The Independent Agency for Accreditation and Rating (IAAR) has developed an effective system of rating studies of education programs by areas and levels of training, which has been successfully used since 2014 in assessing the quality of higher and postgraduate education. The IAAR rating is considered as a tool for assessing the HEI’s performance, its ability to satisfy state demand, and at the institutional level it is viewed as an opportunity to improve quality management, academic services monitoring, recognition of programs and competitiveness of the teaching staff.
The IAAR rating system as a digital technology for ranking education programs was adapted and approved by the Ministry of Education and Science, and first applied in 2018 to determine the positions of HEI in the Kyrgyz Republic.
The technology of ranking “Independent Rating of HEIs in the Kyrgyz Republic - 2018”, as a tool for quantitative assessment of the academic effectiveness of study programs, as well as institution’s or higher education performance, was used to determine the level of programs competitiveness on 31 specialty, 11 study areas of 17 HEIs of the state. The first ranking of HEIs in Kyrgyzstan indicated that the largest number of competitive programs is related to the following subject areas: “Teacher education” (6 out of 8 specialties), “Culture and art” (4 out of 9 specialties).
The Independent Ranking of HEIs of the Kyrgyz Republic - 2019 presents quantitative and qualitative indicators of 19 institutions of education for 179 undergraduate (specialty) programs and postgraduate programs in 19 areas, while the first ranking produced results for 51 specialists training programs only.
The peculiarity of the HEIs’ independent ranking in the Kyrgyz Republic in 2019 is that it contains the ranking results of study programs previously not ranked as study programs in the medical and agricultural sectors of the economy, and indicates all the programs, identified by HEIs as the most competitive. The leaders in the number of competitive programs are Osh State University (40 programs), Kyrgyz National Agrarian University named after K.I. Scryabin (32), Bishkek Humanitarian University named after academician K. Karasayev (22), Kyrgyz National University named after Zh. Balasagyn (21), Jalal-Abad State University (16), Issyk-Kul State University named after K. Tynistanov (11), Kyrgyz-Uzbek University (9).
Digital ranking of academic programs for specialists training by levels and areas allowed the following results to be presented to school graduates of the Kyrgyz Republic, the academic community, parents and other stakeholders:
- Institutional ranking of HEIs of the Kyrgyz Republic by areas of training.
- Rating of study programs for specialists training by the undergraduate level (specialist).
- Rating of programs for the training of specialists by the level of graduate school (postgraduate school).
- Rating of teachers of HEIs of the Kyrgyz Republic.
The best measures for indicator “High concentration of talented students, teachers and researchers”, including the number of study grants and the qualitative composition of teachers are determined in relation to all programs participating in the ranking. According to the analysis of HEIs data, it may be noted that holders of the "Golden Certificate" opt for the Kyrgyz State Medical Academy named after I.K. Akhunbayev (14 students), Osh State University (2) and the Kyrgyz National University named after Zh. Balasagyn (1). In addition, it should be emphasized that by number of study grants for undergraduate programs, the Jalal-Abad State University holds the leading position (more than 900 grants).
The internationalization of education in HEIs, which is confirmed by the criteria of the "Academic mobility" indicator, develops within more than 40 programs, which accounts for 22% of the total number of programs of the assessment sample. The growth rates of indicators in this aspect are identified in relation to programs of the International Higher School of Medicine, Osh State University, Bishkek Humanitarian University named after academician K. Karasayev, Kyrgyz State Medical Academy named after I.K. Akhunbayev.
Teaching staff at the Kyrgyz State Medical Academy named after I.K. Akhunbayev demonstrates competitiveness of scientific publications (the maximum Hirsch index is 18/25), Osh State University (5/8), M. Ryskulbekov Kyrgyz Economic University (5/5), Kyrgyz State University of Construction, Transport and Architecture named after N. Isanov (4), Kyrgyz National University named after Zh. Balasagyn, ADAM University (3), Kyrgyz State Technical University named after I. Razzakov, Kyrgyz National Agrarian University named after K.I. Skryabin, Osh Humanitarian-Pedagogical Institute named after A. Myrsabekov (maximum Hirsch index - 2).
The ranking of programs, along with the positive trends in higher and postgraduate education, allows to locate the directions of the national system of specialists training that require defining, and maybe revising strategic objectives, focused on meeting demands of society, state and global labor markets.
Today, the challenges of the innovation era, which include meeting the standards for the effectiveness of teaching and learning required for the present and future development of knowledge, technology and transnational education, may be perceived as major benchmarks for higher institutions of education. The formation of "Science 2.0" gradually replaces the existing methods of teaching and studying science under the information revolution trends. Therefore, the interest in a variety of programs for the formation of information competence and training of IT specialists is constantly increasing.
The number of popular academic programs includes undergraduate programs “510600 - Fundamental informatics and information technology”, “510700 - Information systems software and administration”, “590100 - Information security”, which, unfortunately, were not applied by HEIs for ranking.
The IAAR independent rating takes into consideration the diversity of HEIs of the Kyrgyz Republic and their features and contributes to the growth of education service competitiveness, ensures public awareness about the degree of compliance of the education quality with market requirements, teacher recognition and the effectiveness of the HEIs research activities.
The Independent IAAR’s rating for higher institutions of education is focused on improving the quality of education and is an effective tool for measuring success and positioning in the national and international education areas, since the Independent Agency for Accreditation and Rating is planning to conduct an Independent Central Asian HEIs ranking in 2020 onwards.
Shunkeyev K.Sh., Doctor of physics and mathematics, Professor, IAAR first category expert
Niyazova G.B., Project Manager for the HEI Accreditation and Rating Studies, IAAR