To be internationally competitive, Uzbekistan needs a new approach to education – Sardor Boisov explains everything

Education reforms in Uzbekistan have been a pressing need since gaining independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. In particular, the republic’s education system – from elementary school to college – was almost entirely controlled by the government.

State educational standards in Uzbekistan have not been brought into line with international standards, making it difficult for people in the country to find work outside of Uzbekistan. This dynamic is also affecting the ability of Uzbekistan companies to serve customers and grow internationally.

Having grown up in the countryside, Sardor Boisov experienced first-hand the limiting factors of the education available to him. So now he’s on a mission to change the system and make sure no other students have to jump through the hoops he did.

When he was 10 years old, he had a life-defining conversation with his father. It was then that he learned that his family did not have the means to pay for his education, so he had to get a scholarship for whatever he wanted. He also learned that his father expected him to be the best if he pursued an educated path. Anything else, and Sardor would be forced to become an auto mechanic so he could have a job to make a living by the time he graduated from high school.

Rather than let this conversation shake him, it calmed Sardor and pushed him in the direction he knew he was destined to go. Always at the top of his class, he earned scholarship after scholarship to continue his education. Sardor received a scholarship to study at Westminster International University in the UK, which gave him experience of the educational system outside of Uzbekistan. He then worked successfully as a lawyer for a number of years before studying business administration and management again at the same university.

With extensive experience in education both inside and outside of Uzbekistan, Sardor understood that his country’s state-run education system was not sufficient to meet international standards for higher education. So in 2014 he and his brothers started an education company specializing in teaching – the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) qualification scheme, which gave accounting students access to a UK bachelor’s degree in accounting and positioned them to work internationally level could be successful scale. After massive interest and great success with this program, Boisov was ready for the next challenge.

The International School of Finance and Technology (ISFT) was opened in 2018. This comprehensive university aimed to provide modern, progressive, socially responsible and innovative higher education to the masses. After Boisov was accredited by the Government of the Republic in 2021, he began to feel the true satisfaction of his success. Today, the university has over 11,000 students and plans to expand to three more campuses in other regions of Uzbekistan.

As an educational pioneer, ISFT is one of the few private institutions in Uzbekistan that also presents itself as a university company. It takes a Western approach to education, offering courses and degrees in accounting, finance, corporate governance, financial management, and other similar fields. In its first three years of operation, ISFT raised over $7 million from investors to fuel its growth and expand plans for the future.

Despite the impressive success, Sardor is far from finished. He wants to influence the education system as a whole and change the way primary and secondary education works. Education was the most important tool in his life, so he tries to make the same tool more accessible to other students in Uzbekistan and worldwide.

It’s not often that a private institution can compete so well in state-controlled arenas, but neither is it often that such projects are led by the likes of Sardor Boisov. His influence is strong, but his humility is stronger. This is just the beginning. He won’t rest until he feels that children growing up in Uzbekistan don’t have to choose between survival and education.

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