Uzbekistan’s unique experience accumulated in recent history pursuing a balanced implementation of reforms without the negative elements of shock therapy provides grounds for optimism, opens up new prospects and may be of interest to the rest of Eurasia, writes Umid Abidkhadjaev, Director of the Institute for Forecasting and Macroeconomic Research under the Ministry of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
Over the years of its independent development, Uzbekistan has reached frontiers that have completely changed its image and place in the world community. In a relatively short period of time, it has been possible for the country to develop a regulatory and legal framework for reforms, lay the foundations of a market infrastructure, ensure financial and macroeconomic stabilisation, carry out institutional transformations, create a diversified economy and new industries, form a mechanism to stimulate small business, as well as to achieve energy independence and come closer to grain independence.
In 2016, a change of leadership took place in the country, which coincided with Uzbekistan’s change of course and the implementation of reforms within the country. The main impetus of the new stage of reforms entails the establishment of socio-economic conditions within the country which may contribute to the creation of a green and innovative economy, the development of digitalisation, the creation of a class of highly qualified specialists, and an increase in average household incomes.
The result of the reforms carried out over the past 5 years has been the formation of New Uzbekistan on the world arena, whose main goal is to ensure a free, comfortable and prosperous life for the people of the country.
At the new stage of reforms, special attention is being paid to the development of the country’s human capital and the training of highly qualified specialists. For this purpose, large-scale work has been carried out in the higher education system. Over the past four years, the number of universities has increased (from 70 to 127), as well as the number of students per 10 thousand of the population (from 85 to 169). New branches of international universities have opened in the country; their number reached 22 in 2020. In turn, this contributed to an increase in the share of higher education in the total volume of educational services to 54.0% in 2020 (47.4% in 2017).
In 2019, the government of the country within the framework of the concept for the development of the country’s higher education system until 2030, further stages and themes of the development were determined. One of the key areas was to improve the quality of training provided to highly qualified personnel, and to develop human capital based on the requirements of the labour market.
Thus, Uzbekistan today has all the prerequisites for the creation and development of a competitive educational hub in the world arena, which will be able to implement high-level international educational programmes. These prerequisites include a mild and favourable national climate, a high level of security supported by government policy, lower and competitive prices compared to other Central Asian countries in many areas (for example, medicine, visa-free travel for the citizens of many countries, as well as a high level of human capital).
At present and in the future, the competitiveness of the state in the global economy depends on the level and quality of information technology, the development of digitalisation processes in the country and the training of personnel for this sector.