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Sherzod Shermatov: “Time Comes to Implement a Project Called ‘The Uzbek Dream’ Just Like the American Dream”

Judging by the questions received by the Temporarily Available Project addressed to the Minister of Information Technologies and Communications Sherzod Shermatov, this time the most active was the young people, who are not indifferent to the state of affairs in this promising area. We decided to start publishing answers and comments from the address of Ravshan Makhsudov, who, taking advantage of the opportunity, asked several questions at once. It turned out a kind of basic interview, made by the reader with the help of the journalists of Uzbekistan Today.

Ravshan Makhsudov: Dear Sherzod Hotamovich, what do you think about the proposal to create laboratories for studying and developing algorithms and high technologies to attract and prepare young people for serious programming, creating complex software products, which I proposed in the article published by Uzbekistan Today (read on Link And I would also like to know what joint projects do you plan to organize with the Union of Youth of Uzbekistan?

Sherzod Shermatov: “I think this is a very good proposal, and such laboratories could take a worthy place in the IT training infrastructure in the country. So you need to take the initiative in your hands and implement the project.

I want to say that I also often reflect on the problems of training specialists for the industry. Unfortunately, there are stereotypes in the society that in Uzbekistan only by backstairs influence one can achieve success. This has a very negative effect on the upbringing of the younger generation and contributes to the formation of a distorted value system. And I also have a decision on this matter, on which I work now. I want to implement the idea of ‘The Uzbek Dream’ like the American one, that is, create conditions for a ‘social elevator’ for gifted and diligent young people.

For this purpose, together with the Union of Youth of Uzbekistan, I plan to organize programming courses for all willing on a free basis. At the same time, there will be a rigorous selection among the participants and they will be chosen out based on their interests and abilities. As a result, we will have the best ones, whom we offer to the development companies.

In parallel, there will be a powerful PR campaign, showing how successful young people are due to their diligence and knowledge, which have completed our free courses. IT companies will pay them high salaries.

Considering that the world and Uzbekistan face a deficit of IT specialists and the fact that there are a lot of young people in our country, among which it is possible to select talented and diligent young people, this initiative should give its results.

Also this initiative will positively influence the personality and behavior of young people in general, that is, they will pay more attention to learning and work on themselves.”

Ravshan Makhsudov: Everyone knows that programming is included in the school computer science program. But, unfortunately, not every computer science teacher has the skills of programming. Considering this, I propose to open clubs of young programmers in every district of Tashkent (for start in Tashkent, then throughout the country), which can be attended by all school students willing to learn programming. Experienced programmers should be involved in the work of those clubs, and as mentors - students in IT-direction (encouraging them in a worthy way). In addition, it is necessary to hold regularly the competitions and Olympiads between clubs of different regions, thus stimulating young people to study programming.
Sherzod Shermatov: “As you can see from my comment on your previous question, there are many similarities in our views on solving urgent problems. I very much hope that in the near future we will be able to launch this project with the Union of Youth and young programmers will appear throughout the country.
As for school curricula and training of teachers, I know that today the Ministry of Public Education is actively working on resolving these issues. One of the important innovative solutions undertaken in this direction is that, starting from the new academic year, the basics of programming will be taught within the subject of mathematics from the primary school.”

Ravshan Makhsudov: I propose to organize a competition on development of software products among the countries of Central Asia (or among the SCO countries). This competition could serve as a good incentive for our young professionals. It could also be a good chance to raise the brand of the country.

Sherzod Shermatov: “I think it’s time for you to move from the proposals to action. For the implementation of this idea, I want to recommend you to gain experience in organizing such initiatives on the republican scale. We should have many and different competitions, because they encourage the participants to solve urgent problems. And your initiative could be an excellent addition to the competitions that are already held in the republic. I should note that holding such events at the international level is a more difficult task, requiring experience in working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and interaction with foreign partners. And it is promising from the point of view of the development of projects that have proved themselves effective at first on the scale of the republic.”

Ravshan Makhsudov: What do you think about popularization of sports programming in our country? Will this direction get support from the Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications?

Sherzod Shermatov: “Sports programming is one of the tools for popularizing programming among young people and attracting them to the professional stage. With the support of the Ministry, a number of competitions are held among young programmers. In particular, for the first time a competition among young ladies has been held recently - Technovation Uzbekistan 2017, which brought together 22 teams. It showed the high potential of our ladies. More details on the projects proposed by the contest participants can be found on the official website.”

Ravshan Makhsudov: Can students of IT-directions undergo internship in the Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications?

Sherzod Shermatov: “Students can apply to our ministry and obtain support for getting a place to practice and internship in one of the organizations that are part of the system of our ministry. Those are Uzinfocom, Unicon and others. We need to treat this with understanding, because only people who already know the state of affairs within the industry and who are well versed in the situation and problems, should come to us. The ministry selects the specialists who received good recommendations during their work in these centers.”

Ravshan Makhsudov: What do you think about the popularity of unlicensed and pirated software products in our country? Do we need to fight this and how can this be done?

Sherzod Shermatov: “This is a very big problem for us, and in this direction we have to work more actively not only with the Intellectual Property Agency, but also with the developers of software products. At the same time, software developers must implement more modern and effective ways of selling their products. Here, for example, we are now working out, in my opinion, a very correct and effective approach with Microsoft, the pirated copies of which are currently installed on most computers used in the country. Taking into account that users are taking this step because of the high cost of the company’s products sold on licensed discs, the issue of selling products by subscription and at an affordable price is now being considered. That is, any computer user will be able to download a licensed product at the reasonable price, paying at the same time a reasonable sum. Users of personal computers will be happy to do this, knowing that with the purchase of a licensed software package, they will be able to enjoy the most extensive functionality and other benefits provided by companies.

I believe that the companies-developers of software products should be more active in solving this problem. The faster and more actively they introduce modern high-tech solutions into the fight against pirated copies, the better for them: this will promote their effective development, increase profits and establish compliance with laws and copyright in the market of software products.”

Ravshan Makhsudov: If I open IT NGO, can I get financial support from the government?

Sherzod Shermatov: “Yes, of course. The Fund for Support of NGOs and Other Institutions of Civil Society operates at the Oliy Majlis. The Fund regularly conducts a competition of projects and allocates grants to support the most relevant NGO projects. So follow the information of the Fund, participate in its competitions, and I believe you win.”

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