A three-year curriculum-development project in Uzbekistan – funded by the EC Tempus programme and led by one of NRI's food management experts, David Walker – has concluded with a major seminar at Bukhara Technological Institute of Food and Light Industry (BTIFLI) to review the achievements in the context of SMEs and disseminate the outputs. The seminar – entitled "The Role of International Projects in the Development of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises with Reference to Economic Liberalization" – was held on 17-18 February 2004 and was attended by over 300 participants, including David Walker and other members of the project team from the University of Greenwich Business School, Larenstein University of Professional Education, and the Bukhara Technological Institute.
NRI's David Walker presenting his paper at the seminar. Those shown are (left to right): Lee Williams, Principal Lecturer, University of Greenwich Business School; Arnold van Wulfften Palthe, Larenstein University of Professional Education, Netherlands; Professor Mukhsin Hodjiev, Bukhara Technological Institute of Food and Light Industry; David Walker, NRI; and Ms Aziza Abdurakhmanova, EC Tempus Programme Co-ordinator for Uzbekistan.
© University of Greenwich
The wider objective of the Tempus project was to enable BTIFLI to respond to the changing needs of national and regional transitional market reform, and to agro-industrial development programmes, by providing education and vocational training that is both relevant and up-to-date, especially for the needs of local SMEs. Specifically, the project aim was to allow BTIFLI to offer a recognized and validated four-year Bachelor programme in economics of agricultural commodities by providing curriculum development for the third and fourth years of the degree. Recruitment to the programme commenced in 2001 and has continued since, demonstrating ongoing student demand for the award as well as commitment by the Uzbekistan Ministry of Higher and Specialized Education.
After the project inception meeting at Greenwich and Medway in April 2001, attended by senior staff of the University of Greenwich, of BTIFLI and of Larenstein University, the first priority was to identify the skill needs of commercial agro-industrial companies in the Bukhara region to underpin the curriculum development. Seven existing Year 3 courses were revised and upgraded under the leadership of the Larenstein partners, and ten new customized courses for Years 3 and 4 were designed and developed under the leadership of the Greenwich team. In addition to curriculum development and quality assurance, the project partners collaborated on: improvement of English language competence for international staff; an audit of library resources at BTIFLI; procurement of books, journal and videos, plus equipment to produce translated copies of teaching materials provided by Greenwich and Larenstein; a detailed audit of laboratory and classroom equipment; procurement of learning and teaching resources, including IT provision; refresher training for Bukhara teaching staff, including observation of British and Dutch approaches in higher education; and achievement of full validation of the new courses by BTIFLI, and approval by the Uzbekistan Ministry of Education. These activities were all successfully completed.
The Dean of Faculty of Business and Management visited NRI at the end of 2003. Following his visit and the success of the project, NRI and BTIFLI have signed a joint agreement for continued academic collaboration between the two Institutes. This includes provision for exchange of expertise amongst academic staff, sharing of information and teaching materials, and mutual support to undergraduate and postgraduate students.