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Advancements and Achievements: Samarkand State Institute of Foreign Languages in the Global Academic Sphere

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Ruzikulov Fazliddin Shukurovich

The Samarkand State Institute of Foreign Languages takes the helm as the foremost higher education establishment in its region, focusing on cultivating adept professionals in foreign languages. Boasting 9 faculties and 25 departments, the institute offers a diverse spectrum of 19 educational disciplines, complemented by 16 specialized master’s programs. With a student body comprising 12,295 undergraduates and 363 postgraduates, the institute remains a vibrant hub for academic pursuit and specialization in these educational domains.

In the last couple of years, responding directly to the demands and criteria set by the job market, the institute has introduced 4 new educational pathways along with an additional master’s degree. What’s truly noteworthy is the remarkable surge in the student population, soaring from 7,878 to 12,658 over the span of three years, marking a substantial 38% uptick in overall enrollment.

A cohort of 533 proficient educators mentors the students, constituting a highly qualified faculty. Among them, 118 possess esteemed academic degrees, with 26 acclaimed as doctorates in their respective fields, holding professorial positions. Additionally, 92 instructors carry the distinction of being candidates of science, holding Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) titles, or serving as associate professors. Continuously committed to honing their expertise, these professors and teachers diligently enhance their skills through ongoing education at both national educational centers and foreign universities. In the year 2023 alone, 97 professor-teachers underwent training at local educational hubs, while 14 embarked on enriching programs at esteemed international universities.

In the last couple of years, a concerted effort to enhance educational standards at the institute has led to the recruitment of 59 foreign experts. Among them, 21 individuals boast scientific degrees, holding either a PhD or a DSc, contributing significantly to the academic environment. Presently, the institute proudly hosts 19 proficient foreign specialists actively engaged in its educational landscape.

In a bid to modernize educational methodologies, the institute has implemented a credit-module system, revolutionizing its approach to academia. Since the 2020-2021 academic year, educational processes have seamlessly transitioned into the HEMIS information system, marking a pivotal step towards digitizing management and educational frameworks. This digital transformation has comprehensively electronicized the educational journey, encompassing electronic maintenance of lesson schedules, grading records, academic group logs, student attendance, control schedules, transcripts, and financial agreements within the HEMIS information system.

Lessons unfold within state-of-the-art classrooms outfitted with cutting-edge resources including computers, smart boards, and video projectors, fostering an environment conducive to modern learning. Complementing these facilities, dedicated Wi-Fi zones spanning the institute cater to both students and faculty, ensuring seamless connectivity across the campus.

The institute has embarked on a collaborative venture with the British Council, implementing the pioneering PRESETT program to augment education quality and elevate the pedagogy of foreign language instruction. This initiative introduces innovative teaching methodologies leveraging modern technologies, fostering a dynamic learning experience for students.

In these classes, a diverse array of contemporary teaching approaches and technologies take center stage. Didactic games, multimedia tools, and internet resources are harnessed to swiftly develop the four competencies aligned with CEFR requirements.

A recent Presidential Decree granted a state educational institute increased autonomy in academic, organizational, and managerial aspects. This allowed the institute to independently develop its curriculum and educational programs in diverse fields and specialties. Consequently, it gained the authority to make decisions regarding language of instruction, teaching methods, and program durations.

To bolster graduates’ prospects in the job market, the institute issues two qualifying diplomas, ensuring a robust foundation for their professional journeys. This academic year, the institute aims to graduate 2,491 bachelor’s and 99 master’s degree candidates, strategically organizing student training across a diverse spectrum of institutions and enterprises. These include preschool educational organizations, secondary schools, academic lyceums, vocational and higher educational institutions, travel companies, museums, historical sites, and analogous regional entities, serving as the primary employment sources.

