Follow Us:

Central Asia Symposium on ICT in Education 2016; Unleashing the Potential of ICT for Skills Development

CENTRAL ASIA SYMPOSIUM ON ICT IN EDUCATION 2016; Unleashing the Potential of ICT for Skills Development, 27-29 June 2016, Astana, Republic of Kazakhstan

© ЕлеНик (



27-29 June 2016  |  Astana, Republic of Kazakhstan

The Central Asia Symposium on ICT in Education (CASIE) has served as a convening platform for the Central Asian republics to collectively discuss ongoing challenges in education and identify possible solutions through effective utilization of ICTs in education since its inception in 2011. As a region that shares a unique social, cultural and historical background different from the rest of the Asia and Pacific region, the participating countries in the past CASIEs celebrated the rare opportunity to exchange their views and experiences in integrating ICT in education, and collectively deliberate on effective solutions to various challenges.

Central Asia has indeed shown continuous progress in achieving the core goals of Education for All (EFA). According to the UNESCO Global Monitoring Report (2015)1, most of the countries in Central Asia have reached nearly universal literacy, as well as high primary and secondary enrolment rates with complete gender parity. Such key strengths of these education systems, if sustained with quality, can act as influential contributing factors to leading the nations toward competitive economies.

For the last few decades, the Central Asian region has gone through considerable changes in its economic landscape, becoming a competitive actor in the global economy. For example, the added value from the service sector in Central Asia has been drastically increasing while the economic share from agricultural and industrial sectors has declined. Although this is a global trend, the growth spurt in the service sector of the region is remarkable, compared to other regions in Asia and the Pacific. This is an encouraging yet challenging movement for the Central Asian countries. It is encouraging that the countries have been diversifying their economies beyond the traditional sources of economy, such as industrial and natural resource sectors. It is however challenging as the service sector requires different skillsets from the ones of the agriculture and industrial sectors that are yet to be integrated in the education and training system of Central Asian countries. The expansion of the service sectors and diversified economy calls for development of a strong human capital that is responsive to the changing demands of work.

Considering that many Central Asian countries, such as Uzbekistan, Tajikistan or Kyrgyzstan still have significantly more and static rural populations4 (64%, 73% and 64%, respectively) than the rest of the Asia and Pacific (42%), preparing the workforce for the future of work remains a challenge and is oftentimes exacerbated in these areas. Worldwide in general and the Central Asian countries in particular, “curricula often do not reflect the needs of the rural economy, and the quality of education suffers from poor infrastructure and unqualified teachers”. This may be a root cause for the high unemployment rate in the Central Asia (8.7%, as the world average is 5.9%), despite its greater achievement in universal primary education and high literacy rate.

Indeed, low employment rates, particularly for youth, are a startling global issue, raising a great sense of urgency to review our education systems and identify the root causes. A recent ILO’s report shows that the global youth unemployment rate (13.1%) is three times higher than the adult unemployment rate (4.6%).6 According to the report, the youth attributed this to their lack of skills and experience, more so than to the lack of employment opportunities.6 UNESCO’s recent Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) progress review7 in the Asia and Pacific region indicates similar phenomena, stating that “skills mismatches have grown across the region, and Asia‐Pacific youth are now three to six times more likely than adults to be unemployed”. A recent OECD report supports this evidence, as the “mismatches between employers’ needs and what the education and training system provides lead to skills gaps, over‐reliance on imported labour, domestic unemployment and a less competitive economy”.

Developing a well‐educated and skilled society is key to the successful development of any nation. Education and training have to be responsive and relevant to the demands of employers and requirements of the increasingly changing and unpredictable job market. With a sizeable young population, the Central Asian countries can increase their competitiveness by raising youth employability through a stronger alignment of the outcomes of education and training with the skills requirements of the labour market. It is in this context that this year’s CASIE seeks to examine challenges in skills development in Central Asia, and explore how ICTs can contribute to addressing the issues, such as improving employability, quality of education and training, and create a more labour market responsive and relevant education and training sector.

