WIUT and TALENT Erasmus+ project: Establishing Master Programmes in Human Resource Management and Talent Development in Central Asia
- Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)
- Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg
- Athens University of Economics and Business
- Institute for the Study of Societies and Knowledge
- ITUC (International Trade Union Confederation)
- BUSINESSEUROPE (European Employers’ Federation)
- ILO (International Labour Organisation)
- Nazarbayev University
- Innovative University of Eurasia
- American University of Central Asia
- Kyrgyz Economic University
Bukhara State University
On March 14th and 15th, WIUT hosted a visit by TALENT project partners from Bulgaria and Kyrgyzstan. Dr. Rumiana Jeleva and Dr. Albena Ieleva from Institute of Philosophy and Sociology (IPS, Sofia, Bulgaria) conducted internal quality audit for the MA in HRM and Talent Development Master’s Degree programme designed by the Erasmus + TALENT project and validated by the University of Westminster (London, UK).
There were a round of interviews and focus group discussions with the WIUT Rector, Dean of SOBE School and Department Heads of Business Management and Marketing, Admission, Career Center, and Learning Resource Center.
The TALENT project partners also interviewed the Master’s Degree programme’s academic staff and students on their feedback and progress in the course. The results of the internal quality audit shall be sent to the European Union (EU) commission on the project implementation status at WIUT. The partners have had positive impressions on the WIUT teaching and learning environment. They commented that WIUT Master’s Degree programme meets the TALENT project goals and objectives.
As a reminder, Master’s Degree programme in HRM and Talent Development has been first launched in September 2020 and designed with both Central Asian and European University project Partners.
Online host at Kyrgyz Economic University (KEU), Bishkek
From 17th of May to 19th of May, 2021, TALENT Project held its seventh general meeting. The project duration due to the pandemic and delay of results in some universities have 12 months extension. The project will be completed in October 2022.
The EU coaches and CA coordinators discussed planning and delivery of the master programmes in Central Asia. Upon the completion of the first year, it is necessary to make programme evaluation. Project coordinator will launch survey for students in all CA universities to provide feedback on their studies in HRM programme. The teachers who are involved in the delivery of courses will also have opportunity to reflect on the curriculum and materials, teaching, learning and assessment. The survey results and the teacher reflection will be discussed in the next meeting in September.
Online host at American University of Central Asia (AUCA), Bishkek
The Sixth General TALENT Project Meeting was conducted from 18 January to 20 January 2021. The local coordinators provided factual information on the experience of the first semester teaching of the master programme. Central Asian universities presented their HRM and Talent Development master programmes, and discussed students’ recruitment campaigns and experience so far.
WIUT validated MA in HRM and Talent Development in 2019-2020. WIUT TALENT team and Marketing department have developed a promotion strategy to recruit students for the master programme. There was an active use of social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram) pages and advertisements, University website (http://www.wiut.uz/ma-hrmatd), news channels, open days and presentations.
WIUT reported that the first semester started with an online induction program that lasted one week from September 21 to 25th 2020. MA HRM and Talent Development students were welcomed by university management and the course team presented the course, rules and regulations, research and assessment at WIUT in more details. Year 2020-2021 course programme was structured as below:
Semester 1 2020
Managing Talent and HRM Practice – Module Leader Olesya Smagina
Organisational Behaviour and Leadership - Module Leader Yulduz Yakubova
Strategic Aspects of HRM - Module Leader Sitora Inoyatova
Employee Relations and Employment Law - Module Leader Shakhnoza Kazimova
Moreover, project participants discussed the governance of local master programmes, role of EU coaches, summer schools with the possible prolongation of the project for one year. In addition to the year 3 scenario, Central Asian universities are to prepare the Business Plans and Research Policy for each university and finalise it by May 2021.
On the third day of the meeting there was a practical workshop to discuss online teaching challenges and HRM practices in Kyrgyzstan.
Next official meeting will take place in May 2021 with online host of Kyrgyz Economic University (KEU).