Moreover, culminating each academic year, the institute orchestrates “Career Days,” a labor fair inviting both governmental bodies and private sector employers. Here, employment contracts are brokered, facilitating job placements for institute graduates across vacancies offered by both sectors, fortifying their integration into the workforce.

The institute prioritizes student access to educational materials by digitizing resources and creating user-friendly catalogs with QR codes for easy use by students and educators. To enhance their academic resources, the institute produced various educational materials, including textbooks, teaching aids, monographs, instructional materials, dictionaries, collections, and methodological guides. Throughout 2023, dedicated professors and instructors contributed significantly, marking a substantial investment in educational literature.

To secure global recognition for its educational offerings and align its programs with international standards, the institute is set to undergo international accreditation. Initiating this pivotal step, negotiations took place at the Samarkand State Institute of Foreign Languages with the European Quality Assurance Agency (EQAA) to commence comprehensive work toward the institute’s full institutional accreditation.

Presently, the institute has meticulously compiled a “self-evaluation” report, meticulously aligning with the stringent criteria outlined in 8 modules stipulated by the EQAA agency. The final accreditation outcomes, once determined by the EQAA agency, will be publicly disclosed and made available on the agency’s official website, signifying a significant milestone in the institute’s pursuit of global recognition.

Presently, the operations underway at the Samarkand State Institute of Foreign Languages serve as a prime testament to the institution’s outstanding performance. The pivotal role played by instructors not only shapes the academic landscape but also significantly impacts the students’ experiences. This dynamic interaction between teachers and students underscores the active involvement of our faculty within the institute, showcasing their multifaceted potential across diverse domains.

Over time, our institute has fostered flourishing partnerships with various HEIs’. By 2023, the Samarkand State Institute of Foreign Languages had solidified agreements with multiple HEIs and countries, marking a significant milestone with numerous contracts. The total value of these contracts amounted to approximately $24.7 thousand USD. Moreover, funds totaling around $21.1 thousand USD were successfully transferred to the institute’s account. Concurrently, the institute has prioritized creating extensive opportunities for students and young individuals, launching multiple support initiatives and additional projects. These efforts underscore our dedication to nurturing growth and support across diverse endeavors.

Once again, our dedicated faculty has attained remarkable achievements this year, with 4 educators earning the prestigious title of professor and 34 achieving the esteemed designation of associate professor. Notably, our professors have authored a multitude of top-tier manuals, textbooks, and scientific articles. A substantial portion of these scholarly works has found its place in renowned foreign journals, with 278 publications gracing platforms such as Scopus, Science Direct, Web of Science, and other high-impact foreign journals. Moreover, 52 scientific innovations have secured copyrights from the intellectual property agency.

Highlighting the significance of these contributions, the scholarly articles penned by our professors have garnered 4126 citations. Notably, among these scholars are seasoned educators boasting an H-index of 5 and above, totaling 350 professors now indexed on Google Scholar with their own Hirsch indices. These research papers serve as invaluable resources for our students, greatly aiding them in their language learning endeavors. Simultaneously, our institute’s budding talents actively participate in numerous foreign conferences, showcasing their contributions through published articles. Additionally, our institute proudly hosts 3 scientific journals, 2 of which have earned recognition from the National Academy of Sciences, holding a revered status. These journals serve as platforms where many of our faculty members and students publish their significant scientific works.

