CLASS STANDING

Kazakhstan 2015 | HEALTH & EDUCATION | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Farrukh Makhmudov, President of the Eurasian Technological University (ETU), on the rapidly developing programs, cooperative education with international schools, and making sure that students graduate with real-world skills.

Farrukh Makhmudov
BIOGRAPHY
Farrukh Makhmudov graduated from the Almaty branch of Dzhambul Techonological Institute where he earned a degree in Community Nutrition Technologies. In 2000 he perused an MBA in Finance at the Kazakhstan Institute for Economy Management and Prognosis (KIMEP). Farrukh has held numerous positions in the private sector, and has an exceptional career in the automotive industry to his credit. In addition to his role as the president of the ETU, he has been the head of the board of Autodom company since 2003.

ETU has a fairly short history. Could you tell us about the creation of ETU and the university's achievements in these past few years?

The predecessor of ETU during Soviet times was an industrial college, which was renamed Almaty University For Humanities And Technology in 1988. In 2014 the institution underwent re-organization and rebranding and the new strategy for development of the university was formulated. It suggests a five-year period of transition towards making courses more practical, improving the quality of research, and strengthening of the faculty staff. We also take care of our professors and tutors, making every effort to ensure that they are satisfied with the working conditions.

What courses does the university offer, and how is it different from other academic institutions of Almaty and Kazakhstan?

ETU offers a wide range of majors: from Economics and Business to Management in Public Transportation and Energy Development. As of today 2,400 students are enrolled at the university. The next year we plan to open food and nutrition related courses. One of the main features that makes ETU different is our practical approach to education. We strive to give our graduates the knowledge and skills that are in demand in the market. We give talks to our students when they change their major, should the need arise. ETU offers educational services at an average market price and at the same time, we invest into our faculty members and provide assistance in upgrading their existing qualifications or getting new ones. ETU faces many challenges and the first of them is to provide quality education at affordable price.

How does the university strategy reflect the government policy for economic diversification?

We work with the rector and the deans of the faculties in order to adapt courses and programs according to market needs. It is a rather efficient business model that corresponds to the norms of the Ministry of Education and at the same time is in high demand in the market. Our academic pro-grams are more fine tuned. For example, ETU students attended the launch of the assembly line at the Toyota Kazakhstan plant, where they undertake internships on a regular basis. We provide education that is relevant to the market.

You have mentioned the work to enhance cooperation with enterprises. Could you give us more details?

At the moment a number of enterprises produce electronic devices within Kazakhstan. We are negotiating with them, as well as with the food industry. The specialties that we teach, such as Economics, Law and Finance, are necessary at every enterprise, but there are particularities in each given industry. For our potential partners, we choose companies that are ready to work in close cooperation with the university. We conduct negotiations with major national corporations, com-panies in the petroleum refining, tourism, and consumer goods industries. The partnership between the university and the companies of is mutually beneficial—students receive the training necessary for work in a specific industry and companies get the opportunity to test certain technologies at the university. This year we are planning to build a new academic building, which will have the area of 16,000sqm. This will allow us to gradually increase the number of students at ETU up to 4,000-5,000 within the next five years. We also aspire to encourage extracurricular activities. The university has football and basketball teams, as well as a comedy club.

When it comes to international cooperation, which foreign academic institutions do you work with?

We have student exchange agreements with approximately 100 institutions at the Bachelor, Master and PhD levels. Student exchanges are carried out with many European universities. We also offer double-degree programs. I recently visited the University of Antwerp in Belgium and had a talk with the rector—they are very interested in collaboration. The University of Antwerp commands a powerful scientific base and adheres to a similar model of education service, which is in line with what we are accomplishing here. 6