Central Asian and EU partners have worked in four groups according to the programme focus: Strategic aspects group, Regulatory group, Organisational issues group, HRM practice group. The discussions were led by team leader chosen from CA partners and EU partners provided consultations and gave guidance on how to design the courses. As a result of the discussion and collaborative effort, each presented the two specific courses, providing short description. The courses are Strategic Aspects for HR managers, International HRM, Labour Law, Organisational Behavior and Work and Society, Applied HRM and Talent Management. Later one each university in the team will work out the syllabus with relevant learning outcomes, constructive alignment between outcomes, teaching and learning and assessment.
TALENT project participants met at Nazarbayev University in Nur-Sultan to discuss and finalize the syllabus and curriculum for MA HRM and Talent Development. Participants were welcomed by Erasmus plus national office coordinator, Nazarbayev University top management and TALENT coordinators. Website, communication/learning platform (draft version) for the project was presented by Ann Scholl and Venkat Subramanian.
Central Asian coordinators demonstrated TALENT master programme to launch in September 2020 as well as national and institutional accreditation procedures in terms of timing internal and external evaluation and the authorities involved in the process. Four team leaders of the workgroups discussed the syllabus of the courses an in particular learning outcomes and indicative syllabus.
Carlos Machado conducted project evaluation to reflect on what was done so far and what to proceed with, quality assurance mechanisms and constructive alignment of the outcomes, teaching and assessment. Nazarbayev University initiated seminar devoted to HR Practices and Challenges in Central Asia. The seminar involved presentations of the speakers from Kazakhstan (David Mashuri, Strategic Advisor, Oksana Bondarenko, HR Director, KZ Systems LLP, Dennis De Tray), Kyrgyzstan (Saikal Esenamanova, M.Ryskulbekov KEU), Uzbekistan (Olesya Smagina, Westminster International University in Tashkent, Abror Juraev, Vice-rector for International Cooperation, BSU).
Practical final arrangements for the February-March 2020 mobilities of the CA teachers to the EU partner institutions were discussed by Jan and Jacques. Mobility is organized in accordance with workgroups and host EU institution and the aim is to refine the course readers, observe classes of the relevant courses, conduct training on the subject matters of the workgroups. As a next step in the project, four workgroups are moving from syllabus to course reader design.
As a part of professional development, TALENT project teachers took part in mobility to EU universities in February, 2020. The aim of the mobility was to work on the design of course reader materials for the syllabus agreed during Nursultan meeting in September 2019.
WIUT project team act as team leaders for each work group of Central Asian partners of the project. WIUT teachers coordinate the activities of the work group starting from syllabus design and currently there is a focus on design of the course materials i.e. course readers. The mobility was organized in the following pattern:
Work group 1 “Strategic aspects” (Sitora Inoyatova assigned as team leader) visited Athens University of Economics and Business. The aim was to develop course readers for two modules, namely: Strategic Aspects for HR Managers and Comparative Human Resource Management, as well as to undergo a series of seminars for development purposes. There was a planned visit to one of the biggest banks of Athens – Piraeus Bank, where representatives of the bank presented HRM system in the bank.
Work group 2 “Organisational Issues” (Yulduz Yakubova assigned as team leader) visited the Otto von Guericke University (OvG) Magdeburg. The workgroup participated in a series of seminars on topics such as Human Resource Management in OvG, Visit and Talks at Volkswagen and HRM in the rural district of Stendal. The course readers for Organisational Behaviour and Leadership as well as Work, Organisations and Society were developed.
Work group 3 “Regulatory aspects” (Shakhnoza Kazimova assigned as team leader) went to Sofiya, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology (IPS) at Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. The team completed training program and drafted course readers on Labour Law and Employee Relations. The team attended seminar on Employment Relations with representatives of Bulgarian Trade Unions.
Work group 4 “HR Practices” (Olesya Smagina assigned as team leader) participated in the seminars at Vrije Universiteit Brussel and worked on the design of course readers for Applied HRM and Talent Management courses. There was a series of seminars about the structure and functioning of the department - People and Organization (Mens en Organisatie) of Vrije Universiteit Brussel by Director Raf Devos and Recruitment and Selection by Roland Pepermans.
