The University of Central Asia (UCA) marked the 10th anniversary of its School of Professional and Continuing Education (SPCE) in 2016. To support UCA’s considerations of how SPCE may continue to effectively contribute to UCA’s mission to promote the social and economic development of Central Asia, particularly its mountain societies, UCA sought an external evaluation of SPCE. In November 2016 the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), with the support of its member, the College of the Rockies, was contracted to carry out this evaluation. CoTR was selected because it has a similar profile to SPCE in terms of its program offerings and its mandate to support communities and learners in mountainous regions. A final Impact Evaluation was submitted to UCA in June 2017.
The evaluation assessed impact with respect to UCA’s stated goals for SPCE, namely to:
- Meet the needs of the population for training, skills development, and education.
- Improve the employability, income, and quality of employment of its learners.
- Help learners generate opportunities through self-employment, starting/expanding businesses, and social entrepreneurship.
- Improve the competitiveness of young women and men in local and national labour markets, or in higher education enrolment, especially admission to the better quality institutions.
- Improve opportunities for women in employment, entrepreneurship, and post-secondary education.
- Provide practical skills for livelihoods, business, and employability that enable people to remain in their communities.
The final report noted that while SPCE is indeed achieving many intended impacts, there is significant potential for UCA to expand or develop new SPCE programs to meet the needs of the population for training, skills development, and education and thereby further contribute to the social and economic development of mountain societies in Central Asia. In the coming weeks UCA will review the report and its many recommendations to determine how it can, through SPCE, bring greater positive impact on the lives of women and men in mountain communities in Central Asia.
CBIE and the College of the Rockies were pleased to collaborate with UCA, its School of Professional and Continuing Education and the Aga Khan Foundation in Central Asia to conduct the impact evaluation. CBIE would like to acknowledge the work of the evaluation team including the College Chair of Academic Innovation and Applied Research, Dr. Gabrielle Zezulka, the College’s Manager of International Projects and Partnerships, Kerry Brinkert and CBIE’s Director of International Partnerships and Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, David Comerford. In addition, CBIE thanks UCA-SPCE for its ongoing support and constructive feedback to the evaluation team with a particular thanks going to Dr. Bohdan Krawchenko, Director General of UCA, Dr. Gulnara Djunushalieva, Director of SPCE, and the team at the Aga Khan Development Network’s Evaluation Unit (Dushanbe) who conducted telephone interviews of almost 1000 SPCE alumni from Korog (Tajikistan) and Naryn (Kyrgyzstan).
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