Developing HRM education in Central Asia

Mission Statement 

The basic aim of the TALENT Erasmus+ project (December 2018 – November 2021) is to establish a two-year master programme in HRM in six universities in Central Asia. 

 Coached by EU universities in Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany and Greece, six universities in Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Uzbekistan are developing an innovative academic environment to teach and study HRM insights and practices adapted to the needs and specificities of the socio-economic challenges the Central Asian region is confronted with. The first cohort of students is expected to start its education in September 2020. 

Through its various objectives and activities, such as teacher trainings and seminars, the TALENT project intends to develop a network between universities and public and private actors allowing for a long-lasting exchange of expertise in HRM as well as to create the incentives for mobilities between the partner universities of students, teachers and researchers interested in HRM in Central Asia. 


While Central Asian (CA) countries have a growing education system, they suffer from a malfunctioning labour market, with large parts of graduates unable to find qualified work and unable to develop their talent within their job. This problem is increasingly recognised by CA government institutions and employers. Universities have a double interest in developing HRM master programmes: (a) graduates can be locally or nationally employed as HRM specialists, and (b) these graduates can study and improve the labour market within the university’s region. However, an HRM master programme only makes fully sense if it is adapted and backed up with local experience and research. The latter point requires cooperation with i.c. EU universities and cooperation between the CA universities. With this context, the project has three main objectives:


teachers from 6 CA universities in 8 HRM related courses. The CA teachers will be made deeper acquainted with EU HRM research and practice. The CA teachers will be encouraged to develop comparative courses, and to question what HRM in the EU or western context takes for granted. Mainly, the teachers will develop syllabi and introductory texts to their courses. In the margin of the project, they will be stimulated to set up research in HRM. 


6 accredited master programmes in “HRM and Talent Development” (TALENT). The details of the curriculum have been developed in Year 1 of the project. The programme is oriented towards giving students a background in HRM that enables them to scientifically analyse an organisation and to set up methods for improving both the situation of employees and the economic efficiency of the organisation. 


an informal network of EU and CA teachers. Within the project, CA teachers working on the same or similar courses are coming together in workgroups and HRM seminars with the EU teachers. Academic discussion and comparative HRM is being stimulated. In Year 3 of the project, the network will aim for the systematisation of CA HRM research.


Seminar “HR Practices and Challenges in Central Asia”

September 11, 2019

Human Resource Management is an important function in any organization – addressing issues of Talent Management, Recruitment and Retention, Training and Development, and Change Management. Often there are questions that organizations and companies struggle to answer in the context of rapid change brought about by the impact of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. Such issues are not unique to any geography and also to Central Asia.


In each of the 6 CA universities a master programme on “HRM and Talent Development” (TALENT) is being developed (120 ECTS). This involves 8 HRM specific courses (40 ECTS), which are new and common for all 6 CA universities; supplementary and supportive courses (40 ECTS), which are chosen from the pool of existing courses within each university; internship (10 ECTS), and a master thesis (30 ECTS). 

The 8 HRM specific courses are being developed in 4 Workgroups (2 courses per workgroup). Each CA university has one representative in each workgroup. Each workgroup is coached by one of the four EU universities. The courses are (1a) Strategic HRM, (1b) Comparative HRM; (2a) Organisational behaviour and leadership, (2b) Work, organisations and society; (3a) Labour law, (3b) Employment relations; (4a) Applied HRM, (4b) Talent management. 

In two Course Development Meetings (Tashkent, March 2019; EU cities, February 2020) and via a knowledge sharing platform, first the course syllabi and then introductory texts, readers and case studies are being developed. 

On a more formal and organisational level, licences and accreditations are being prepared and acquired for the courses to start in all 6 CA universities by September 2020. 

The meetings of the project are also being used to have a deepening of the HRM knowledge in Central Asia. There are 7 seminars within project time, each with a topic that is of special interest for the organising CA university and its regional stakeholders. This will allow to catch the interest of the public and to inform potential students. 

To guarantee the sustainability of each master programme, each CA university will prepare a business plan for its HRM master programme. This will be based on a further need analysis in each region and on feedback from students during the first year of the programme. A selection of stakeholders will be made part of a board that supports the university management in making strategical choices in the further development of the programme, i.c. after the end of the project. Stakeholders will anyway be encouraged to be the promotors of the master programme, and the employers of future graduates. 

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