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Internationalisation and Modernisation of Education and Processes in the

Higher Education of Uzbekistan



ERASMUS+ IMEP Project: Internationalisation and Modernisation of Education and Processes in the Higher Education of Uzbekistan

The proposed project (2015 - 2018) is with universities of Uzbekistan as well as EU partners in Greece and Latvia. The Project will aim at the development of CPD training at national level; introducing new Quality Enhancement processes and presenting recommendations to the Ministry of Higher and Secondary Specialised Education. The project will also develop Guidelines for student and employer engagement in teaching and learning


On 16-17 of March, 2016 the kick-off meeting of the project participants ERASMUS + CBHE «Internationalization and modernization of education and the process of higher education in Uzbekistan / IMEP» was held. B. Usmanov – deputy minister of the MHSSE of the Republic of Uzbekistan; Y.Sterk – Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Uzbekistan; A.Abdurakhmanova – Coordinator of the National Erasmus+ Office in Uzbekistan; Mark Crossey – Director of the British Council in Uzbekistan; Kseniya Dolzhenko – Chef of the board, Baltic Center in Latvia; as well as representatives from Rezekne Academy of Technologies (Latvia), University of Peloponness (Greece), British Council, Head scientific-methodical Center, TMA, UWED, UzSWLU, TSPU, BuhSU, SamSIFL, NamSU took part in the meeting. Tashkent Medical Academy was represented by the vice-rector on scientific affaires professor Shukhrat Abdudjalilovich Boymuradov and teaching assistant of the department of eye diseases Hodjaeva Umida Zakirovna.


IMEP WP5 Case Study.




Employer Engagement; The case of Applied Languages (Interpreting) at London Metropolitan University


The focus of this case study is the development of applied languages curriculum at London Met. University with particular reference to Interpreting. The curricula consists of Master’s courses in Interpreting and Conference Interpreting and the following non degree courses: a Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (English Law and Health options) and a range of Continuing Professional Development courses in Diplomatic Interpreting, Introduction to Conference Interpreting, Advanced Conference Interpreting for EU/UN and Training the Trainers.

Rather than considered as an afterthought, employability and employer engagement have been regarded as driving curriculum developments from the outset. Whilst interpreting courses elsewhere in the UK and internationally, relied on more traditional teaching methods, i.e. more didactic based instruction with periodic practice sessions in labs, the focus at London Met has been on developing an understanding and skills required for professional interpreting roles. The Course Organizer understands the University as a market place, with a roof but no walls, a concept reinforced by the use of digital media technology, external employer links, international Memoranda of Understanding, professional body partnerships and memberships of networks. In the case of the latter the University was a founding member of the Public Service Interpreting and Translation Network and a member of CIUTI, (see ) the latter comprising around fifty top international interpreting and translation schools with strong links to professional bodies and representatives from elite employer organisations.

Such curriculum developments must be understood against a backdrop of changes in both education and the labour market. The decline in languages taught in schools in the UK had a knock on effect on the number of linguists coming through higher education. This coincided with a workforce of interpreters with English as their first language reaching retirement age. Moreover, as the EU expanded so the demand for interpreters increased, not only in Brussels but also in the UK, both in the public sector (courts, hospitals, schools etc.) and private sector, itself operating in an ever expanding, global market place. Alongside these changes, British education has witnessed a shift, dating back to the 1970s and 1980s, towards greater accountability to and involvement of key stakeholders, notably parents (of school age children), students and employers. Such accountability is measured through a series of indicators, including levels graduate employment and student satisfaction, which form the basis of university league tables. These changes in conjunction with the shift in the principal source of funding from the state to students (via loans) formed part of what commentators have referred to as the marketisation of Higher Education. To some extent such reforms suited a new university like London Met with its commitment to more applied research and a curricula both relevant and responsive to wider societal changes. Add to these factors a dynamic course leadership and it was not altogether surprising that the University developed the first MA in Public Service Interpreting, responding in part to pressure from the  European Commission, Charities (e.g. the Medical Foundation dealing with international victims of torture) and training bodies. The University also approached the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIoL) with a view to securing both a degree and a professional qualification and inclusion on the professional register, held by the CIoL.

