Higher education curriculum in Kyrgyzstan often does not align with the needs of a rapidly changing learning environment that embraces digital instruction. Through the Central Asia University Partnerships Program (UniCEN), administered by American Councils for International Education and funded by the U.S. State Department through the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent, the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey partnered with the Ala-Too University to develop relevant and modern curricula for Kyrygyzstan’s higher education. Starting in September 2020, the two universities launched the Advancing Collaboration, Teaching, and Learning in Kyrgyzstan (ACTLK) project, where a team of seven U.S. and seven Kyrgyzstani faculty and students shared best practices in qualitative research, study design, and data presentation. Through Middlebury’s Digital Learning and Inquiry Office, the project team assessed higher education needs and shared their best practices for online education.
In January 2021, the ACTLK team distributed a survey to Ala-Too University to determine how online learning and remote education training was being received by faculty. Based on this survey, the ACTLK team focused on improving online education in Kyrgyzstan. Middlebury is assisting Ala-Too University in planning conferences. In July 2021, 25 faculty from universities in Kyrgyzstan gathered at Ala-Too University to share teaching techniques and build a community of educators.