Starting from October 1, 2023, a pivotal step was taken to bolster youth initiatives in science and innovation while initiating a transformative upgrade in the operations of the Youth Academy with the inception of the “Leaders of the Youth Academy.” Carefully chosen candidates from various faculties serve as exemplary figures, showcasing their leadership prowess, influencing students across our institute. Under the aegis of the scientific department, numerous impactful projects have been set in motion. Notably, the project competition “Ideation of Uzbekistan 2030” has been integrated, exemplifying our commitment to fostering visionary ideas. The increasing number of state scholarships – from the President’s scholarships to those named after Islam Karimov, Navoi, and the “Students of the Year” – reflects the mounting enthusiasm among our students for academic pursuits and learning. Concurrently, our institute dedicates considerable effort to hosting high-profile events and conferences, actively engaging in national competitions alongside our talented students. For instance, the recently concluded Inno-Week on October 10, held nationwide to encourage productive engagement among the youth and provide support for their projects, witnessed active participation from the Samarkand State Institute of Foreign Languages. Throughout the republic, this event galvanized institutes and universities, including those in Samarkand, where our institute and its students played an integral role. During this week-long event, proactive students and leaders showcased their projects, demonstrating their proactive engagement. Gratifyingly, the team from the Samarkand State Institute of Foreign Languages earned a commendable position with their projects among the institutes and universities in Samarkand. During the customary “InnoWEEK-2023,” a substantial contract totaling more than $100,000 USD was inked, underscoring the commitment to fostering international innovative ideas. Presently, our institute nurtures around 10 startup initiatives, backed by an innovation fund that has dedicated over $100,000 USD to finance the scientific and startup projects of our students.

The accomplishments of our students and faculty by 2023 are not a culmination but a catalyst for further endeavors, signifying their integral role within our institution. Guided by the motto “The future lies in the hands of our youth,” our institute remains unwavering in its commitment to generating increased opportunities for our young minds and nurturing skilled professionals for the future. Looking ahead, our institute is poised to intensify its efforts with heightened enthusiasm, steadfastly working to support, motivate, and propel our youth towards greater achievements.

At the Samarkand State Institute of Foreign Languages, a diverse array of endeavors within the spiritual and educational realms are currently underway. These encompass an expansive scope, including initiatives focused on patriotic, moral, and ideological education, fostering citizenship and legal awareness, promoting a philosophy centered on a healthy lifestyle, and emphasizing physical education. Additionally, efforts are directed towards cultivating professional dedication, nurturing interethnic harmony, fostering religious tolerance, and imparting economic and environmental education. This comprehensive effort has seen the organization of 100 round tables, meetings, and seminars, aiming to instill values aligned with the independence of the Republic of Uzbekistan. These sessions have aimed at nurturing individuals capable of contributing significantly to societal development, propagating national values, preserving ancestral cultural heritage, commemorating national holidays, historical milestones, and the birthdays of esteemed ancestors.

During the academic year, the institute accommodated a reduced number of individuals compared to the previous year due to an initiative providing partial rent payments for students. This was a result of a resolution aimed at reimbursing students for rental expenses.

In an effort to assess and enhance the efficacy of faculty and specialists at the institute, managers conduct comprehensive reports and presentations over a six-month period. These evaluations have effectively streamlined the activities of tutors (amounting to 17 tutors in the previous academic year), resulting in one-time financial incentives being allocated based on their performance.

The “Travel Time – Leaders Club” initiative, launched by the initiative Council of the YU Youth Union, aims to support and incentivize proactive students. To foster initiative among the institute’s active participants, the institute sponsors free trips to various regions of the country. Notably, visits to cities like Karshi, Bukhara, and Tashkent were organized under this project, encouraging and rewarding the institute’s engaged students.

To enhance the recreational options for students and young individuals, several initiative rooms have been established under the guidance of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan. These rooms facilitate diverse activities, including sports competitions, intellectual tournaments, and contests. Notably, within the student dormitory, multiple “5 initiative” rooms have been introduced. One such room focuses on musical arts and houses a variety of musical instruments. Additionally, over a thousand youths actively participate in numerous circles encompassing music, painting, literature, theater, and various art forms.

