By TBY | Kazakhstan | Sep 01, 2014
At Your Service
The Bolashak program, a state-run scholarship program, also celebrated its 20th year in 2013, and has now granted funding to over 10,000 students to gain an education abroad. TAKE ME […]
The Bolashak program, a state-run scholarship program, also celebrated its 20th year in 2013, and has now granted funding to over 10,000 students to gain an education abroad.
TAKE ME HIGHER
Kazakhstan’s higher education sector was opened up to the private sector in 1991, when the country became independent. Despite being unconstrained by dated Soviet education structures, many private institutions lacked quality in the early years, leading to a trend toward closures and mergers. That said, private institutions still outnumber public ones with 92 of the former and 56 of the latter, according to the latest figures from the Statistics Agency, bringing the total to 148. This is down from 180 in the 2003/2004 academic year, following which a gradual series of closures brought the figure to 142 in 2008/2009 before a small rise. Almaty is by far and away the country’s higher education hub, with 52 of the country’s total higher education facilities located in the city. The Karaganda region comes in second, with 13, followed by Astana and the South-Kazakhstan region on 12 each.
The Bolashak program is a state-run scholarship that is awarded to successful Kazakhstani students to fund their study abroad, with a stipulation that they then return to the country to work for at least five years after graduation. Having begun in 1993, the program celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2013 and has, so far, awarded scholarships to over 10,000 students. Of that figure, according to INTERFAX-KAZAKHSTAN, just over 6,000 are currently working in Kazakhstan, 2,500 are studying at 200 universities in 33 countries, while the remainder are about to begin their studies. Of the just over 6,000 graduates, 60% studied arts programs, 38% studied engineering, while the remainder studied medicine. Approximately 60% of all graduates are also at work in private companies, 20% at state firms, 15% in government agencies and other bodies, and 4% to 5% in international and non-governmental organizations.
With the hope of having Kazakhstani students bring back Western, democratic values, the Bolashak program was pioneered by President Nazarbayev himself, with many graduates now holding top positions across the economy. As Kazakhstan continues on its journey toward international standards, it seems only a matter of time until institutions in the country begin to make themselves more known. And with students graduating from ever increasingly industry-orientated programs, coupled with the fruits of the Bolashak program, it’s likely that Kazakhstan’s diversification drive will be able to feast on a rich pool of human resources.