Centering CASIE 2016 around the theme of ICT‐supported skills development is therefore timely for Central Asia and the global community, and has been reflected and been given considerable attention in the new Education 2030 agenda.8 In this global agenda, skills development is identified as one of the priority areas in achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4) on education9, “ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all”. Specific regard is given to affordable and quality TVET; the acquisition of technical and vocational skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship; as well as elimination of gender disparity and ensuring equal access for the vulnerable. Stemming from the “Shanghai Consensus”10 and further supported by the “Asia Pacific Conference on Education and Training”, the role of ICT has been actively explored to “ensure quality education and skills development for sustainable future”. 11 More recently, the International Conference on ICT and Post‐2015 Education, and its ensuing Qingdao Declaration12 also underscores that “ICT be used to deliver education and training, including TVET, in both formal and nonformal settings, at all times and in all places, as it can improve and diversify learning pathways, improve quality, and further reach vulnerable and underserved groups including rural youth and adults, women and girls, out‐of‐school youth, and people with disabilities”. Thus ICT can pave the way towards lifelong learning opportunities for all, the key guiding principle of the new education agenda.

Given the renewed attention to skills development in Education 2030 agenda and its association with ICT to unleash the full potential for skills development, the CASIE 2016 will focus on the following four themes:

  • ICTs to facilitate open, flexible and blended learning opportunities for all
  • ICTs to support practical oriented authentic learning experiences
  • ICTs to strengthen data‐informed education and training policy development to adapt to job market trends
  • Partnerships for mainstreaming ICTs in education and training

With the theme of Unleashing the Potential of ICT for Skills Development, CASIE 2016 will be organized in Astana, Republic of Kazakhstan on 27‐29 June 2016, in collaboration with the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Korea Education and Research Information Service (KERIS), supported by UNESCO Almaty, UNESCO Tashkent and UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE), as well as Intel Corporation. The Symposium will examine policies, strategies, and initiatives to address the growing need for adequate skills development that meet the demands of today’s and tomorrow’s labour markets. Through various formats, such as plenary and break‐out workshop sessions, the Symposium will serve as an opportunity for the Central Asian countries to further explore the issues surrounding skills development and support to mainstream holistic and effective use of ICT in TVET at the ground level. The daily reflection sessions will bring together participants at all levels, including policy makers, international and national experts in ICT for skills development, TVET teacher educators, and Ministerial officials to discuss shared and individual challenges in order to initiate partnerships, as well as share perspectives on suitable policies and programmes. Collectively, this format would encourage a link between policy, research, and practice.


The CASIE 2016 aims to:

  • bring together national education policy makers, practitioners and development partners to explore the potentials of ICT to strengthen education and training system in the region
  • provide a platform for the Central Asian republics to discuss ongoing challenges and identify possible solutions for relevant and demanded skills development, with a particular focus on effective utilization of ICT in TVET
  • promote collaboration and partnerships among the Central Asian countries in the identification of solutions in response to similar issues and challenges toward effective and efficient use of ICT in TVET


Given the renewed attention to skills development in Education 2030 agenda and its association with ICT to unleash the full potential for skills development, the CASIE 2016 will focus on the following four themes:

  • ICTs to facilitate open, flexible and blended learning opportunities for all
  • ICTs to support practical oriented authentic learning experiences
  • ICTs to strengthen data‐informed education and training policy development to adapt to job market trends
  • Partnerships for mainstreaming ICTs in education and training

Language of the Symposium

Russian and English with simultaneous translation in both languages


  • Participating countries: Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Republic of Uzbekistan.
  • Three participants from each of the six countries: 1) Policy Maker (e.g. high level official from a ministry of education which governs TVET), 2) Head of TVET division, 3) Head of ICT‐in‐Education Division. More participants from the host country might be present.
  • Officials from the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Kazakhstan
  • Representatives from the Korea Research and Education Information Service (KERIS)
  • Experts from UNESCO and other international organizations/NGOs
  • Partner representatives from the private sector


Expected Outputs

A publication containing the following will be produced and disseminated:

  • A status review of issues and trends in skills development of the Central Asian countries, with special focus on the use of ICT in education and training
  • Promising cases from the region and beyond
  • Policy recommendations from workshop
  • Follow‐up activities for cooperation



The Symposium is organized by UNESCO Bangkok and Almaty Office, with the Secretariat located in UNESCO Bangkok.


