Educating Educators on Human Development

10 Jun 2014

imageUNDP in Uzbekistan - Learning about the practical applications of Human Development

Nadira Janibekova is professor of Philosophy and Uzbekistan Culture at the Gulistan State University. Understanding trends in Uzbekistan’s cultural perceptions requires knowledge of the roles individual citizens play in their country. It also requires processing large quantities of statistical data, and understanding the meaning behind that information.

These are some of the skills that Ms. Janibekova and 20 other teachers, students and professionals learnt during the UNDP in Uzbekistan’s 3rd Summer School on Human Development, held this year in the ancient city of Bukhara.

Four three days from the 25th to the 27th of June the schools participants, some new and some veterans from previous annual programmes, enhanced their familiarity of the concept of Human Development, and how it can be better measured and recorded in Uzbekistan.

A concept utilised globally by the UN to measure development, Human Development states that a nation’s development should not be measured only by economic measures, but also by the welfare of individual citizens. In this regard, Human Development suggests that citizens should have access to and benefit from a range of opportunities and chances for happiness and success.

As Uzbekistan quickly approaches the 2015 deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals, making sure that positive changes directly impact the lives of citizens both now and in the future is essential. This is why it is important that teachers like Ms. Janibekova both understand the Human Development concept and know how it can be applied in real life.

“At the school, our particular study group addressed the topic of how to reduce poverty and malnutrition, and through national data we analysed with the Devinfo software programme, we were able to show correlation between GDP and poverty in Uzbekistan,” Ms. Janibekova said during the workshop.

“What we came to understand at the school was that the Millennium Development Goals can indeed be achieved in Uzbekistan, and that Uzbekistan has the right conditions for human development. Of course we need to keep moving ahead, we can’t stop where we are, but we can be proud in the fact that Uzbekistan has made great work in improving human welfare.”

In addition to providing information on technology used to measure development on a national scale, the school also generated conversation on matters that are sometimes not discussed in Uzbekistan society. In particular, the school encouraged students to share their thoughts on topics surrounding gender.

“The Human Development school is an great opportunity for participants, especially young participants, to not just expand on their skills but also how they think on some most topical issues of today,” said school facilitator and participant of previous schools Abbos Sulaymanov.

“I was fortunate to be involved in a group that discussed the need to empower Uzbekistan’s women and strengthen their role in society – it was a productive exchange that generated some unique, practical ideas.”

While this year’s school is over, the participants returning to their homes and communities showed great interest encouraging greater awareness of the Human Development concept among their peers. Encouraging knowledge sharing is one of the school’s most important outcomes, said school facilitator Anton Kostyuchenko.

“The point of the summer school is the development of society through the development of individuals,” Mr. Kostyuchenko said. “I have participated in the school three times, previously as a student and now as a facilitator, and I have shared all the knowledge I’ve received with others. I’m sure that in coming years the current students will share their knowledge among their peers in communities.”

Human Development summer and winter schools have been conducted by UNDP in Uzbekistan since 2010, with the involvement of over 387 students (173 women), and have been an important means to raise awareness of the Human Development concept within Uzbekistan. Please visit the Human Development section of the UNDP in Uzbekistan website to learn more about Uzbekistan’s progress in this field.