Professional education and vocational training in Central Asia

Project description

Title: Professional education and vocational training in Central Asia
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Countries: Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan
Lead executing agencies: Agriculture and education ministries in the partner countries
Overall term: 2010 to 2018

Kyrgyzstan. Technical University Bishkek: a student working in a laboratory for food technology © GIZ


The processing of agricultural food products makes a considerable contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and is the main source of income for a large part of the population. At present, however, training for those who go on to work in the food processing industry does not meet the high standards of a labour market geared towards international requirements. The vocational education and training systems in these countries are not able to provide enough qualified experts and managers for the regional labour market. The teaching staff do not receive state-of-the-art vocational teaching training or training in subject didactics. There are few institutionalised partnerships between training and research institutions on the one hand and the private sector on the other.


Modern training and continuing professional development courses for experts and managers in food technology and vocational teacher training have been successfully introduced at all the model university and vocational training institutions in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and can be rolled out nationwide. This training meets the environmental and economic requirements of the region and is geared to the needs of the regional labour market. Cooperation is strengthened between training institutions and the private sector.


The programme supports selected universities, vocational colleges and pre-service and in-service teacher training institutions through wide-ranging competence, resource and capacity development. A regional dialogue promotes knowledge and education partnerships between the institutions. Advisory services are provided primarily in four areas. The programme

  • develops internationally recognised university courses in food technology,
  • develops a reference training course in food technology at vocational colleges,
  • supports pre-service and in-service vocational teacher training,
  • promotes partnerships between training institutions and the private sector.

The programme attaches particular importance to implementing all activities at regional level, in other words with participants from all the countries involved.


The programme's activities have led to an improvement in the range of job-oriented courses that meet the needs of the private sector. Cooperation between the partners in the Central Asian countries focuses on in-service training for teaching and management staff. The programme's services are used to develop training specifications in conjunction with the social partners and to incorporate them into the curricula.

Each of the partner countries sets its own priorities within vocational training and university education. They are clearly all making a concerted effort to bring training up to international standards and to achieve international recognition of qualifications. This is particularly true of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

Despite any political tension between the partner countries, projects conducted at regional level enjoy full acceptance. It is each country’s declared goal to achieve international accreditation of university and vocational training courses.

Endeavours in this regard have already borne fruit in Kyrgyzstan. At the end of 2014, the Bachelor's course in food technology at Kyrgyz State Technical University in Bishkek was reviewed by a German accreditation committee. The course has been accredited without reservation according to the Bologna standards since December 2014. Cooperation between training institutions and the private sector has already improved considerably. Cooperation agreements on making internships available for secondary and tertiary students have been signed. Entrepreneurs take part in examinations and contribute their experience and requirements to the curricula. New technologies and services are being offered by universities in particular and in turn are in demand from industry.