UK experts honoured the best entrepreneurial universities in Uzbekistan

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British Council, the Ministry of Higher and Secondary Specialized Education of the Republic of Uzbekistan and ChangeSchool London organized the first award ceremony for Uzbek Universities “Entrepreneurial University Award”. The winner of the Enterprising University of the Year award became Tashkent State Technical University.

Teams from 11 leading universities of Uzbekistan, participants of the British Council’s Creative Spark programme, involved in the competition for 8 awards: Engagement, Start-up of the Year, Green University, Impact, Industry Relationship, Popular Vote, and Enterprise in the Curriculum. And finally, the Enterprising University of the Year for the best three submissions in the above categories. The winners were selected by creative economy experts from leading UK research centres.

“This initiative is a fantastic opportunity to present the excellent collaborative work of project teams and seek recognition for the hard work you are all doing. It is really important that universities engage in this activity as it encourages connected thinking, collaboration and networking, support economic development, employability and the creation of new businesses”, said Jamilya Gulyamova, Deputy Director of British Council Uzbekistan.

The Entrepreneurial University Awards is a pilot project held in Uzbekistan for the first time and is awarded to universities to celebrate the delivery of enterprise teaching, entrepreneurship training, student hub activities, ecosystem and community development, and providing universities with recognition for their work. Such initiatives foster the development of enterprise mindset behaviours and skills that students need to master in today’s fast-changing world, such as: complex problem solving, cognitive flexibility in judgement and decision-making, creativity and critical thinking. 

The winner of the Enterprising University of the Year award Tashkent State Technical University has won other categories as well: 

TSTU won the Start-up of the Year award for supporting students’ start-up initiatives from idea to commercial project launch. Since 2019, TSTU has held an annual start–up competition for students and helped the winning projects to receive further development, support and investment. For example, TSTU in cooperation with UZDELTA team – the winners of the 2019 contest, who constructed 3D printer, plans to open a 3D factory to create tools and demonstration materials for schools, as well as technological masks for medical staff printed on a 3D printer. Supporting the winning project of the 2020 contest the “National Robotics Course project”, the university opened the Transformers Education robotics centre, where students of all ages are taught assembling and programming robots. Classes at the centre are taught by undergraduates, who prepare students for participation in the Robot-Uz national robotics competition. TSTU was awarded the Green University award for launching new BSc named “Alternative Energy Sources” into the curriculum to train specialists to solve energy deficiency problems and moves towards a zero-carbon economy. 

The list of other awards winners:

Engagement– Tashkent Institute of Textile and Light Industry – for practice-oriented educational laboratory Fashion Theatre, which helps students solve creative problems, develop creativity and practical skills, embody ideas into the material, and prepare for a design competition and runway shows.

Impact – National Institute for Fine Art and Design – for using visual arts to raise environmental awareness. Students and teachers participate in competitions, exhibitions and workshops on environmental topics, such as the EU competition “Water – Source of Life” or the exhibition “Heaven on Water”, etc., and influence several thousand viewers with their works.

Popular Vote: The Most Active Teacher:

Oybek Dusmukhamedov, senior teacher of Uzbekistan State Institute of Art and Culture for taking a creative approach to teaching. He created and posted a video on YouTube ‘The Role and Importance of Creative Entrepreneurship in Culture and the Arts’, which was shown to more than 300 undergraduate and postgraduate students on lectures and seminars.

Oybek Kasimov, “Feng Shui Master”, associated professor of National Institute for Fine Art and Design for developing entrepreneurial skills through entrepreneurial experience including encouraging the experience of risk, ambiguity and learning through failure; creativity and idea generation; live business challenges and projects following Feng Shui philosophy and his own entrepreneurial experience.

Enterprise in the Curriculum:

Tashkent State University of Economics for bringing entrepreneurship education into mainstream degree teaching, introducing a new module entitled “Creating a Winning Business” for over 100 students. This module introduces students to critically assessing and developing new business opportunities.

Enterprise in the Curriculum: Creative entrepreneur institute – Uzbekistan State Institute of Art and Culture for implementing creative entrepreneurship into study programme with Fundamentals of Creative Entrepreneurship elective course for more than 500 undergraduate and graduate students.

Connection with Industry:

Tashkent State Technical University for cooperation with Technopark conglomerate. In addition, «Silk Road» International University of Tourism achieved a ‘Commendation’ in the Industry Relationship Award

“There is an understanding that universities need to become more entrepreneurial, more creative, but that is impossible to do without the change in mentality, in mindset, first of all in university’s stakeholders and our students. And I believe that the projects like this and these universities can become game-changers for the whole system”, said Komiljon Karimov, First Deputy Minister of Higher and Secondary Specialized Education.

The Ambassador of Uzbekistan in London Mr. Said Rustamov highlighted the crucial role of these universities “in further improvement of the educational system in Uzbekistan, especially in the development of creative entrepreneurial education and innovation as well as the development of the Uzbek economy into a modern high value-added knowledge-based economy”.

Before the award ceremony, as part of the Creative Spark programme, the universities received specific training, an intensive programme and studied the expertise of 16 leading UK universities in their areas, participated in webinars and had individual sessions in which university teams with experts discussed how the education system and student experience could be improved.

Creative Spark programme aims to boost bilateral higher education partnerships to drive creative enterprise education and develop business development thinking and skills among young people. The programme operates in 7 countries and contributes to the development of creative economy in the region. A total of 110 universities are participating in the programme. Over the past three years, the programme has helped the region to develop entrepreneurship and trained more than 750,000 young people, most of whom are females, opened 65 training courses and 15 business incubators.

British Council Uzbekistan

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