The basis of the state policy in the field of higher education in Kazakhstan is the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan (1995). In accordance with paragraph 2, Article 30 of the Constitution "All citizens shall have the right to receive free general secondary, technical and vocational education, and on a competitive basis a free post-secondary, higher and post–higher education provided that the education at these levels is received for the first time". Higher education is acquired by citizens who have completed secondary general, TVET or further (post-secondary) education.
To date, Kazakhstan has 131 higher education institutions (HEIs). Depending on their form of ownership, Kazakh universities are national, corporatized or international institutions, or they have the status of an autonomous organisation of education (AOE). They are divided into public or private bodies according to their source of funding. The establishment and operation of both public and private higher education institutions is regulated and monitored by the Ministry of Education. Private universities are on an equal footing with public ones and holding a license is required, since all universities are subject to regular certification and accreditation.
In 2010, Kazakhstan signed the Bologna Declaration, which was followed by a series of changes in the education system.
A three-level model was introduced based on a credit system measuring the acquired knowledge. Full transition to a new structure took place in 2010 and its major changes were incorporated into the State Programme of Education Development 2011-2020 and the amendments to the Law on Education (2015). In 2012, Kazakhstan adopted a National Qualifications Framework (amended on 12/18/2013):
Bachelor programme - at least 4 years (depending on the field of study)
Master programme – 1 year (professional) or 2 years (scientific)
PhD programme - 3 years
From January 2019, Kazakhstan transferred to a new credit system, fully compatible with ECTS, with 240 credits for Bachelor, 60-120 for Master and 180 for Doctoral programmes. Before 2019, most universities of the country used the Kazakh credit transfer system. The student workload of 1 Kazakhstani credit and the transfer coefficient to ECTS depended on the level of study and the type of academic activity.
In 2018, the total student population was around 500,000 people with female students comprising 54.3%. There are around 14,000 international students enrolled in Kazakh HEIs.
The tuition fees vary from around US $1000 to US $5,500 per year, depending on the programme, institution and study level. HEIs offer a variety of scholarships for students with high academic achievement and/or financial difficulties.
223 academic programmes are taught fully in English at 21 Universities. 301 programmes are run jointly with international HEIs.
Ten universities in Kazakhstan are featured in the QS World University Rankings 2018/19, with Al-Farabi Kazakh National University taking 220th position in the World ranking.
In the field of higher education, reforms are being implemented in the following areas:
The major changes in the field of higher education in Kazakhstan in 2018 were related to the new Law "On introducing amendments and addenda to some legislative acts on the expansion of academic and managerial independence of higher educational institutions" adopted on July 4, 2018 No. 172-VI. The Law introduces 16 types of commercial activities that HEIs now can engage in; 24 independent functions for all types of universities; 2 functions for universities with a special status, such as defining the content and awarding Doctoral degrees.
In accordance with the amendments to the Law on Education of the Republic of Kazakhstan, HEIs gained more autonomy in the following domains:
The existing functions of universities were complemented by the following new functions:
These changes led to the development or revision of 56 by-laws, regulating the operation of HEIs.The reform is aimed at increasing the competitiveness of universities. It allows HEIs to gain academic autonomy and managerial independence through the transformation into non-profit joint stock companies. It is expected that universities will increase the effectiveness of their activities through accountability to corporate bodies of governance. In addition, HEIs will be able to diversify their sources of income and introduce modern methods of management and budgeting.
