will have the opportunity to have direct communication with the lecturer, receive additional services, and obtain a certificate after completing courses. The platform brings together IYD’s and DVV International’s goals of improving the lives of young people and promoting SDG 4: “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.
The launch of the first video and audio recording studio to support the development of online educational platforms for different audiences in Kyrgyzstan will allow the creation of recordings and podcasts, interactive videos, dubbing animations and much more, which will increase the effectiveness of the educational courses offered. In addition to this, it will allow the audience to independently develop and promote courses which are of interest to them. The plan for 2020 is to develop video courses in the new studio in five thematic areas and pilot them on the Mozgi platform. It is expected that by the end of the year at least 300 young people will be trained online and receive certificates.
While remaining creative and innovative in order to be able to react to fast-changing circumstances in 2020, the Institute for Youth Development together with DVV International are both confident that the Laboratory for Innovative Education will become a big new achievement for youth and adult education and learning in Kyrgyzstan, and the products being developed in the studio will be broadcast on various digital platforms.
Article by Nazik Mamasadykova, Coordinator of the project “Laboratory for Innovative Education”, Institute for Youth Development
The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing adult education providers to transform their education activities in Uzbekistan. They have started to conduct telephone consultations, to organize online master classes, to develop and adapt distance learning courses. To motivate them in conducting their anti-crisis measures, DVV International Uzbekistan announced a contest called ‘Marathon for adult education versus COVID-19’. The purpose of the marathon is to support ideas of civil society organizations and actors which focus on mitigating the consequences of the pandemic.
The marathon includes 3 stages: a posters contest, a video spot contest, and a fair of project ideas (the most interesting idea will receive financial support from the DVV International for its implementation). Each stage lasts for about a month. Ismail Umarov, the student of Tashkent University of World Economy and Diplomacy, won the poster competition which ended on June 10. His poster encourages people to keep learning and stresses that the pandemic is not an obstacle to that aim. Ismail received the latest smart phone model as a prize. Advertisements and results of the contest are published on the Facebook page of DVV International Uzbekistan. Participants submitted their posters and everyone had the opportunity to vote for their posters. The winner’s poster was selected also to become a visual brand of the entire contest-marathon and will be used in visibility material in all other stages.
Other winners of the contest and awarded with special diplomas are: the NGO ‘Istiqbolli Avlod’, the initiative group ‘Ecoland’, as well as individual entrepreneurs and students. One of the posters was devoted to volunteers. During the pandemic, volunteers help the elderly to use modern electronic devices to receive reliable and relevant information as well as to communicate with various emergency services. At the same time, during the pandemic the youth spend a lot of time on social networks, and thus, another poster of this organisation reminds the viewer of digital security.
Another poster addresses the barriers in communication between the youth and the elderly. According to the author’s opinion, adult education is the only opportunity to overcome these barriers. Special attention was given to a handmade poster which calls for uniting the efforts of national authorities, NGOs and donors during the pandemic to defeat the dangerous virus.
All authors created their posters from their own perspective. The result was a very interesting array of views and messages on adult education during the pandemic. All posters will be used in the activities of DVV International Uzbekistan, a poster exhibition will be organised, and the best of them will be used for producing table calendars complemented by quotes on Adult Education, which will be published by DVV International Uzbekistan at the end of the year.
The distance learning platform www.cgtvet.uz developed in 2019, allows DVV International Uzbekistan to create opportunities for employees of partner organizations to improve their skills during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown regime.
In April 2020, 32 education specialists from all regions of Uzbekistan completed the distance learning course on the first Curriculum GlobALE module. The course was divided into six stages, each lasted a week. Per stage, participants received assignments and training materials for self-study (electronic materials, video presentations, additional materials for in-depth study on each topic). To coordinate and facilitate assignments and discussions, a special forum was opened on the platform where participants were able to interact with their tutors. At certain stages, electronic surveys were applied to test the degree of comprehension of the e-learning content. As an additional communication tool, a telegram group chat was used.
After the initial group completed the course, another group of about 20 participants from partner cultural centers was gathered. From April 25 to June 15, the education specialists not only advanced their knowledge and skills in contemporary approaches in adult education, but also their professional network and capacity to use online resources for teaching and learning purposes. The platform also provides the necessary supporting literature and information on adult learning and education (ALE).
The course received positive feedback from participants, and also from the Ministry of Higher and Secondary Special Education and other partners. At the moment DVV International Uzbekistan is working with partners on preparing the third course with a further group of participants (about 90 people). In parallel with this work, the development of the second online CG module has commenced. It is planned that all CG modules will be digitalized for e-learning purposes and become available in Uzbek and Russian languages to all participants across Uzbekistan.
I think that the course is extremely relevant and necessary. I like its content, format, learning materials, assignments and the procedure of their implementation. The course intends not only to advance knowledge but also to test your skills. Honestly, I always thought that “distance learning” is very difficult, that it will be difficult in this way to comprehend the material. My previous experience, gained several years ago, became the basis for this assumption, and therefore, I always refused offers on distance learning. This course not only changed my attitude to this form of learning, but also encouraged me to take several other distance learning courses, and to organize distance learning courses on my own in order to share my knowledge and skills.
I thank the organizers of this course and those who promote this platform in Uzbekistan. It can bring many positive changes to our society!
Sardor Gaziev, course participant / freelance-trainer