The institute’s sports club encourages participation in various sporting disciplines, attracting a significant number of enthusiastic participants. Under the Youth Union, a diverse “Student Council” provides platforms for different activities, engaging a substantial number of youth in various circles, clubs, and projects. Efforts to create employment opportunities for students have been successful, with students involved in construction and repair endeavors for new educational buildings and dormitories. Additionally, some students secured positions within institute-affiliated businesses and hotels. Furthermore, the institute extends support to students by providing various amenities, including free facilities such as a men’s and women’s hair salon, a school supply store, a shoe repair shop, and a Precious Hands office. Ongoing efforts in this domain continue to expand these offerings. With a focus on fostering patriotism and the effective utilization of leisure time, the institute persistently works towards educating students in these values.

Throughout 2023, significant strides were made in international partnerships at the Samarkand State Institute of Foreign Languages, marked by the signing of agreements and memoranda of cooperation with 23 esteemed foreign universities and educational entities. Noteworthy collaborations include the likes of Aichi Prefectural University in Japan, Busan University of Foreign Studies in South Korea, Al-Farabi Kazakh National University in Kazakhstan, Free University of Berlin in Germany, University of Gdansk in Poland, and others across Turkey.

In totality, the institute benefited from the expertise of 34 qualified foreign specialists in its educational endeavors. Among them, nine specialists received sponsorship from foreign partner organizations. Notable involvements include a German language specialist facilitated by the German DAAD, six educators from the Shanghai Foreign Studies University of China, and a Turkish language instructor supported by the Turkish Embassy in Uzbekistan.

Collaborative initiatives aimed at advancing language teaching and fostering cultural exchange have garnered significant support in the form of grants and investments. Notably, the Italian Embassy committed an annual investment of $10,000 towards the development of Italian language education at SamSIFL. Additionally, partnerships with the German DAAD led to the establishment of international programs such as the “Uzbek Language and Culture” winter and summer schools, receiving substantial financial contributions. In total, these collaborations resulted in combined funding of approximately $16,150 USD, dedicated to enhancing educational endeavors and promoting cultural understanding at the institute.

In March 2023, the institute hosted an international winter school on “Uzbek language and culture,” attracting 21 foreign students and securing a deposit of $3,150. Additionally, training courses and summer schools for foreign students from Indiana University in the USA and other institutions were organized, furthering cultural exchange and educational advancement, with corresponding investments in the institute approximately $2000 USD. These endeavors underscore the institute’s commitment to fostering global academic exchange and cultural enrichment.

A comprehensive exchange of expertise and international internships marked a significant milestone at the Samarkand State Institute of Foreign Languages, with 40 teachers undertaking enriching experiences abroad at various esteemed universities. The global pursuit included notable engagements such as four individuals at the University of Poitiers in France, two at the French Language Teacher Training Institute of the Versailles Academy, and another two at the University of Cadiz in Spain. The exploration continued with two teachers at Mehmet Akif Ersoy University in Turkey, one at the University of Hacettepe, four at Aston University in the UK, one at Georgia State University in the USA, and another one at the University of Language and Translation in Germany. The international journey expanded further with two teachers participating at the International University of Siena in Italy, seven at Yuvaskula University in Finland, two at the University of Makassar in the Republic of Indonesia, and two more at the Heidelberg Pedagogical Institute in Germany. Additionally, two teachers explored opportunities at the Altai State Pedagogical University in the Russian Federation, one in Nara, Japan, and one at the prefectures. Further connections were established with two teachers at Xinjiang University in the People’s Republic of China, three in the UAE, and two at the “Belgian Education Council” in Belgium. This extensive exchange program underlines the institute’s commitment to fostering a global perspective and promoting cross-cultural learning experiences for its educators.

A wave of international academic pursuits unfolded as 18 students embarked on enriching internships at prestigious foreign universities. Among these ventures, four individuals ventured to Aston University in the UK, five to the Beijing Institute of Language and Culture in the People’s Republic of China, and one to Hitotsubashi University in Japan. The global exploration continued with three students at the University of Poitiers in France, one at Heidelberg Normal University in Germany, one in Siena, Italy, one at the University of Tsukaba in Japan, and another at the South Korean Asian Cities Cultural Exchange Festival.

