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Open Access Capstone

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The purpose of my research is to analyze the history, current status, and the further development of higher education in three Central Asian countries: Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The focus of my research is Kyrgyzstan, my home country; however, higher education reforms of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are also important for comparative study. My study addresses the nature of the reforms in higher education system being implemented in these countries.

The research seeks to answer the following questions: (a) to identify the main changes in higher education systems since gaining independence; (b) to identify the key issues of ongoing reforms in the higher education sector; (c) to determine the main factors influencing the changes in the systems; and (d) to identify the perspectives of the higher education reforms of these three Central Asian countries. The research concerns whether Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan will have similar or different higher education systems in the future.

The study included document analysis, on online survey, interviews, observation, and personal experience. My working hypothesis is that higher education of Kyrgyzstan has changed dramatically since 1992, but with various problems and mistakes in the process. Meanwhile, higher education system of Kazakhstan has achieved greater success in terms of modernization or westernization of the system. In contrast, the higher education system of Uzbekistan has made an effort to develop their own higher education system but the attempts seem not to be successful since the system retains most of the characteristics of the Soviet-based system.

The subjects of the online survey are the students and faculty members from Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan who have studied in the United States university systems in the recent years or currently participate in international educational programs. The respondents were contacted through the e-mail and asked to complete an anonymous survey. The survey was available online in the form of an attachment.

The findings of the research demonstrate the similarities and differences of the higher education systems in three Central Asian countries. Historical development, current status, and the planned tendencies of higher education system's development provide a good understanding of the three nations.