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HIGHER EDUCATION POTENTIAL OF KAZAKHSTAN: CASE STUDY OF KAZAKH NATIONAL UNIVERSITY




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Introduction

With 17.29 million people living in Kazakhstan and GDP with 212 million US dollars per capita, Kazakhstan is one of the fastest developing and transforming countries in the world (World bank data for 2014). Kazakhstan’s flourishing economy has been discussed by many researchers and now after facing problems in the sector of economy with devaluation and oil-price reduction, Kazakhstan has to cut back its funding on many projects. This circumstance has made the country and the citizens of Kazakhstan suffer awhile. However, as the President told, the country is not going to shorten the financial aid given and allocated to the education sector ,as he believes in its prosperity and puts lots of effort to ameliorate the training of academics and higher education in particular. One of the best higher education institutions in the country is Kazakh National University named after Al-Farabi. It is ranked among best 400 universities in the world and has huge potential in an academic world (Times Higher Education)

Education potentially serves two functions in the labor market. It is an investment in human capital and develops labor productivity. We expect to find that each additional year of higher education increases earnings, because the student acquires new knowledge, skills, and attitudes that are transferable to employment. Both the student and society gain from private investment in higher education. Second, completion of education can signal to employers that the student is of high ability and integrity and has great potential to be a productive employee (Heyneman 2002/3) or a status group selectivity marker (Collins 1979). Only the most able students are able to complete higher education because the costs of completion (time, money, and effort) are lower than for other students. Higher education may not increase the productivity of labor directly, but it may help employers sort out the most productive and reliable from other more costly workers. If education signals ability in the labor market, individual investors gain from investments in education, but the benefits to society are small.

Higher education in Kazakhstan is comprised of higher secondary school, vocational training, and university education. Students enter higher education at 16 years of age. Depending on the course and the track chosen, they can remain in higher education for another 2 to 6 years. There are approximately 150 universities and higher education institutes spread throughout the country, although the capital, Almaty, has the highest concentration of facilities and also the most varied choice of subjects.

For many years, higher education in Kazakhstan mirrored the educational model of the former Soviet Union, to which it belonged for more than seventy years. This model was characterised by a high degree of specialisation and the rigidity of the curriculum.
Once Kazakhstan became an independent nation, some of the country’s educational facilities began to look towards the West and tried to import some aspects of their educational model. These include the use of new technologies like the Internet, which are slowly being introduced in higher education institutions. As of 2008, 97 per cent of university students had to pay in order to access the Internet in-campus, so 1 in 2 students interviewed claimed to use the Internet only very rarely. Basic equipment like computers and printers is generally outdated, especially at public universities.

A 2007 report by the World Bank pointed out at Kazakhstan’s high degree of specialisation as one of the country’s main strengths. However, research facilities have suffered from a lack of funding for several years, so further investment in research and development is essential to improve the quality of education within the country.

Currently, the majority of university courses on offer are five-year degrees. These could be shortened and the number of contact hours be reduced in order to be more in line with international educational models. The implementation of a credit-based system similar to that used in Western countries is another area of opportunity. Similarly, part-time degrees are still a rarity in Kazakhstan. Adopting this mode of study could facilitate the inclusion of a wider student base into the higher education system.

Plans for future development of the higher education system in Kazakhstan also require the widespread adoption of the English language as a vehicle for instruction. The attraction and retention of a higher number of highly qualified lecturers and researchers from other countries could also help bring the educational standards closer to international requirements.
The last area of opportunity concerns the higher education curriculum, which could be fine-tuned in order to reflect more accurately the needs of the labour market.

Active reforms of higher education in Kazakhstan and analysis of this social institution for the period of Kazakhstan’s independence indicates certain social trends and evolutionary development connected with the transition to free market economic relations. The quest for competitiveness of graduates and determination of their place in the labor market puts the universities in the special conditions aimed at diversifying of the institutional structures.

At the same time there is a tendency toward a constant quantitative increase in the number of students willing to get higher education, which reflects the rising importance of higher education and the prestige of the university diploma.

This leads to an expansion of educational services and consequently to the formation of the private education sector. However, due to the reduced state funding to the needs and development of higher education there is the destruction of a unified system of centralized procurement of institutions of educational, scientific documentation and the program material.

Kazakh National University named after al-Farabi (or KazNU) has long standing traditions and boasts many years of experience in scientific research, which is famous in the post-Soviet space.Nowadays, KazNU is a leading institution in the system of higher education of the Republic of Kazakhstan, which is the first one to pass international accreditation on all specialities and levels.