A significant milestone in linguistic education was marked by the “Mobile Conference of German Language Teachers,” jointly organized by SamSIFL and the Goethe Institute in Tashkent on March 10-11. This collaborative effort welcomed around 100 German language educators from higher education and secondary specialized institutions, along with secondary schools in the Samarkand region. Highlighting the institute’s commitment to global academic collaborations, our second-year student at the Faculty of Oriental Languages, embarked on a year-long study program at the University of Tsukuba in Japan through a Japanese grant starting September 20. Additionally, one institute graduate pursued a master’s degree at the University of Angers (Université d’Angers) under the El-Yurt Umid scholarship from 2022 to 2024.

Further expanding its global footprint, another graduate student, delved into a semester-long study at Pavel Jozef Safarik University in Kosice, Slovakia, from September 25, 2022, to February 25, 2023, supported by a scholarship from the SAIA Organization of the Slovak Republic. Throughout the year, SamSIFL hosted 92 foreign students, with 71 attending short-term courses and 21 engaged in undergraduate programs. Collaborative efforts with the German Goethe Institute under the “DLL – Training in teaching the German language” program bolstered educational programs.

The institute’s commitment to linguistic diversity and academic growth was further underscored by a series of methodological seminars for teachers and students of the Arabic language, organized by specialists from the International Center (Agency) for the Arabic Language named after King Salman of Saudi Arabia from December 1 to December 7, 2023.

The Samarkand State Institute of Foreign Languages is carving its place in the global academic landscape through strategic measures, aligning with the national agenda set forth by Decrees of the President of Uzbekistan. In adherence to these directives, the institute established a dedicated department aimed at engaging with international rankings, underscoring a commitment to elevate its global standing.

Championing this mission, the institute diligently pursued recognition in the esteemed QS (Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings), fervently aiming to enhance its international repute. A comprehensive strategy was devised, encapsulated within a detailed roadmap, outlining crucial benchmarks to achieve between 2021 and 2023, not only for QS but also for THE (Times Higher Education) rankings.

A notable milestone ensued when the Samarkand State Institute of Foreign Languages secured the coveted “reporter” status in the renowned World University Rankings 2023, an honor extended among 28 esteemed universities in Uzbekistan. The distinguished accolade, bestowed by the prestigious British ranking body Times Higher Education, analyzed universities across key facets such as teaching quality, research, educational excellence, and global perspectives. This designation signified the institute’s candidacy for inclusion in the prestigious THE rankings, receiving imminent support from the rating agency.

Within this expansive assessment encompassing 1,799 universities, an additional 526 institutions, including Samarkand State Institute of Foreign Languages, received the “reporter” nomination, signifying their status as applicant universities. This recognition underscores the institute’s strides towards international recognition and its alignment with global academic excellence.

The Samarkand State Institute of Foreign Languages is unwavering in its commitment to educational excellence, a dedication recognized and acknowledged in the globally renowned Times Higher Education (THE) ranking. Within the framework of the Times Higher Education (Impact Rankings), a paramount assessment gauging universities’ alignment with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the institute achieved an impressive standing, securing a position of 1000+ while excelling in three key areas. The resounding success, notably reaching 1000+ and scoring 35.7 points for educational quality, underscores the institution’s relentless efforts in nurturing young minds and shaping competent professionals aligned with the aspirations of a reformed Uzbekistan. Equally commendable are the rankings in “THE Impact Ranking – 2023”: 800+ with a score of 23.2 for poverty alleviation and another 1000+ with a score of 45.2 for fostering collaborations in sustainable development initiatives. This stellar performance, achieving high marks across crucial aspects of the “THE” rating, serves as a catalyst propelling the institute towards new aspirations and benchmarks. The institute’s staff, instrumental in these achievements, now sets their sights on further milestones, propelled by this recognition and motivated to continue their impactful contributions.

