Tashkent Financial Institute
A partnership between Texas A&M University (TAMU), College Station, Texas and Tashkent Finance Institute (TFI) located in Tashkent, Uzbekistan was formed in 2003 with funding through The Freedom Support Educational Partnership Program beginning in September. Unused resources from an earlier project (funded by a 1999 NIS College and University Partnership Program for Turkmenistan) were used until August 2003 to initiate the Tashkent Financial Institute Project.
Tashkent Financial Institute Project
The Tashkent Financial Institute Project requires TAMU technical assistance in restructuring the TFI business program (curricula, pedagogy, classroom infrastructure, faculty, and administration) to bring its accounting and finance programs to international standards consistent with a free market democratic system. The project focus is primarily on the TFI graduate level. Project progress will bring landmark changes to TFI graduate curriculum and academic administrative structure.
By restructuring the graduate program before reforming the undergraduate program, a “train the trainer” approach along with on-going relationships with TAMU will achieve total restructuring at TFI in the long term. Already, TFI administration has been restructured and new graduate Accounting and Finance curricula have been designed for fall 2003 implementation. Six TFI faculty members were trained in the U.S. prior to fall 2003. These faculty members began offering some of the prerequisite and core graduate business courses during the fall 2003 phase-in. The Tashkent Financial Institute Project requires TAMU technical assistance in restructuring the TFI business program (curricula, pedagogy, classroom infrastructure, faculty and administration) to bring its accounting and finance programs to international standards consistent with a free market democratic system. The project focus is primarily on the TFI graduate level. Project progress will bring landmark changes to TFI graduate curriculum and academic administrative structure.
Project objectives include a three-year program that focuses on TFI’s new mission: to offer international standard business education in Uzbekistan and set the stage for the growth of a strong private sector based on a rule of law and transparency. The TAMU objective is to support the present institutional development program by enhancing the expertise of young, reform-minded business and English language faculty who have had little formal education in the free enterprise system. Concurrently, modern teaching techniques will be introduced via enhanced classroom infrastructure. To ensure graduates will be recognized as business resources of international caliber at home and abroad, the existing graduate program will be made comprehensive and intensive.
- Reform and enhance expertise of key TFI faculty through semester-long graduate level training in accounting, economics, and finance at Mays Business School (TAMU)
- Train selected TFI English language faculty in semester-long technical writing and business communication skills require of modern business graduates
- Raise the quality of classroom infrastructure in a key lecture hall in accounting, banking, and finance departments at three different TFI sites to international standards
- Develop executive level, short-term business (free market) training programs in order to provide “continuing education” to the Uzbek business community on the one hand and program sustainability on the other
- Given the strong academic emphasis on banking, and the lack of real experience in bank operation and management, a Mays professor of banking will train TFI faculty and student in the operation a “bank game”
- Train TFI faculty in the essentials of business case development, case analysis, writing, and teaching. Because business education without the use of domestic business cases in not very meaningful, training in business case development is crucial
- Enhance the TFI library through a massive business book drive/donation at TAMU
The anticipated benefits of this partnership between TAMU and TFI will lead to unprecedented change in the structure and content of the TFI graduate curriculum instituted in fall 2003.
Anticipated benefits for Tashkent Financial Institute include:
- Augmenting existing skills of 12 English proficient faculty (four per semester in each year of the three-year program) to develop real expertise in accounting, banking, finance and micro and macro economics for the Accounting and Finance graduate programs.
- Training six (two per year of the three-year program) English language faculty for a semester each in technical writing and business communications, which they will then teach to fellow faculty, since the program’s objective is to offer at least one section of the masters programs in English with the long-term goal of teaching the whole program in English.
- Develop business cases, analysis and teaching skills of TFI faculty, and exposing banking faculty and students to an internationally recognized bank simulation game.
- Raising the technology level in three business classrooms to international standards to students are exposed to varying methods of instruction and use of multimedia.
- Beef up The TFI library collection of American business textbooks.
- Continuing interaction with U.S. business faculty to keep TFI curriculum current.
- Develop national and international recognition as a quality institution of accounting and finance.
- Develop international business savvy students and executives who will form the backbone of Uzbekistan’s transition economy.
Anticipated benefits for Texas A&M University:
- Deepening faculty expertise in Uzbekistan’s business environment and practices
- Enhance professional development through interaction with TFI administrators, faculty, and students and the business community.
- Develop Uzbek business cases jointly with TFI could be used in the U.S.
Major program objectives are being addressed to attain the following long-term goals. The goals are as follows:
- Support the ability of Uzbek academic institutions to contribute to the creation of democratic institutions, rule of law and a climate hospitable to foreign investment
- Advance mutual understanding between the U.S. and Uzbekistan by supporting linkages that provide true reciprocity and significant mutual benefit
- Emphasize diversity in the project’s educational exchanges
- Foster post-secondary institutional academic development by supporting linkages that promise to advance scholarship and teaching
- Encourage long-term impact on all partner institutions through linkages that promise sustainability
Julian Gaspar, Director of the Center for International Business Studies (Mays Business School) at TAMU will be the U.S. Director and will lead this initiative. Since 1991, Gaspar has designed and implemented international academic business programs for graduate and undergraduate students, faculty members, and business executives. He directed a USAID project in Indonesia to enhance faculty skills using the “train the trainers” philosophy. Gaspar was the key investigator on a USIA project in St. Petersburg, Russia to establish the Russian-American Graduate School of Management that is already producing a new breed of business graduates meeting the high demands of Russia’s emerging economy. Recently, he played the key role in assisting Turkmenistan to develop an international acceptable business curriculum, which met the rigid requirements of the Turkmenistan Ministry of Education. He is currently implementing the first year phase of the TFI project.
Alisher Vakhabov, Vice Rector of TFI will be the Uzbek Project Director and responsible for restructuring TFI. Before becoming Vice Rector of TFI in 2002, Vakhabov was Dean of the Finance and Economics Faculty at TFI. He is a consultant with the World Bank and has long advocated academic reform of Uzbek institutions. Vakhabov was trained as an economist by one of Russia’s foremost institutes of higher learning. He was an economic analyst for the EU TACIS Food and Agricultural Policy Advisory Unit, Tashkent. Vakhabov participated in the Grains Productivity Improvement Project Funded by the Asian Development Bank in Uzbekistan. He has traveled extensively in Europe and Asia in his capacity as professor, director and dean of TFI.
Both Vakhabov and Gaspar have worked together successfully to develop a reformed masters curriculum in accounting and finance and productive faculty exchange programs between the two institutions.
Similar Features and Qualities
The State of Texas and Uzbekistan share similar features and qualities including natural resource bases equally rich in agriculture, natural gas, and petroleum. Other features and qualities include:
- The TAMU System has a long history of overseas cooperation with programs being conducted in over 65 countries
- TAMU Mays Business School has 12 years of experience in international business education, especially in Russia, Indonesia, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan
- The TAMU Department of Agricultural Economics is rapidly expanding toward greater international dimensions and focus
- A key dimension of Uzbekistan’s economic activity is agricultural
- TFI is a leading regional institution of finance specializing in accounting, auditing, banking, insurance, and taxation.