Keynote presentation:

◊ UNESCO's Strategy for TVET: Digital vision for skills development (Mr Libing Wang, Chief, EISD, UNESCO Bangkok)  -  pdf, 1.7mb

Country level reporting:

UNESCO synthesis of country status from the pre-symposium surveys (Ms. Jonghwi Park and Mr. Miron Bhowmik, ICT in Education, UNESCO Bangkok, Thailand)

♦  Country Report: Kazakhstan  -  pdf, 953kb
♦  Country Report: Kyrgyz Republic  -  pdf, 1mb
♦  Country Report: Mongolia  -  pdf, 770kb
♦  Country Report: Tajisktan  -  pdf, 1.9mb
♦  Country Report: Uzbekistan  -  pdf, 1.4mb

Plenary Session 1: Providing open, flexible and blended learning opportunities for all

♦  1.1 Korean Open CourseWare and ASEAN Cyber University Project (Mr Sanghyun Jang, Chief, Section for ICT in Higher Education, KERIS)   -  pdf, 2.3mb

♦  1.2 Provision of Open Educational Resources for Secondary Special Education in the Republic of Uzbekistan (Mr Uktam Karimov, Professor, Information Library System Department, Tashkent University of Information Technologies)  -  pdf, 2mb

♦  1.3 Promotion of equitable access to education and skills development by means of ICT (Ms Natalia Amelina, Programme Specialist, UNESCO IITE)  -  pdf, 3.6mb

Plenary Session 2: Supporting practice oriented authentic learning experiences

♦  2.1 Korean TVET case: interactive and differentiated e-learning using emerging technologies (Dr Junghyun An, Research Professor, Online Lifelong Education Institute, Korea University of Technology and Education)  -  pdf, 1.6mb

♦  2.2 Technologies for bridging the gap between the school and the workplace (Professor Pierre Dillenbourg, CHILI Lab, EPFL, Centre for Digital Education, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology)  -  [Vimeo link]

♦  2.3 Employing practical digital approaches to develop an institutional pedagogical strategy for teachers (Ms Satu Jarvinen, Expert, Digital Learning and International Affairs, Omnia, Finland)  -  pdf, 704kb

Plenary Session 3: Strengthening data-informed education and training policy development

♦  3.1 Developing a labour market information system in Mongolia: Do the TVET institutions benefit from it? (Dr Javzan Sukhbaatar, Vice President for Research, Development, and Cooperation, Institute of Finance and Economics, Mongolia)  -  pdf, 418kb

♦  3.2 Enhancing the use of data and NQF for better skills’ policies in Central Asia (Mr Arnault Pretet, Project Co-ordinator, Eurasia, Global Relations, OECD)  -  pdf, 0.9mb

♦  3.3 Alignment of labour market information system and TVET policies (Mr Eunsang Cho, Programme Specialist, TVET, UNESCO Bangkok)  -  pdf, 725kb


♦  Kazakhstan  -  pdf, 75kb
♦  Kyrgyzstan  -  pdf, 158kb
♦  Mongolia  -  pdf, 148kb
♦  Tajikistan  -  pdf, 78kb
♦  Uzbekistan  -  pdf, 60kb

Reflection session:


Plenary Session 4: Building partnerships for mainstreaming ICTs in education and training

♦  4.1 Partnership between APEC Petrotechnic and the labour market (Mr Nurgali Arshabekov, Acting CEO, NJSC Holding "Kasipkor")  -  pdf, 654kb

♦  4.2 Adaptive Learning: The Essential Element for Comprehensive Development (Mr Mikhail Vilkov, Intel Kazakhstan)  -  pdf, 1.02mb

♦  4.3 UNESCO Central Asia partnerships (Ms Aigul Khalafova, Education Officer, UNESCO Almaty; Ms Bakhtiyor Namazov, Education Programme Specialist, UNESCO Tashkent)  -  pdf, 446kb