MIT Jameel World Education Lab helps shape Uzbekistan’s first autonomous university

Since 2019, the Republic of Uzbekistan has been pursuing a nationwide initiative to boost the technical, creative and innovation skills in its economy. Part of this effort has been to design an autonomous higher education institution, in partnership with the MIT Jameel World Education Lab. Through their collaboration, the New Uzbekistan University (NewUU) has taken shape, with an aim to catalyse the Uzbek economy and fuel industrial and commercial innovation within the country.


In 2019, the Republic of Uzbekistan was looking to revolutionize their higher education. As part of a nationwide initiative centered on technical, creative, and innovation skills for a vibrant modern economy, the Central Asian nation launched a network of high schools built on an innovative specialist magnet model. Now, the leaders of its recently established Agency for Presidential Educational Institutions started designing the country’s first autonomous higher education institution that would remake the university model for the coming decades, putting new technical fields, hands-on and creative learning, and humanistic perspectives into the mix. Seeking a bold new model for higher education that could serve as a testbed for education in the country and the region, Uzbekistan’s leaders approached the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and were soon connected with MIT Jameel World Education Lab.

In the months that followed, the New Uzbekistan University (NewUU) began to take shape. Not only would the new university act as a catalyst for the Uzbek economy and fuel industrial and commercial innovation in the country, but it would also build on the technical and cultural depth that its educational institutions had built over the years.

Professor Bahodir Ahmedov, first vice rector for academic affairs at NewUU, saw in the plans the government’s recognition of Uzbekistan as a young country, both in terms of the evolving governance of institutions and its population’s age.

“The importance of developing education, especially higher education, became apparent,” says Ahmedov.

Conversations with the Jameel World Education Lab helped the collaboration to refine its thinking at every step. Housed at MIT Open Learning, the Jameel World Education Lab collaborates with education institutions worldwide to transform education by opening the door to MIT in new ways. The Jameel World Education Lab curates MIT ideas and experience for its global members, fields and contributes to new ideas for higher education innovations that serve society, institutions, and ecosystems, and builds global collaborations and conversations.