The shortage of sweet water resources is current in more than 30 countries around the world (including some regions and areas of Uzbekistan) and in 2025 the number of affected countries is estimated to go up to 50 (including China and India), in 2050 – to more than 75, and at the end of the century the shortage issue will spread all around the world.
One of the permanent factors of growing tension is the increasing pollution of rivers and reservoirs which are used as sources of potable water supply.
In Central Asia as a whole and in Uzbekistan, in particular, the steep rise in the number of water intakes from the rivers has grown to be the main reason behind the distortion of the quality of natural environment and living conditions of the people populating the areas adjoining to Aral Sea.
Amidst the growing deficit of water resources emerge urgently the issues of school-level ecological education, conscious responsibility towards water economy, and raise of the general level of knowledge and understanding of this issue.
The integration of the subject-matter of water economy into the educational programs is assumed to be the first step on the way to the solution of this problem. Since scientists’ forecasts state that not only must strategic direction towards rational use of water resources be limited to technical and economic measures but also include the reformation of public perception of water, the upbringing of a water-economy-literate generation based on the focused planned education.
Considering the novelty of this educational issue in Uzbekistan pops up the necessity to study overseas experience in the area of “water economy education” of students (internship, mass media, web-site), to arrange for an informative and educational program for the faculty members of the executive education institutions and secondary schools (workshops, trainings, etc.).
The most important is to design improved educational programs through integration of water economy subject-matter into a set of general education subjects of scientific and humanitarian content, as well as to furnish the faculty body of the republic with required information and guiding materials.
Based on the provisions of the Strategic document of OSCE in the economic and environmental dimension, so far, OSCE has organized a series of activities aimed to improve ecological competence of the youth in Uzbekistan. In particular, in 2006 Scientific and Information Centre of ICWC with the support of OSCE Centre in Tashkent organized a series of trainings in the regions of the country and the workshop in Tashkent. Moreover, the permanent arrangements were made to offer advice to experts of Uzbek Scientific Research Institute of Pedagogical Sciences named after Kari Niyazi (USRIPS).
For the purpose of further amelioration of the environmental situation in Uzbekistan, improvement of ecological upbringing of the youth, assistance in the efforts of the government to reform the system of continuous education in the country, OSCE Project Coordinator in Uzbekistan proposes the implementation of this project in cooperation with Uzbek Scientific Research Institute of Pedagogical Sciences named after Kari Niyazi (USRIPS) and Scientific Information Center of Interstate Commission for Water Co-ordination (SIC ICWC).
2. Project Implementation
2.1. Project Tasks:
Task 1: Organization of educational and familiarization visits to the OSCE member-countries for the purpose of fostering the exchange of experience and improving professional skills of the national experts in the area of ecological education.
Task 2: For USRIPS and SIC ICWC to conduct many stage trainings and academic workshops in all regions of the republic among the faculty of executive education institutions and school faculty.
Objective 3: To assist USRIPS in the development of the guidelines for the integration of water resources issue into the content of secondary education program of the Republic of Uzbekistan, realization of those in the methodical guides and in everyday practical work.
Task 4: To further the production of an instructive animated movie “How kids brought the water back” and the organization of a nationwide contest “Water is the source of life”.
Task 5: To design a dynamic web-site containing the data on the goals and objectives of the project as well as helpful articles and links about international experience and development of water economy related education overseas.
2.2. Implementation Technique:
The target audience of the project includes research and educational personnel, methodologists, faculty, and school management as well as other employees of the system of general secondary education.
Based on the results of the analysis of the international experience and the current situation in the country the project aims to define and scientifically substantiate the content of the educational materials on water economy problems to be included to the academic program of secondary schools on the basis of the state educational standards.
The improvement of the professional level of the experts working on these issues is to be accomplished through the study of the international experience of shaping, in the minds of youth, of the idea of careful treatment of water resources, to this purpose, including overseas internships and organization, in cooperation with NGOs, of a cycle of training/workshops on water economy problems with the faculty of institutions for raising professional skills of pedagogical employees, methodologists of the Republican Centre of Education, Tashkent city and regions, and employees of the Ministry of Education of the Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakistan, Tashkent city and regional offices on education on the republican level.
During the workshops the participants will be supplied with educational and methodological hand-out materials which will include electronic versions of methodical guides, instructions and recommendations on the integration of water economy problems into the content of the secondary education program of Uzbekistan, published with the assistance of OSCE.
The program of the workshops/trainings will make a substantial use of interactive techniques of content delivery: discussions, questions/answers, problem solutions, scenario simulation, role playing games (RPGs), case studies, and etc.
2.3. Expected Project Output:
The project will ensure a higher level of competence among school students through the use of water resources’ knowledge in the process of delivering priority subject areas in the 5th through 9th grades of secondary schools, emphasizing the concern for rational use of water resources as well as involving the youth into the process of designing and introduction of the principles of environmental sustainability and water safety in the Republic of Uzbekistan.
Results of the project are expected to ensure the following:
- introduction of mandatory integrated water economy related course to the educational programs covering chemistry, biology, geography, physics, economics, and history;
- introduction to and adoption of “water economy education” in all of the secondary schools around Uzbekistan;
- continuation, upon the completion of the project, of the development and the improvement of the “water economy education” in the educational institutions of the country;
- assistance to educated and prepared methodologists and faculty members in all regions of Uzbekistan,
- means for professional development with the assistance from USRIPS, Central and regional institutions for raising professional skills of the employees of the area of public education, and SIC ICWC.
The use of the dynamic web-site, preparation and distribution of educational materials, consultations and workshops will ensure availability of the information on ecological upbringing of the students to the school faculty, and improve the overall level of the education of the population of Uzbekistan.
In addition, implementation of the project will contribute to the solution of the following problems:
- Inadequate competence of the school faculty in the areas relating to “water economy education”;
- The absence of educational and methodological foundation of “water economy education” in Uzbekistan;
- The lack of informative educational movies targeting younger school students;
- The shortage of start-up financial, material and technical resources for the integration of water economy problems into the content of the secondary education program of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
Implementation of the project will support the development of the educational system and secure intensification of ecological upbringing of the youth of the Republic of Uzbekistan.