In celebration of Republic Day in Kazakhstan, we decided to commemorate the nation's remarkable strides in the realm of higher education and academic innovation. In the spirit of this momentous occasion, we delve into a comprehensive review of the educational landscape, focusing on the year 2023—a year of substantial transformation and progress.
From a burgeoning presence on the global academic stage to the embrace of cutting-edge technology and a heightened commitment to student welfare, Kazakhstan's educational sector has witnessed a series of significant developments.
QazMonitor explores the following exciting advancements that mark this Republic Day and the educational future of Kazakhstan.
Advancements in Rankings
Global Recognition: In 2023, the number of Kazakh universities featured in the international QS World University Rankings increased to 21, a significant rise from the previous year when there were 16 Kazakh universities in the list, out of a total of 2,963 universities spanning 104 countries. This demonstrates the nation's growing presence on the global academic stage.
Excellence Acknowledged: The Times Higher Education ranking included six Kazakhstani universities in 2023, highlighting the steady progress over recent years. In 2019, only two universities were included, followed by three in 2020 and four in 2022.
Caring about Current and Future Students
Increased Scholarships: Starting from September 1, 2023, Kazakhstan took a significant step to support students by increasing monthly state scholarships. Bachelor's degree students saw a 20% increase, while those pursuing master's and doctoral studies received a 15% raise. Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) students received a remarkable 50% increment.
Student Welfare: Also from September 2023, orphans, students without parental care, and individuals with disabilities in I and II groups received state compensation for their dormitory expenses, amounting to 29 Monthly Calculation Indexes (MCI) or ₸100,050. This crucial financial support aims to enhance the well-being of these groups.
Academic Autonomy: Kazakhstan further expanded the academic autonomy of its Higher Education Institutions in 2023. Universities gained greater control over the content of compulsory disciplines, credit allocation, and curriculum development. The introduction of microqualifications, "nano-credits," and "buildable degrees" showcases the adaptability of Kazakh universities to modern education trends.
Care about Future Generation: The Ministry is diligently working on a unified solidarity educational savings system, known as "Keleshek," which integrates differentiated grants and preferential educational loans to facilitate students' access to higher education.
Innovations and All Things Digital
Updated Programs: Educational programs in Kazakhstan were updated in 2023 to align with labor market demands and professional standards. The Register now boasts more than 8,387 educational programs, with an impressive 76% of them being updated to meet contemporary needs.
Digital Advancements: The year 2023 also witnessed a strengthening of the digital ecosystem in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). All HEIs are now interconnected through Learning Management System (LMS) platforms such as Platonus, Univer, and Moodle. This technological integration includes measures to protect against DDoS attacks, the introduction of electronic libraries, and electronic document management systems. Moreover, virtual laboratories have been established, ushering in a new era of digital learning.
Innovative Initiatives: The introduction of 30 innovative educational programs as part of the World Bank project is a significant milestone. These programs were piloted in 17 higher education institutions from September 2023, with plans to scale them to 49 institutions involved in teacher training. A modernization concept for teacher education has been approved.
Digital Universities: The introduction of the digital university model in 2023, set to be piloted at Satbayev University and D. Serikbayev East Kazakhstan Technical University, covers four key areas: digital transformation of educational activities, IT infrastructure, scientific endeavors, and the development of a unified digital platform.
Blockchain Education: With support from Binance Kazakhstan, approximately 350 teachers from 22 universities received training in blockchain technologies. Plans are in place to train over 40,000 specialists in this field, emphasizing Kazakhstan's commitment to technological innovation.
More Partnerships and Industry Alignment
Global Collaborations: The establishment of branches of the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute (MEPI) and Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas, alongside strategic partnerships with leading international institutions like the University of Arizona and Heriot-Watt University, highlights Kazakhstan's global reach in higher education.
Industry Alignment: To foster the alignment between the labor market and education, the Ministry initiated the development of regional maps of professions based on foresight sessions, involving university faculty and market analysis. Regional councils for professional qualifications are being established for this purpose.
Technological Advancements: In 2023, a Memorandum of Partnership between the Ministry and BN KZ Technologies Ltd was signed to introduce educational programs on blockchain technologies, furthering the nation's technological capacity.
Industry Integration: To offer students valuable industry experience, an MOU was signed between MNVO and Amazon in 2023. Top 100 students are now actively participating in the OpenSearch project, gaining real-world experience.
International Collaboration: In line with the Head of State's directives, 500 Kazakhstani scientists are annually trained in leading global scientific centers. In 2023, 328 scientists were awarded grants for foreign scientific internships, further enhancing the nation's global scientific footprint.
Commercialization and Research: With a focus on applied science and the commercialization of research outcomes, Kazakhstan has set ambitious goals to increase business sector spending on R&D to 50% of total expenditures and to elevate patent activity by 30% by 2029.
Postdoctoral Programs: In 2023, postdoctoral programs were initiated in five universities, and six memorandums of strategic partnership between research institutes and universities with renowned global scientific centers were established. Additionally, 12 research and production centers and laboratory testing sites were developed within higher education institutions.