People rarely think of economy and education as of the concepts that go hand in hand. On the contrary, for the most part, people are prone to drawing a clear line between these concepts. However, as the recent events in Central Asia, namely, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and other Central Asian states, show, the changes within the state economy trigger the necessity to adjust the educational system to the new requirements (Brown 2005, p. 61). Because of the lack of competent workforce, the Central Asian countries are forced to reconsider their system of education, which presupposes aligning the current one with the ones accepted in Europe and the U.S., so that Asia could train its students in order to acquire competent staff for its private and public companies and, thus, raise the state’s economic performance.
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Despite the fact that the introduction of new education principles and restructuring of the current Central Asian educational system will require much time, money and effort, which may possibly trigger even greater economical and financial concerns within the state, taking its current position within the realm of the world market a few notches down, in order to create the basis for the economic growth of such states as Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and many others, it is necessary to provide the states with highly qualified workforce that will allow for better industrial, economical and financial performance of the private and public companies in Central Asia, which can only be possible if the current educational system is shaped so that the students are able to acquire up-to-date knowledge, train their professional skills and be able to cooperate with the West educational establishments, as well as get access to the latest academic researches, which will be much easier once Central Asia start cooperating with the West and accepts the Western educational model.
Premises for the Change: A Little of Back Story
While there is definitely nothing wrong with asking other states for support in education, it still must be admitted that Central Asia has been known for its independence and the lack of initiative regarding international cooperation, which begs the question why the governments of the Asian states seem to have agreed on resorting to accepting the Western concept of education, as well as restructuring their entire principle of education. True, the fact that the Asian specialists are getting out of touch with the progressive West and its academic and scientific innovations; however, in a standard situation, enhancing the cooperation between the Asian companies and the ones belonging to the Western states, as well as locating Asian companies in the West, might do the trick. Therefore, it seems that the situation is far more drastic than it might seem to an outsider. According to the recent statistics on Central Asian education, the following results call for immediate actions to be taken:
Basic Methods and their Efficiency: What the Western Educational Strategies Can Offer
Flaws and possible obstacles
When it comes to defining the issues that the Central Asian people are most likely to face when the educational principles of America and/or Europe are applied to the state educational establishments, from schools to universities, one must mention the fact that not all teachers, let alone students, are able to adjust to rapid changes regarding the education process. As a result, a slight downgrade in the students’ performance can be expected. In addition, since the grading system adopted in Europe and USA is strikingly different from the one, which is traditionally used in Central Asia, teachers are also expected to face certain complexities in evaluating the students’ performance. The lack of understanding of how the new system works and what is demanded from them might affect the students’ and teachers’ motivation in a most negative way.
Benefits and positive effects
It would be wrong, however, to claim that the introduction of the European and, mainly, American system of education, as well as opening the Asian academic field to the outside researches and the ability to discuss the American and European innovations can only make the Asian states bump into new difficulties. One of the basic advantages of the academic cooperation between the states concerns the possibility of advancing communication issues, which can be achieved by helping the Asian students improve their English skills or even start learning English from the very beginning, which, in most cases, will be the most reasonable option, seeing how in Central Asia, little to no effort is put into advancing the English language as the language of international communication.
As the recent research results show, the current state of English language learning leaves much to be desired in most parts of Central Asia, which can be explained by the lack of cooperation between the U.S. and Central Asia. The recent studies show that in the past decade, the command of the English language among the residents of Central Asia was rather low (Liu 2011, p. 77).The changes within the given field must affect the process of learning so that it could be adjusted to the needs of the Central Asian students. For example, the lessons could be conducted outdoors, claiming that for Central Asian students, “clarifying and rehearsing information is an activity done outside of class with friends, not inside with the lecturer whose time is valuable” (Larsom, Rancombe & Baik 2010, p. 3).
Therefore, the changes within the educational system will allow for more options in learning English. Central Asian states will finally be open to every program for ESL learners, which is likely to affect the state economy positively as well.
Discussion: Concerning the Reasonability of the Change
Naturally, there are pros and cons regarding the necessity to introduce the aforementioned changes into the Central Asian system of education. It is also important to stress that what makes the given discussion even more complicated is that not only the needs of students and teachers, but also physical and psychological capacities of the former are to be considered. Unlike the students’ needs the students’ abilities are often taken for granted; it is somehow traditionally assumed that a student is supposed to cope with the traditional workload at school, even though at some points, school program might turn out to be beyond reasonable. Therefore, when analyzing the possibility of change, it is necessary to stress the necessity to reduce school assignments load in case of educational system transformation (Tresman 2002, p. 1). Once facing the necessity to become a part of a completely different system of teaching and learning, students are most likely to feel uncertain and confused at first, which is most likely to have a deplorable effect on their grades and school performance. Therefore, along with the formal issues concerning the introduction of the new system, the psychological aspect should also be taken into account.
Pros: looking for strong support
The positive aspects of the idea of considering the American and European educational systems as a sample to base of off in order to create a unique Asian model of education are obvious. To start with the fact that Asia is going to follow the traditional education system accepted by the majority of the states presupposes that Asia will finally fully integrate into the European and American academic world. Consequently, it will be easier for Central Asia to allow its science to take off, with researches being conducted in order to analyze and improve the current state of economical, political, cultural and industrial spheres (Asel, 2010, p. 4).