KazNU is a top university in the General Rating of universities of Kazakhstan. It is the first laureate of the President Award «For achievements in the field of quality». The university is awarded the Commonwealth of Independent States’ diploma for achieving high quality products and services. KazNU is a member of the International Association of universities and co-founder of the Eurasian Association of universities.

The institution was one of the first universities of Kazakh and Central Asia countries, which signed the Great Charter of Universities in Bologna, and successfully passed international certification for quality management system and got certificates of the world’s largest certification centres, for instance, of the International certification system IQNet.

The university has the goal to train and educate highly qualified professionals who will be competitive in the domestic and international labour market.

Integration of achievements of modern science into the educational process is one of the directions of the further development. For this purpose courses, which are closely connected with applied science, are included into the training process. For example, there are courses for students and postgraduates, which are developed according to results of scientific researches that were financed by the state because of their actuality.
Autonomy of the university allows developing and changing curriculum according to requests of employers in order to increase practical skills of graduates. Moreover, the educational process is quite close to the international standards of education, for instance, curriculum and programs of the world’s leading universities are used as a basis. Furthermore, each speciality has its own direction based on international ratings.KazNU has a great educational, scientific, innovative and productive potential, which is used to prepare highly qualified specialists, further integration into international educational space, development of basic and applied researches and their implementation in practice.Results of scientific research are successfully implemented, for instance, by using in the production or manufacture. Many scientific groups have contracts with large domestic and international enterprises and according to the agreements they work on developing technology and production.

Nowadays, KazNU is educational and scientific complex offering wide range of specialities. There are 14 faculties, 98 departments, 20 scientific institutions and centres, a Technical Park. More than two thousand professors and doctors, more than 100 academicians of the largest academies, more than 30 laureates of Government and other awards, 40 laureates of awards for young scientists and 45 holders of State’s research fellowships work in the university. There are more than eighteen thousand students and postgraduates. The university cooperates and collaborates with 418 large international universities on the issues of implementation of collaborative international educational programs, student exchange and more.

It can be said with confidence that KazNU shapes the future of Kazakhstan as most graduates represent the elite of Kazakh society and take part in the development of the country.Much attention is paid to social projects and programs as a form of financial help and motivation for students. For example, excellent students can get a 15% discount or there are large discounts for orphans or disabled students, for prize-winners of republican and international competitions. Possibility of participation in scientific projects offers another significant opportunity for younger generation. As a result, they get experience and salary.

The university also pays attention to the quality and conditions of buildings and accommodations for students. For example, a new 9-floor students’ dormitory was built last year. It is well equipped and has access to the internet.Studying at the university is a dynamic and fascinating experience. The younger generation is actively involved in cultural life of the country, as the university has its own radio and TV programs, student clubs and societies under the Youth Organizations Committee of KazNU.KazNU is one of the best universities in Kazakhstan with excellent infrastructure and a large number of highly qualified professors and teachers who effectively train and teach a lot of students working, studying and living in dynamic and exciting atmosphere.

Reference

  1. „Transformations of higher education in the Republic of Kazakhstan”
    SarsembayevaGulnar, Kazakh-American Free University, Kazakhstan
  2. The Condition of Higher Education in Kazakhstan, silkproject data
  3. News of egov portal
  4. World bank data
  5. Times higher education
  6. http://www.inform.kz/rus/article/2753888
  7. Comparative Higher Education. Stephen P. Heyneman, Kathryn H. Anderson, and Nazym Nuraliyeva Electronically published November 16, 2007
    HIGHER EDUCATION POTENTIAL OF KAZAKHSTAN: CASE STUDY OF KAZAKH NATIONAL UNIVERSITY
    Kazakhstan is a resource-rich country with ambitions strategic plans to enter 30 developed countries of the world and its emphasis is on education very big. Despite the fact that it was hit by the reduction of oil price and devaluation hardly this year, it is still planning to fund education sector as before. This article examines how improving higher education in general and particularly scientific researches activities of Kazakh National University can help the country in long-term. Also we consider the hindering factors of a better higher education system and implementation recommendations of a better one with a cost-benefit analysis.
    Written by: Abdieva Rose Serikbaevna, Omarova Batish Abdirashovna, Imanova Aigul Serikbaevna
    Published by: БАСАРАНОВИЧ ЕКАТЕРИНА
    Date Published: 01/31/2017
    Edition: ЕВРАЗИЙСКИЙ СОЮЗ УЧЕНЫХ_31.10.15_10(19)
    Available in: Ebook