The Royal Agricultural University has entered into a long-term partnership with the Uzbekistan Ministry of Agriculture to launch the International Agriculture University (IAU) in Tashkent.
The agreement was signed by RAU Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter McCaffery via video link during a meeting with Mr Jamshid Khodjaev, Uzbekistan’s Minister of Agriculture.
The IAU aims to lead the reform of agricultural higher education in Uzbekistan and promote agriculture’s role in Uzbekistan’s transitional economy and society.
The partnership will give IAU students an equivalent educational experience to those at the RAU through a blend of online and face-to-face lectures and resources. Some of the RAU’s existing degree programmes will be franchised and new degrees and modules tailored to Uzbekistan’s conditions and trade ambitions will be developed.
Professor McCaffery said: “The RAU is very proud to have been selected as a founding partner of IAU. For much of its 177-year history, the RAU has sought to collaborate with agricultural experts globally to ensure that students receive a world-class education that is both international in outlook and local in relevance and applicability.
“This new partnership continues this tradition, ensuring that students at the International Agriculture University receive the best of both worlds.”
The Uzbekistani Ministry of Agriculture and the RAU signed a memorandum of understanding last year, outlining the intent to cooperate, and a delegation from Uzbekistan visited the RAU last November to further discussions.
As well as having a tour of the University’s facilities, delegates were also given a demonstration of the RAU’s new International Virtual Learning Environment and blended approach to module delivery which has already been used to teach RAU students at partner universities in China. A similar system is now being developed with IAU to provide online resources, lectures, and other support.
Professor Munira Aminova, Acting Rector of IAU, said: “Today’s [June 16] signing of the Partnership Agreement by the two founding members – the RAU and the Uzbekistan Ministry of Agriculture – is a turning point in the partnership to fully establish the International Agriculture University.
“Agriculture accounts for about 28% of Uzbekistan’s GDP and the Uzbek Government is keen to further transform its agriculture into becoming a more competitive and export-oriented sector. It has also committed to introduce measures to enhance food security and ensure sustainability of the agri-food ecosystem. The IAU will be a hub for education and research, training, and continuous learning in the area of agriculture for Uzbekistan.
“We are glad to be cooperating with such a well-respected partner as the RAU, which has almost 200 years’ experience in teaching and research in this area, and we are looking forward to building on this strong foundation to provide high quality, science-based and practice-oriented, higher education as well as to advance research, best practice, and training that will add value and give new opportunities to both institutions.”
The partnership also follows a twinning initiative with the Ukrainian Agricultural University which was announced in May.