Relations with top employers, notably the European Commission and the United Nations, have been particularly significant in shaping the curriculum. An initial visit by the head of the English Language service at the European Commission encouraged staff to adapt the curriculum to the Commission’s specific entry test requirements. Pedagogic assistants from the EC would visit the University and work with staff and students. Groups of students would visit the EU institutions, have the opportunity to practice in the language booths and benefit from the advice of professional interpreters. Likewise, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the United Nations, which ensures that students have the opportunity to visit the UN in Geneva and Vienna on a regular basis and gain practical experience under the watchful eye of UN interpreters. Course assessment mirrors the entry tests for both EU and UN.

The curriculum is therefore practice led. Mock conferences (for example recently on Syria and the Schengen Treaty) ensure that students familiarize themselves with topics of direct relevance to the UN and EU respectively.  Virtual classes are held with 10 partner international institutions which have expanded the number of language combinations as well as through video links with Brussels, providing students with opportunities for consecutive interpreting of mock speeches delivered by EU staff who also provide feedback. In one module, which aims to support students wishing to establish their own business, twitter and blogs are used to establish contacts with interpreting professionals running their own businesses, who offer advice to students on practicalities such as pricing and costs, business card design, marketing etc. Their advice is sought in advance of the classes and then fed back to the students following the class discussion. Students are then able to follow professionals on twitter, using hashtags and the blogosphere to develop their ideas whilst directly engaging with professional practitioners.

Students take work placements as part of their course that are organised by us with the EU or the UN (New York, Vienna, Geneva, the EC in Brussels or the Court of Justice of the EU in Luxembourg), and opportunities that help charities. One of the main placement providers is The Initiatives for Change in Caux (Switzerland) that lasts for 2 months in the summer. It is important to avoid employers using students instead of paid professional interpreters so the University ensures that all placements will support students and enhance their career prospects. There is a booklet to guide employers and also a feedback form for employers. Students are required to write a placement report in which they are expected to reflect on the practical knowledge and skills learned on the placement. 

The focus on employability inevitably has resource implications. There are additional costs associated with the international study visits, and the specific technological demands of the course require a well equipped interpreting suite with booths and space for mock conferences. Media equipment and relevant software is also required for virtual classes. Demands on staff are also correspondingly high. Students receive hundreds of hours of booth practice and dedicated support. Mock speeches are written in line with the learning needs of individual students, and staff are also expected to maintain links with employers and their networks, professional bodies, and students using social media as well other forms of communication.

The Memoranda of Understanding signed with employer partners provide a framework for visits, master classes and feedback from provide important opportunities for feedback from employers. For example the UN recently (2016) wrote to the course leader raising a number of concerns, notably the relationship between Public Service Interpreting and Conference Interpreting, alluding to the need for an even sharper curriculum (niche) focus, more booth practice and less on theory. The Ambassador Scheme, which recruits from London Met Interpreting and Translation Alumnae, provides opportunities for students to learn from the experiences of recent graduates, and in some cases through their contacts, secure work placements. The Ambassadors, as the term suggests, are excellent advocates of their courses and attend marketing events where they are able to meet potential applicants (e.g. an annual international exhibition language show held in October in London).

The courses in interpreting are subject to university wide quality assurance processes ( ) and employer engagement was one of two enhancement themes selected by the Quality Assurance Agency as part of their process of Higher Education Review.

( It is also worth noting that an EU professional interpreter participated in the most recent course evaluation.

Despite widespread support for such initiatives, costs remain a major challenge. It has been suggested that an employability driven curriculum in this subject area  has additional resource implications, e.g. media equipment, lab facilities, time demands on staff built around the need to provide individual learning programmes and support, study visits and external liaison. This inevitably creates tensions with the University’s aim of delivering  quality education but via what are considered the most cost effective means. The subject area in turn has sought to minimise costs where possible. For example, the development of virtual classes has enabled the area to offer more language combinations without having to appoint individual staff for every language combination.

The success of the area can be measured against a number of indicators/benchmarks.

*The national average pass rate for the Diploma in Public Service Interpreting is 42%. The pass rate for London Met students is over 80%.

*The Conference Interpreting Course is the only course of its kind in London in which both the EU and UN offer opportunities such as work experience, study tours, advice and feedback.

In the future, the area hopes to gain European Masters in Conference Interpreting accreditation, a significant currency with top employers and one in which a panel of employers would assess the students. The University is close to accreditation and if and when it is attained, it would be the only interpreting school in London with this prestigious kite mark. Its growing reputation with employers is testimony to its innovative use of technology, student centred, practice led pedagogy, outstanding links with alumnae via the ambassadors scheme, an excellent suite of continuing professional development courses and an outstanding network of partnerships with employers and HEIs.