12 September 2018
On Friday, 14 September 2018, UNESCO Cluster Office in Almaty will organize an expert group discussion on the status of Geosciences education at university level in Kyrgyzstan. The meeting will be hosted by the American University of Central Asia (AUCA) and organized in close partnership with AUCA, and the Institute of Seismology, Academy of Sciences of the Kyrgyz Republic.Investing in human resource capacity development in Earth sciences is crucial in Central Asia, including in Kyrgyzstan, in order to realize the countries’ reach earth resources potential and contribute to economic growth and sustainable societies. Earth sciences underpin many other aspects of the economy – infrastructure, agriculture, biodiversity, tourism and health, as well as the prevention and monitoring of natural hazards, to which Central Asia is very prone. However, Earth sciences importance and knowledge in realizing this resource potential and contributing to economic and social sectors is not largely recognized. This is also reflected in the extreme poor support for Earth sciences research in Kyrgyzstan, as well as weakened education at university level. Limited financial resources, aging generation of specialists, weak cooperation among various institutions, and isolation of Earth scientists from other sciences disciplines, and consequently from the demand for it in 21-st century, are major challenges faced by the Earth science research and education in Kyrgyzstan.
Therefore, it is timely to initiate the first discussion among experts on the current status of Earth Sciences and notably on education at tertiary level in Kyrgyzstan and wider Central Asia context, identify gaps and challenges and set up a roadmap of potential immediate activities, and subsequently aim towards better education and geoscience research in the country. It is expected that the meeting will facilitate exchange of knowledge among different national and international stakeholders in Earth Sciences. UNESCO, as the only agency in the UN system, mandated to promote Geosciences, and notably through its International Programme on Geosciences (IGCP), will act as a platform for these discussions.