As a result of the mobility, there was a tangible progress on the design of the course readers. Additionally, certificates were awarded to members of the work group by EU coaches for successful termination of this stage of the course development.
In March 2020, due to coronavirus pandemic situation, WIUT TALENT project team had to participate in two-days meeting with EU coaches virtually via Skype. WIUT team leaders reported on the improvement in the course readers of each specific work group. EU coaches provided their feedback on the progress. At the end of the virtual meeting, EU coaches and team leaders have mapped a course of actions for further course development.
In November 2018 there were preparatory visits to each CA university. After the visits, the methodology and proposed general structure for the development of the 2-year TALENT master programme was consolidated.
In conformity with the project description and for the sake of developing a common and transparent structure of the master programme it is proposed that the four specific courses (Strategic, Organisational, Regulatory and Practice) will be developed.
Such a transparent structure will produce, as intended in the grant proposal, rather comparable master programmes in the seven CA universities facilitating future exchanges of teachers and students between the universities.
- Strategic aspects (Athens co-ordinates)
Corporate strategy and strategic HR management (i.e. positioning of organisations; societal importance of HRM), corporate culture; ethics, corporate accountability; corporate social responsibility; diversity policies; leadership/management styles as they relate to corporate strategy; innovation and learning policy (product and working processes).
- Organisational issues (Magdeburg co-ordinates)
Actions in organisations; learning processes of organisations: career/professional development; internal labour market; relation to the external labour market; positions, perceptions, interests, power relationships; organisational change; leadership styles; coaching/mentoring procedures; team building; retention policy; competence management.
- Regulatory framework (Sofia co-ordinates)
International comparisons in regulatory approaches; standardisation through national and international employees’ and employers’ organisations: labour law/code; health and safety; regulations and practices; collective/individual negotiation
- HR practices (Brussels co-ordinates)
Job/competency analysis; recruitment/selection (may include HR branding – although this is also linked to strategy); retention practice (practice initiates the policy); performance management; compensation/benefits management; training and development; coaching/mentoring procedures; stress/wellbeing (time/space flexibility for employees); redundancy support.
Tashkent meeting is planned for May 14th- 16th to discuss the curriculum of each university, learning outcomes, courses in details and knowledge sharing platform.
WIUT project team participated in the Virtual Meeting hosted by Bukhara State University. The event was held from 7th to 9th of September via Microsoft Teams. Participants of the project discussed the start of the master programmes at Central Asian universities.
Each local coordinator of the six universities presented the planned start dates and the number of students, promotion activities held to raise awareness and attract students for HRM master degree programmes. The course design has been completed in June during Virtual Pavlodar Meeting and WIUT work group team leaders (Sitora Inoyatova, Yulduz Yakubova, Shakhnoza Kazimova and Olesya Smagina) and local coordinators discussed possible role of the 4 working groups after courses development (filling-in possible gaps in the completion of the teaching materials, introduction text to each course).
Scenario for anchoring the TALENT Master Programme was introduced by our VUB partner. The pillars are scientific and social relevance integrating research and education, institutional durability (collaboration with project partners and other universities, formal business plan at each university), exploitation initiatives (organization of topical one-day workshops or opportunities to collaborate with HR and general managers of local and international companies).
On the last day of the conference our virtual host Bukhara State University organised a seminar “Toward new HRM procedures in Uzbekistan”. Prof. Dr. Obidjon Khamidov, rector of Bukhara State University and Aziza Abdurakhmanova, coordinator of National Erasmus+ Office, welcomed the participants and emphasized the importance of the project and master programme for Central Asian region. During the seminar participants discussed such topics as coordination of HR departments in government organizations, changes in the Labour Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan and training and development functions.
At the hectic time of pandemic situation in 2020, TALENT project team continue to fulfil its objectives and prepared the master programme that welcomes applicants who want to develop their career in the sphere of HRM and talent development.