University of Central Asia Signs Milestone Curriculum Development Agreement with Seneca College, Canada

The University of Central Asia (UCA) signed a memorandum of understanding on 7 July 2015 with Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology, located in Toronto, Canada to develop the English, mathematics and science curriculum for UCA’s first year Preparatory Programme. The programme will begin when UCA admits its first cohort of undergraduate students at its campus in Naryn, Kyrgyz Republic next year.
The agreement was signed by Mr Shamsh Kassim-Lakha, Executive Chairman of the UCA Board Executive Committee, and Mr David Agnew, President of Seneca College at a ceremony at UCA’s Central Administration Office in Bishkek. Also in attendance were UCA Director General and Dean of Graduate Studies, Dr Bohdan Krawchenko, Dr Ariff Kachra, Dean of Academic Affairs and Seneca College faculty who have already begun working sessions with UCA staff.
“This partnership represents a critical step forward in the delivery of UCA’s Preparatory Programme and in faculty development.  Seneca will help upgrade Central Asian students who go through 11 years of education before university, instead of 12 years completed by international students. This is the first of several global and regional partnerships planned by UCA to ensure its programmes meet the highest international standards” said Kassim-Lakha.
Expressing his pleasure at the occasion, Agnew said, “This agreement embodies Seneca’s commitment to build bridges and networks with high quality institutions around the world. We are committed to outstanding academic programmes and fostering a global perspective, and look forward to a successful collaboration.”
Under the agreement, Seneca will assess the needs of Central Asian students for any additional academic preparation for university level education, develop the one year English, math and science curricula, and test and adjust modules as necessary. Seneca will also develop and deliver a professional development programme for UCA faculty, including training in Central Asia and Canada, in-class assessments and longer term online resource and videoconferencing support.
The Preparatory Programme is an enrichment programme designed to ensure that UCA students who need additional support attain internationally competitive levels and develop key study and research skills necessary to succeed at university. Qualifying students with 12 years of education will be exempt from the programme, provided assessment by UCA confirms they are sufficiently prepared.
With campuses throughout the Greater Toronto Area, Canada’s Seneca College’s size and diversity give students the advantage of partnerships with industry leaders, the latest in hands-on computer technology, a variety of class sizes, and full-time, part-time and continuing education options. Education should be flexible and accessible, so Seneca also employs various methods of teaching, ranging from in-class lectures and online learning to co-op and field placements in programmes related to applied arts, business, financial services and technology.
The partnership between UCA and Seneca College is undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada, provided through Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada and Aga Khan Foundation, Canada..
This strengthens UCA’s existing ties with Canada, which supports several UCA research and teaching initiatives in Central Asia and Afghanistan through the Department of Foreign Affairs Trade and Development (DFATD) and the International Development Research Centre, including support to establish the University’s Institute of Public Policy and Administration. DFATD has also supported UCA partnerships with the University of British Columbia, Carleton University and the University of Alberta.
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