AIMS OF THE PROJECT

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. 


To
retrain 

 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. 

To
establish

7 accredited master programmes in “HRM and Talent Development” (TALENT). The details of the curriculum will be developed in the Preparation workpackage. The programme will be 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. 

To
make

an informal network of EU and CA teachers. Within the project, CA teachers working on the same or similar courses will come together in workgroups and HRM workshops with the EU teachers. Academic discussion and comparative HRM is to be stimulated. In Y3 of the project, the network will aim for the systematisation of CA HRM research.


PROJECT ACTIVITIES AND METHODOLOGY:

In each of the 6 CA universities a master programm on “HRM and Talent Development” (TALENT) is to be developed. This involves 8 core courses (40 ECTS), which will be new and common for all 7 CA universities; 10 supplementary courses (50 ECTS), which will be chosen from the pool of existing courses within each university; and a master thesis (30 ECTS).

The core courses will be on (a) personnel psychology (recruitment, assessment, career planning, remuneration systems, personnel information systems); (b) psychology/sociology of work and organisation; (c) health and safety (rules, legislation, organisation, control and sanction systems); (d) labour law, social law, employment relations. Transversally, in each university, the full package of courses should contain: (i) seminars, built up with small scale research, done by the students and teachers; (ii) research methods and guidance for the master thesis; (iii) intercultural and inter-social comparisons (i.c. international differences in HRM, and differences in applicability of HRM).

The project will start with the General Project Coordinator (GPC) seeing the management and teachers of each CA university separately (November-December 2018, Y1 M1&2). An analysis of the capacities of each university will be made, especially with respect to (a) the present expertise, language skills and workload of the teachers; (b) possible supporting courses and their syllabi; (c) the specific status and rules of each university. This analysis will be sent to all partners.

The Kick-off meeting (Brussels, January 2019, Y1 M3) will settle on (a) the common definition of the 8 core courses and the 10 supplementary courses per university; (b) a division of labour between the 4 EU-universities (in principle: each university taking the lead for two core courses (two workgroups)); (c) a detailed workplan for all workgroups, and guidelines on the format of the syllabi; (d) the structure of the knowledge sharing platform (done by NU, P5).

With the first Course Development Meeting (Tashkent, March 2019, Y1 M5), the actual syllabus writing will take-off. The respective EU-coaches of each workgroup will review with their 7 CA colleagues the basic topics of the syllabus and have a discussion and exchange of ideas. On the knowledge sharing platform, from March to September, the EU teachers will follow the progress of each teacher, and comment on it.

By the meeting in Astana, in September 2019 (Y1 M11), the syllabi must be ready, i.e. in a format that, for each university, is in line with the required format for accreditation. All syllabi of the 7 CA universities must be formally approved. The accreditation process can then start. The 7 accreditations should be obtained by the meeting in June 2020 (Y2 M8).

During Y1 and Y2, several practical/logistic issues will also be handled (first within the workgroups, then centralised within the PCT): (i) equipment for the teachers and their courses; (ii) translation of reader texts; (iii) organisational requirements for the master programmes, including the libraries and secretariats.

By September 2020 (Y2 M11), the master programme in 7 CA universities will start. After Semester 1 (February 2021, Y3 M4) and after Semester 2 (June 2021, Y3 M8), in each university, there will be a teachers’ and a students’ evaluation of the programme.


During Y2 and Y3, there will be a deepening of the HRM knowledge. In September 2019 (Y1 M11), in Astana, the EU teachers will organise the first HRM workshop. In June 2020 (Y2 M8, Pavlodar), September 2020 (Y2 M11, Bukhara), February 2021 (Y3 M4, Bishkek), June 2021 (Y3 M8, Tashkent) and September 2021 (Y3 M11, Almaty), there will each time be an HRM workshop, organised by the CA teachers. Each of these workshops will concentrate on a specific topic of the HRM courses and on specificities or difficulties in applying HRM in the CA context. Each workshop will be video recorded. The host university will make workshop proceedings.

In addition to the – for accreditation required – syllabi, the CA teachers will develop course introductory texts. These texts could include CA examples and small-scale research results. All the texts together will be a full introduction to the HRM master programme. In February 2020, there will be a second meeting of the Course Development workgroups, this time divided over the 4 EU universities. During this meeting, the general frame of the introductory text for each course will be discussed and decided upon. After the meeting, the progress of the course introductory texts will be coordinated on the knowledge sharing platform. In each PCT meeting, the progress will be evaluated. By the meeting of February 2021 (Y3 M4), the text for each course must be ready. In September 2021 (Y3 M11) all texts must be edited and translated.

With the progress of the project, stakeholders, potential students and the public will be increasingly involved. In February 2019, Y1 M4, AUCA (P10, Bishkek) will install the project website. Besides the project and its basic workplan, the website will introduce HRM and the TALENT programme in the 7 CA universities. Later it will also include the syllabi, the introductory texts, and the video-recorded workshops and their proceedings. The main information on this website should be in five languages (EN, RU, KZ, UZ, KG).

Each CA university will be responsible for having a significant number of regional key stakeholders attending the workshop at its university. In the workshops, stakeholders should have the role of disputant.

The master programme organisation also includes foreseeing internships for students. Basically, internships will be in the university’s region. Within the project management, it will also be discussed to look for internships within EU organisations. For the first year of the master programme, each university will be responsible for including the programme into its general offer of master programmes. In each university, a 20 students cohort should be selected for enrolment. After the first year of the programme, 3 national promotion videos on TALENT will be made. This material is to be publicised on social media. 

1

To catch the interest of the public and to inform potential students. The project website will develop an introduction to HRM in the CA context, illustrated with examples and case studies. It will be – partly – made available in 5 languages (EN, RU, KZ, UZ and KG).

2

To make trade unions, employers and government institutes acquainted with HRM. Stakeholders will be involved in the HRM workshops as disputants with the EU and CA teachers.

3

To guarantee the sustainability of each master programme. In Y3, each CA university will prepare a business plan for its HRM master 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.