March 3, 2015
It doen’t cost that much...
NGA has already became a ticket for successful life for students from Pakistan, China, South Korea, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. Kyrgyzstani students also study in NGA on a contract basis. After graduation, alumni fill in the knowledge gap, and as a rule successfully enroll into AUCA without any difficulties.
Tuition fees in NGA amount to 3150 USD per year. Yes, this is a considerable amount of money, but the university offers a flexible payment system. Virtually, everyone pays the full amount, but AUCA sponsors make donations and share the expenses. Each student benefits from an individual approach regarding their tuition fees. There are as many approaches as students. Everyone has a different solvency, and the university tries to find the optimum alternative, so that tuition payments do not not become a huge burden for family budget. Discounts are made on the basis of financial situations of families.
There are various reasons why school-children didn’t receive high-qualified secondary education in their schools. It is not a secret that Kyrgyzstanis schools, especially in rural areas suffer from critical shortage of teaching staff. Many rural schools just don’t have teachers for specific subjects. It is clear that school graduates of these schools aren’t able to compete with peers from elite high schools, where level of teaching is quite high. NGA is created exactly to give a chance to these children to get a good education and fulfil themselves in life.
How does the Academy select students?
There are three stages for applicants – says Elisabeta Zelinka, Academic director of NGA. – First, applicants take a test of English language and have an interview. After that, they fill in a questionnaire, including questions about financial status of the family. Documents are submitted on July 6, first entrance exam to NGA is held on July 6-7. I also want to mention that NGA is a great opportunity not to waste one year for those who could not enter AUCA. University organizes a four staged entrance exam, so that prospective students can try their luck more than once. If all attempts are unsuccessful, applicants can enter NGA and he/she will not be required to pass exams. Previous exams will be reckoned, even though he/she didn’t score pass mark required to register as a freshman student.
What subjects are taught to “academicians”?
NGA students follow an intensive curriculum. During their year, they study English language : TOEFL, academic English and essay writing. Beside language courses, we prepare students to the AUCA program. Above all, Kyrgyz, Russian languages and mathematics are taught to NGA students.
I also want to note that as a rule academy graduates successfully pass Kyrgyz national test, which is required to enter AUCA. It is due to the intensive preparation throughout year on the main subjects of the national test.
Our “academicians” are also actively involved in various clubs. They can become members in all university clubs as any other students. It also helps them to quickly adapt to university life and find friends.
WHY, Not WHAT
Who are the faculty of NGA?
We hired faculty, who studied abroad. Our faculty members are from USA, Slovakia, Romania, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. They are not only native speakers, but were educated in western countries.
It is known, AUCA is a follower of philosophy of liberal education. NGA students are also educated by this method?Please, tell us about this approach for education.
Our academy and university aim to educate serious, active and critical thinking citizens, who will become high-quality leaders of Kyrgyzstan in the future. In 2009, AUCA signed an agreement on academic cooperation, passed through accreditation process on a number of directions, and joined Bard College network. Bard College, a liberal arts university of the State of New York, was founded in 1860.Iit prepares specialists with bachelor, master degrees on arts and humanities on 40 different areas. Since 2011, AUCA is the first university in Central Asia issuing Kyrgyz state diplomas and accredited American diplomas of Bard College.
What are the advantages of graduates who have been trained using the new method, to those who have studied the traditional system?
Liberal education is a distinctive feature of the universities of this network. In other words, it is a possibility to study and restudy. Under the conditions of dynamically developing labor market, nobody can provide human with guarantees that he/she will employed for the same profession for a lifetime. It is quite frequently required to change of sphere of activity, and university must provide inner readiness to changes. It leads to look at contents and methods of education in new way. In particular, we moved from mechanical transfer process to independent critical thinking skills. That is, we changed “what” question to “why”. The most relevant is not to learn about facts and details, but to search for one or another phenomenon or regularities. Thus, young people learn to think independently andargue constructively.
We can imagine the scheme of learning process as follows: fact – analysis of received information – formulation of own opinion. This learning scheme works for any subject, humanities or hard sciences. Moreover, the same approach is used in control tests. For instance, there are variants A, B, C, and also there is an option D, where you can state your own opinion.
AUCA has a system of rewards for diligent students. Does it work for NGA students?
Certainly! So, those students who will successfully pass the first stage of entrance examinations (they will take place in March), will have a chance to select one out of three university courses: “Critical and analytical thinking”, “Academic writing” and “Presentation and research skills”. These courses are part of their further education, - said Elisabeta Zelinka.
Is it true, that Bard College alumni will teach NGA students?
Yes, it is. Bard College Postgraduate Writing Tutors program begins at August. Bard College postgraduates, specialized on academic writing, will teach our students to write professional essays and compositions. It should be noted that Bard College professors already made trainings on academic and creative writing for AUCA faculty. By the way, with support of the American Embassy in Kabul, NGA coordinates an essay competition, and our students from Afghanistan participate in this competition. Winners will have valuable prizes.
Is it difficult for former high school students, accustomed to cramming, to get used to the new rules?
Yes, it is difficult to adopt new methods – says Roman Mamashev, senior teacher of NGA. – I interviewed students and asked them how was last semester. And many of them confessed that they didn’t understand many things. Deeper analysis is a feature of training techniques in NGA. We searched for a long time a scheme which would contribute to educate thinking people, successfully developing in an academic environment. Such method is found to be the most appropriate.
How can students manage stress?
We have staff psychologist, she is hired especially to work with students. Students cut off from family and friends, with great responsibilities, certainly suffer from stress, and need psychological support. It is often the case for Afghani students. Faculty member used to talk with them, but now it is dealt with by a specialist. So, on psychologist’s advice, in order to help students to overcome fear of coming exams, each three weeks we arrange trial tests. Thus, step-by-step, they get accustomed to the rhythm and discipline. Moreover, exam simulation reveals existing psychological, academic problems and makes it possible to solve them in good time. First trial test was held in January 24th.