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Integrating Energy and Resource Efficiency into Kyrgyzstan's Tourism Education Curriculum

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Integrating Energy and Resource Efficiency into Kyrgyzstan's Tourism Education Curriculum
Country: Kyrgyzstan
PERETO - Promoting Energy and Resource Efficiency in the Tourism Industry of Kyrgyzstan.

Educational institutions serve as agents of change, introducing and implementing sustainability in a comprehensive manner. They connect people and incorporate social and institutional considerations, with students playing a crucial role in driving this change. They are pivotal in convening, building, and maintaining communities of practice and networks on local, national, and global scales. Their long-term accountability to the general public, rather than to transient governmental or corporate interests, enables impartial engagement with a diverse range of stakeholders. Furthermore, university faculty members often contribute their expertise to public committees and commissions and train future leaders across various professions. 

No other sector impacts humans and society more broadly than energy. Education in energy and resource efficiency is essential to achieve and sustain energy and resource efficiency goals. Raising awareness through education is critical for encouraging widespread adoption of necessary changes to meet these goals.

At the end of May 2024, Bishkek hosted the conference "Integration of Energy and Resource Efficiency Topics into University Educational Programs," organized by the EU funded SWITCH-Asia PERETO project Promoting Energy and Resource Efficiency in the Tourism Industry of Kyrgyzstan. The event gathered representatives from the Ministry of Education and Science, the Department of Tourism, the Kyrgyz Academy of Education, university leaders and lecturers from Kyrgyzstan, professional lyceums, the Alliance of Universities of Kyrgyzstan for Green Economy and Sustainable Development, HORECA Association Kyrgyzstan, and the Green Alliance of Kyrgyzstan.

The First Deputy Minister of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic, Bekzhan Supanaliev, emphasized energy and resource efficiency issues are critical on both international and national agendas. New challenges related to irreversible climate change, reduction of biological diversity, and resource depletion require us to react swiftly and make effective decisions. As the quality of personnel training directly impacts the realization of Kyrgyzstan's tourism potential, it is crucial that education meets the demands of the times and the tourism industry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stefano Corrado, Project Manager at the EU Delegation to Kyrgyzstan, welcomed participants, stressing the importance of integrating energy and resource efficiency into educational curricula. He noted that this integration is crucial for fostering a sustainable future and ensuring that Kyrgyzstan's tourism industry thrives in harmony with environmental conservation. This initiative aligns with the EU's commitment to promoting sustainable development and green economy practices globally.

The conference provided a platform to discuss current challenges and opportunities in training specialists, fostering stronger collaboration between the academic sector and businesses. As a result, a resolution based on participants' recommendations and proposals was developed and will be submitted to the Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic.

Ernisbek Alaychiev, Head of the Master's Program in Tourism, Candidate of Geographical Sciences, and Associate Professor at Osh State University, expressed gratitude to the PERETO project for the opportunity to share experiences in updating curricula. He reaffirmed the need to strengthen partnerships and implement research projects based in universities, combining their capabilities in sustainable tourism development.

In Kyrgyzstan, more than 15 universities offer programs in Tourism and Hospitality Management. To strengthen the connection between the education system and the business sector, the PERETO project began collaborating with seven universities in 2021. One of the project's goals is to integrate principles of sustainable production and consumption, as well as resource and energy efficiency, into tourism education. With expert support from the project, six universities have already updated their curricula:

  1. Academy of Tourism
  2. Osh State University
  3. Bishkek State University named after K. Karasaev
  4. Naryn State University named after S. Naamatov
  5. Issyk-Kul State University named after K. Tynystanov
  6. Kyrgyz Economic University named after M. Ryskulbekov

Kyrgyz State University named after I. Arabaev plans to update its curricula at the beginning of the next academic year, in September 2024.

Nazira Esenalieva, Secretary of the Alliance of Universities of Kyrgyzstan for Green Economy and Sustainable Development, expressed her pleasure in participating in the meeting with lecturers from various universities across Kyrgyzstan. She emphasized their shared values of commitment to sustainability principles, green economy, and the development of green competencies. She also noted that the Alliance is open to joint initiatives and offers its website as a platform for publishing university research, scientific articles, and other materials, provided the contributors are members of the Alliance.