Specific Project Objectives

To build up the network of LLL UNICO Language Centres for Excellence among the eleven universities in the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan, and the Siberian Federal District of the Russian Federation as accelerators of economic growth in the remote territories with the view of the changes in society at large in terms of new opportunities in the labour market and personal development. Wider Objective To contribute to modernization of higher education in Partner Countries by convergence with EU development in the field of education in general and LLL in particular. Summary of the Project UNICO project aim is to contribute to modernization of higher education in Partner Countries by convergence with EU developments in the field of education in general and LLL in particular, deriving from the ‘Europe 2020’ strategy, the strategic framework for EU cooperation in education (‘ET 2020’) and the Bologna process. The specific objective is to build up a network of university LLL language centres for wider population’s new career opportunities and personal development (UNICO: universities-careers-opportunities) with key partners in three countries involved with the purpose of international cooperation and for a permanent modernization process not only at the HEIs, but with the view of the changes in society at large in terms of new opportunities in the labour market, in the academic and scientific world, etc.

Our proposal is a call for action in the remote, widely distributed geographically districts with rigorous climate in terms of the dialogue between the HEIs, authorities and other stakeholders, and EU partners about support of language learners, including circles at risk of social exclusion such as the unemployed and physically challenged people, as well as education professionals, sports and culture institutions, businesses, authorities, etc. We take into account that language knowledge will pave the path to better careers of individuals and help them to live, study and work abroad as well as give additional stimulating opportunities at home. We consider UNICO centres as Centres for Excellence aimed at guaranteeing excellent teaching practice. Each UNICO centre will become embedded in regional social and economic fabric as well as in education and training systems and include 1) English language educational service; 2) Technological support service; 3) Resource centre service: learning materials + website and e-database support; 4) Assessment and examination office service; 5) Out-reach coordinators’ service; 6) Employment consultancy service.

The main project OUTPUTS and OUTCOMES

  • Effective Project Management structures to Secure UNICO Success
  • Strong project teams with high capacity to work and desire for the success.
  • 11 UNICO Language Centres. They are:
    • Well-equipped, each with a proper resource centre
    • Capable to satisfy language demand in their regions
    • Sustainable in the future, after the finishing of the project – steady income flow, adequate response to changes in demands, etc.
  • Introduction of the best European and world experience in life-long learning into activities of the UNICO Centres.
  • Introduction of the best European and world experience in English Language Teaching into activities of the UNICO Centres.
  • Introduction of the best experience in Information & Communication Technology into activities of the UNICO Centres.
  • Preparation of the highly qualified staff to work in the UNICO Centres.
  • Wide promotion and dissemination of new ELT methodologies within each institution & region (circles in the water).
  • Successful programme of exploitation realized.

The project rationale

The project tries to boost lifelong learning in the remote districts with severe climate in the Central Asia and Russia through support of language learners (various professionals, circles at risk of social exclusion, etc), providing the dialogue between the HEIs and stakeholders in these territories and EU partners.

The areas of six subjects of the Siberian Federal District (Tomsk, Barnaul, Kemerovo, Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk and Chita), Bishkek, the capital city of Kyrgyzstan and Naryn, the distant Kyrgyz town, which is not far from the border of China, and Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, - all represent a huge territory that can be geographically compared to a quarter of Europe. The current level (2012) of unemployment among the economically active population is over 10% in Russia, around 12 % in Kyrgyzstan and till 70% for the unemployed 15-24 year-olds in Tajikistan.

On the other hand, in 2010 only 3,98% of the Siberian Federal District population confirmed the knowledge of the English language and 10% of those who confirmed the knowledge at all. Central Asia recognises similar arrearage in the field. The demand for foreign languages, primarily English, is huge in many sectors. The survey carried out in spring 2012 in Siberia revealed that 95% of the respondents considered foreign languages knowledge as a must for professional and individual perspectives. All the partner HEIs have considerable experience in shaping language policy in their regions.

The project beneficiaries

Wide circles will benefit from the UNICO project:

  1. 11 partner universities: the UNICO network will unite up to 100 trained managers and teachers; at least 15 out-reach UNICO offices will be opened in non-urban districts;
  2. wider educational professionals: at least 20 more HEIs and other educational institutions will be involved into UNICO activities - conferences, training, open discussions, round tables, web-seminars, etc.; about 200 university professionals and 200 undergraduates will be trained, more than 50% will get internationally recognized certificates;
  3. vulnerable groups at risk of social exclusion: the individuals with special needs, the unemployed, etc.: at least 30 people will be trained;
  4. non-university adult communities: about 50 people will become language learners;
  5. small, medium and large businesses: about 100 business actors (industry, banks, catering, hotels, etc.) will be involved;
  6. sports /cultural organizations: about 50 people will be trained;
  7. local labour markets and employment agencies: agreements between universities and different departments of civil service will be signed;
  8. politicians / local and national authorities: contribution to openness of particular territories to the world through participation in international forums, economic and educational projects;
  9. civil society at large: new competences will pave new opportunities and contribute to decline in unemployment;
  10. most UNICO learners: learners' satisfaction rate will reach 95%.

The project's content and methodology

The network of UNICO lifelong language centres unites educational language centres in eleven universities, embedded in the regional socio-economic fabric of the three countries and will include eleven UNICO centres in the cities of Barnaul, Bishkek, Chita, Dushanbe, Kemerovo, Krasnoyarsk, Naryn, Novosibirsk, and Tomsk. The Dushanbe UNICO centre has 3 subdivisions which will meet the needs of three large territories in the country: Sugd territory (Russian-Tajik Slavonic University); Hatlon territory (Tajik State Institute of Languages), and the territory of the Thirteen Regions of Republican Subordination (Tajik State University of Commerce).

WHY NETWORK? Numerous forms of interaction between UNICO partners are being implemented in an educational environment as self-organizing structures capable of receiving, generating, accumulating and developing new knowledge, skills and competences on the strength of the of the 16 parties involved.

All the three varieties of lifelong education will be provided in the centres: (а) formal education, leading to an internationally recognized certificate in regard to language education; (b) non-formal education, which is not usually recognised with a university certificate; (c) informal education, or a learner’s autonomous language learning, which is not necessarily in pursuit of any specific goal.

By the end of the project each UNICO Center of Excellence will provide the following services:

  1. English language educational service,
  2. Technological support service,
  3. Resource centre service: learning materials + website and e-database support,
  4. Assessment and examination office service,
  5. Out-reach coordinators’ service,
  6. Orientation with employment.

Content and Methodology

English language educational service. Attractive and relevant programmes for different target groups have been being designed and introduced in all the Centers. A sharing of information, knowledge, methodology, curricula, as well as material, intellectual and organizational resources has been organised.

Technological support services in the UNICO Centers: technologies will be adapted to the local needs of learners; they will provide learning in non-urban territories and guarantee discussion and feedback between all the project players.

Interactive resource centre services. Learning materials have been being carefully selected: the latest electronic dictionaries, encyclopedias, multimedia courses, including audio and video materials, electronic editions of books, newspapers and magazines, educational sites, and forums will be at learners’ disposal.

Assessment and Examination office services. A clear set of mechanisms will be developed for learners’ assessment on formal and in-formal levels; and the formal Cambridge Examination system will be introduced in every centre. Innovative technologies - portfolio, WIKI and other Web 2.0 technology, MOODLE – platform, etc. will provide the tools for peer- and self-evaluation and learning facilitation.

Each UNICO Centre of Excellence collects information from career centres, answering the labour markets needs. A manager will be responsible for liaison with policy-makers, employers and social care services.

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