Furthermore, the Samarkand State Institute of Foreign Languages achieved the esteemed status of “reporter” in the 2023 ASIA University Rankings by the prominent British agency, THE (Times Higher Education). THE Asia University Rankings unveiled its outcomes for 2023, marking a substantial rise in the number of applicants vying for a place in the coveted TOP-1000 ranking. A notable increase from 10 institutions last year to 32 this year, showcasing the growing interest and participation of 22 additional higher education establishments from our republic in the “reporter” status. Distinguished by 13 performance indicators akin to the WUR (World University Rankings), the ASIA University Rankings are tailored to the distinctive features of Asian universities. These 32 institutions, identified as potential candidates for inclusion in the prestigious THE ranking, have received active backing from the rating agency. This year’s ASIA University Rankings incorporated 928 universities, with 259 institutions receiving the “reporter” title, signifying their status as applicant universities. Moreover, the Samarkand State Institute of Foreign Languages achieved the status of “reporter” in THE Young University Rankings – 2023, marking an outstanding presence among emerging universities worldwide. This year witnessed a surge in applicants, with 12 more higher education institutions from our republic registering as “reporters,” marking an increase from 4 to 12 candidates last year for the TOP-1000 rating. THE Young University Rankings utilize the same 13 performance indicators as WUR, evaluating these institutions across all core missions – teaching, research, knowledge transfer, and internationalization. This comprehensive assessment provides a balanced comparison among institutions. Notably, this year’s ranking encompassed 963 universities, with an additional 358 universities obtaining the “reporter” nomination, identifying them as candidate universities.

Furthermore, the Samarkand State Institute of Foreign Languages has made remarkable strides in various international rankings, securing notable positions across several prestigious lists.

In the Webometrics ranking of global universities, our university has notably advanced, elevating from the 37th to the 28th position among universities in the republic. Globally, the institute’s ranking has surged from the 14,537th to the 11,341th position, marking a substantial improvement of 3,196 places. Additionally, in the international 4icu ranking, SamSIFL proudly holds the 9th position among the republic’s universities. Meanwhile, in both the Uniranks and Unipage international rankings, our institute secures the 18th spot among the higher educational institutions of the republic, with 30.92 points in the former.

Samarkand State Institute of Foreign Languages has made a notable presence in the UI GreenMetrics-2023 international ranking, despite its inaugural participation. Announced on December 5 this year, the institute secured the 537th position among thousands of participating universities from over 90 countries. This positioning reflects the institute’s commitment to contribute significantly to sustainable development and environmental stability. Remarkably, SamSIFL garnered 6265 points among 41 higher educational institutions in Uzbekistan, securing the 9th position among the top 10 higher educational institutions in the country. This success is a testament to the relentless efforts of the institute’s team in bolstering its international standing and active participation in various rankings. SamSIFL continues to solidify its role in fostering a sustainable educational environment while aiming for new milestones.

The debut of the Samarkand State Institute of Foreign Languages in the international RUR (Round University Rankings)-2023 marks a significant achievement, securing a spot among the top 1000 universities worldwide. RUR, a globally recognized university ranking system, evaluates universities from 82 countries based on 20 indicators across four key areas: teaching, research, international outreach, and financial stability. In the humanities domain, the Samarkand State Institute of Foreign Languages demonstrated commendable performance: Placed 881st with 30,456 points in the “World University Ranking”, Secured the 688th position with 41,808 points in the “Education Quality Rating”, Achieved the 888th spot with 18,536 points in the “Research Rating”, Attained the 830th position with 28,626 points in the “International Diversity Ranking”, Ranked 904th with 12,599 points in the “Financial Stability Rating”.

*The author is the Acting Rector of Samarkand State Institute of Foreign Languages and a candidate of Philological Sciences Associate Professor.

**The opinions in this article are the author’s own and may not represent the views of The Diplomatic Insight. The organization does not endorse or assume responsibility for the content.

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