Central Asia Research and Education Network

Central Asia Research and Education Network

The Times of Central Asia: … Turkmenistan is connected to Europe via China and Hong Kong. CAREN has set itself the strategic goals to upgrade science and education in Central Asia by improving access to high quality information networks, by providing direct access to 36 countries and 4,000 research centers and websites on GEANT, which unites European NRENs, so that the Central Asian users could collaborate with the multinational European Union. Currently, CAREN is trying to merge with the European network GEANT, which would provide access for Central Asia to the global scientific and educational environment and promotes international cooperation. This is an exchange without any costs and time spent for travelling.” …

BISHKEK, February 5 (TCA) — More than 60 percent of countries have their own National Research and Education Network (NREN). European countries have proved that such networks help in the formation of human resources and promote economic development. NREN is a source of innovation, providing for the rapid and widespread diffusion of technology in society and industry. Today, the European Commission aims to connect the Central Asian countries to the European Network as part of the Central Asia Research and Education Network (CAREN) project, which is being implemented in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

According to Askar Kutanov, CAREN Regional Coordinator, “Today three Central Asian countries are directly connected to Europe (a hub is located in Germany). Turkmenistan is connected to Europe via China and Hong Kong. CAREN has set itself the strategic goals to upgrade science and education in Central Asia by improving access to high quality information networks, by providing direct access to 36 countries and 4,000 research centers and websites on GEANT, which unites European NRENs, so that the Central Asian users could collaborate with the multinational European Union. Currently, CAREN is trying to merge with the European network GEANT, which would provide access for Central Asia to the global scientific and educational environment and promotes international cooperation. This is an exchange without any costs and time spent for travelling.”

It is important not only to create such a network but also provide access to it for research centers and universities.

The Kyrgyz Research and Education Network Association (KRENA) provides access to the Internet and unites 27 institutions, 17 research and medical centers, three information centers, four libraries, as well as 34 schools and colleges. However, even in many schools in Bishkek there is a lack of computers and information technology teachers, as well as technicians, who can connect and set up the network. In 2013 the number of schools connected to the network will reach 50. KRENA has more than 100,000 users and 85 connected agencies.

CAREN offers regional cooperation on monitoring of natural processes, sustainable water management, distance learning, and telemedicine. Kyrgyzstan gives a priority to the monitoring for the prevention of natural disasters.

Every year there is a tendency toward increasing information consumption. The traffic goes through Hong Kong and Europe. If in 2004 KRENA requested 1 megabit per second, in 2012 it was already requesting 155 megabits per second.

The CAREN operating center for four countries is located in Kyrgyzstan’s National Academy of Sciences. The equipment for the center was provided by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Government of Japan. The employees of the center were trained in Japan, and now there is regular training for KRENA users being organized here in Bishkek as part of the CAREN project.

JICA Resident Representative in Kyrgyzstan, Oyama Takayuki, believes that it is necessary to create an innovative technology park, based on computer technology, as well as a research center reflecting regional peculiarities. “It is a great idea to create a center in the mining industry on resources research,” said Mr. Takayuki. “Unfortunately, many intelligent people – the main resource of the country – go abroad and do not return. Around 8,000 Kyrgyz residents learn French just to emigrate to Canada. About 1,000 people learn Japanese to be able to study in Japan, and then look for a job abroad. Kyrgyzstan needs an efficient plan for the country’s development, and Japan promises to help.”

A Japanese proverb says that “A frog in the well does not know that there is the sea somewhere”. CAREN today shows us that there is a sea of opportunities. So, it’s time to get out of the “well” and take advantage of these opportunities.