In addition to the fact of joining the team of the world’s greatest “academic league,” Central Asia will be able to align with the European and American standards in order to set its educational course and shape the academic program for students so that the latter could be graded in accordance with the system accepted worldwide. The given innovation will allow for the students of Central Asia to enroll into various academic institutions in Europe and the U.S., as well as for the alumni and graduates to prove their academic achievements in any other state apart from their native Central Asia, so that they could start business in Europe and the U.S., thus, increasing not only GDP, but also GNP and, therefore, raising the economy of the state (Brück et al. 2010, p. 4). At the given point, one can see clearly the links between the fields that seemed to be as far on the opposite sides from each other as possible. Indeed, the idea of education contributing to the economic development of the state and vice versa is truly fascinating.
Cons: Economical and financial dependency
Despite the aforementioned benefits of adopting the given strategy, the idea of transforming the educational system of an entire state as the key mean to improve the students’ academic performance within the shortest amount of time and, therefore, be able to use the valuable human resources quickly and efficiently does not seem to be applicable to the current economical and financial settings of Central Asia, mainly because the cooperation with the higher educational establishments of the European and American states will require considerable funding, which the Central Asia in general and Tajikistan in particular are extremely short of at the moment. Therefore, instead of improving the current state of education in Tajikistan and other Asian states with similar issues, the given approach will only make the economic situation worse, with much money being donated for the funding of new educational system, the results of which are yet to be tested. Mainly, it is the unpredictability of the effects that the currently adopted strategy is going to lead to that poses a threat to the state’s economical, financial, cultural and political progress.
In addition, it is worth mentioning that, even if Central Asia is able to use the funds that will be supplied by its financial partners and investors to perfect the current educational system and raise a new generation of competent employees , it still must be admitted that the given process will take much time; even sparing the process of implementing the new strategy into the Central Asian educational setting, one will have to bear in mind that a standard process of acquiring professional knowledge a skills will require at least five years of studying and training, left alone the field of medicine, where six years are required to become an expert (Araujo 2011, p. 2). That being said, the idea of attracting foreign investors and using the West model of education as a sample to build the unique Asian educational system on is pretty clever and deserves to be looked into.
Synthesis: The Deciding Point Comes
Admittedly, a number of difficulties in adjusting to the new principles of education and new methods of conducting lessons and researches are going to be expected. It goes without saying that the system, which was created within a completely different environment and is adjusted to the needs of different nations will get some trouble getting used to for the students of Central Asia. In addition, the results of adopting a European and/or American principles of education within the Asian setting may possibly result in the inefficiency of the Asian states to apply new rules and standards to the learning environment due to cultural differences and the possible rejection of the given education principles by the students and teachers. Moreover, the failure of the Western educational principles as the basis for the Central Asian education field may be expected. In other words, the key issue in the given case concerns the possible clash of cultures and the incompatibility of the proposed educational system and the political, economical and social factors within the Central Asian environment.
Nevertheless, the opportunities that the introduction of the new educational principles and the integration of the Central Asian educational system into the American and/or European one doubtlessly opens new chances for the Central Asian states in terms of improving their economical and financial performance in that the future workforce is going to be much more competent and, more to the point, capable of following the latest trends in the specified field(s). As a result, the changes within the education realm will presumably trigger economic growth.
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The situation regarding the necessity of changes within the Central Asian education field is one of the most graphic examples of how close the fields of education, economy and finances are and how fast the changes that took place in one of these fields trigger the necessity to shape the other systems. It is remarkable that even the sources of the problems within each spheres are similar; according to the existing evidence, due to the lack of contact with the European and American professionals, as well as the absence of cooperation between the countries, most of the Central Asian states experience issues concerning the training of their specialists, which results in poor performance of the state and private Central Asian companies (CISCO 2007, p. 2). Therefore, as one can see, it is quite hard to nail down whether these are the issues concerning education hat cause economical downfall, or the inconsistence of the state economy that lead to poor education services and the lack of opportunities regarding professional growth. However, as it has been stressed, the chances to break the vicious circle are quite high, even though taking them presupposes dealing with a lot of risks.
Conclusion: There Is Yet Much to Strive for
As it has been stressed, the idea of introducing international partnership into the educational system of Tajikistan and other states of Central Asia has its positive and negative aspects, the key obstacle clearly being the lack of certainty regarding the effects of the changes in education and the following problems concerning paying the international debt, which will be quite complicated seeing how the economy and finances of the country are in a quite deplorable state. However, once the transfer from the traditional education system of the new one is carried out carefully enough, positive outcomes can be expected.
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Asel, I 2010, Financial sector development and dollarization in the economies of Central Asia. Web.
Brown, G 2005, ‘Gender equality in East Asia: progress, and the challenges of economic growth and political change,’ East Asia Update, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 60–71.
Brück, T et al. 2010, Household survey data for research on well-being and behavior in Central Asia. Web.
CISCO 2007, Education and economic growth: from the 19th to the 21st century. Web.
Larsom, L, Rancombe, W & Baik, C 2010, English language needs and support: International-ESL students’ perceptions and expectations, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, AU.
Liu, L 2011, ‘An international graduate student’s ESL learning experience beyond the classroom,’ TESL Canada Journal, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 77–92.