EDUCATION WITHOUT BORDERS

Kazakhstan 2016 | HEALTH & EDUCATION | FOCUS: BOLASHAK INTERNATIONAL SCHOLARSHIP

Back in the 1990s, Kazakhstan was the first Central Asian country to launch an all-expenses paid presidential scholarship program for international study, thanks to which, for the first time in the history of the post-Soviet countries, talented, high-performing students have the chance to study abroad.

At the dawn of its independence from the Soviet Union, the Republic of Kazakhstan needed highly qualified professionals capable of conducting reforms and representing the newly established country at the international arena. On November 5, 1993, by Presidential decree, the Bolashak International Scholarship was established to meet this demand.

Kazakhstan was the first Central Asian country to launch an all-expenses paid presidential scholarship program for international study. As a result, talented students, for the first time in the nation's history, had the chance to study abroad. Bolashak was designed to train the country's future leaders in the fields of business, international relations, law, science, and engineering, among others. The scholarship is awarded only to high-scoring students from Kazakhstan for study at universities overseas. Upon completion of the graduate degree, the scholars are required to return to work in their homeland for at least five years.

Each year Bolashak advanced in its goals and began to work more closely with the government to directly implement state objectives. In the first years of its implementation the scholars were able to study in just four countries— the US, the UK, France, and Germany. Later on, the choice of countries in which to study was greatly expanded. Throughout the period of its realization Bolashak has been granted to 11,126 Kazakhstan citizens for study in the world's 200 best universities across over 30 countries. The country's Ministry of Education and Science continuously modernizes the program in accordance with the new priorities of the country's development, such as the Kazakhstan 2050 Strategy. As a result of the program's focus, the Bolashak Scholarship has been awarded and selected as among the top 11 academic mobility programs at the VIII International Going Global Conference in Miami in 2014. The program has quickly become an integral part of the country's image abroad, and a guarantor of a successful career path and professional opportunities for its graduates. Upon return, many of the Bolashak alumni occupy senior positions in the civil service, government, international organizations, as well as various national and international projects, contributing to the sustainable development of Kazakhstan. Bolashak, without a doubt, is a great example of state policy working to meet the needs of the nation. Ultimately, its graduates are not only talented, progressive-minded young people holding active civil positions, but are also proud representatives of their homeland. Upon completion of the program, all alumni return to Kazakhstan with a vast knowledge and experience, but most importantly with a desire to work for the sake of developing their country, improving the lives of its citizens, and contributing to a better future.