CACTLE - Implementing a Central Asian Centre for Teaching, Learning and Entrepreneurship
АСADEMICA - Accessibility and Harmonization of Higher Education in Central Asia through Curriculum Modernization and Development (http://www.academicaproject.eu)
ECCUM - Establishment of Computing Centres and Curriculum Development in Mathematical Engineering Master Programme (http://eccum.famnit.upr.si/en/)
TAME - Training Against Medical Error (http://www.tame-project.org/)
ECAP - Enhancing Competencies of Central Asian Universities in Agricultural Policy Focused on Environmental Protection & Land Management (http://ecap.uniag.sk/)
COMPLETE - Establishment of Centres for Competence and Employability Development (http://www.cced-complete.com/)
DOCMEN - Development of Two Cycle Innovative Curricula in Microelectronic Engineering (http://www.docmen-project.pl/)
IQAT - Enhancing Capacities in implementation of institutional quality assurance systems and Typology Using Bologna Process Principles (https://www.project-iqat.eu/)
TREASURE-WATER - Trans-Regional Environmental Awareness for Sustainable Usage of Water Resources (http://treasure-water.eu/)
IUCLAND - International University Cooperation on Land Protection in European-Asiatic Countries (http://www.iucland.eu/)
ModeHEd - Modernizing Health Education in Universities (http://modehed.uz/web/)
LogOn-U - Development and Implementation of the Master Programme - “Green Logistics Management “: Advancing Trans-Eurasian Accessibility through Sustainable Logistics Management and ICT Competence (http://green-lg.com/)
SARUD - Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (https://sarud.uni-hohenheim.de/startseite)
APPLE - Applied curricula in space exploration and intelligent robotic systems (http://apple.erasmus.plus/)
TUTORIAL - Strengthening network education, research and innovation in environmental health in Asia (http://tutorial.ut.ee/)
WELCOME - Towards incoming international university communities (http://www.welcomeproject.net/)
LMPI - Licence, master professionnels pour le développement, l’administration, la gestion, la protection des systèmes et réseaux informatiques dans les entreprises en Moldavie, au Kazakhstan, au Vietnam (https://www.lmpi-erasmus.net)
InnoCENS - Enhancing innovation competences and entrepreneurial skills in engineering education (https://gidec.abe.kth.se/InnoCENS/)
SUSDEV - Lifelong learning for sustainable development (http://www.susdev.confer.uj.edu.pl)
ENINEDU - Enhancement of higher education and corporate sectors integration in accordance with new social environment (http://eninedu-erasmusplus.kaznu.kz/)
PAWER - Paving the way to interregional mobility and ensuring relevance, quality and equity of access (http://pawer.univaq.it)
DIREKT - Developing trans-regional information literacy for lifelong learning and the knowledge economy (https://direkt-cbhe.com/)
C3QA - Promoting internationalization of research through establishment and operationalization of cycle 3 quality assurance system in line with the European integration agenda (https://c3-qa.com/)
EduEnvi - Enhancing competences of sustainable waste management in Russian and Kazakh HEIs (http://eduenvi.blogs.tamk.fi/)
ProlnCa - Promoting the innovation capacity of higher education in nursing during health services´ transition (http://proinca-nursing.kz/)
CLASS - Development of the interdisciplinary master program on computational linguistics at Central Asian universities (http://erasmus-class.eu/)
AsiAxis - Enhancing university teaching in thermal power systems for cleaner environment with parallel improvements in PhD skills development (http://www.asiaxis.eu/)
ProdLog - Development of a bologna-based master curriculum in resource efficient production logistics (http://www.erasmus-prodlog.com/)
EDUQAS - Implementation of education quality assurance system via cooperation of university-business-government in HEIs (http://web.elth.ucv.ro/eduqas/)
TRUNAK - Transition to university autonomy in Kazakhstan (http://trunak.eu/)
NICoPA - New and innovative courses for precision agriculture (https://nicopa.eu/index.php)
HiEdTec - Modernisation of higher education in Central Asia through new technologies (http://hiedtec.ecs.uni-ruse.bg)
SMARTCITY - Innovative approach towards a master program on smart cities technologies
STEM - Integrated approach to stem teacher training
KUTEL - Kazakh universities to foster quality assurance processes in technology enhanced learning (http://www.kutel-project.eu/)
ChildCA - Improvement of children care teaching as a template for modernising postgraduate medical education in Central Asia
ENTER - Engineering educators pedagogical training
DECIDE - Developing services for individuals with disabilities
TALENT - Establishing master programmes in HRM and talent development in Central Asia
EEIHSR - Economics, ecology and infrastructure at high-speed railways
Technical Assistance Missions (TAMs):
Students in focus: Student as partners in higher education governance and quality assurance, 5-6 April 2017, Almaty, Kazakhstan
1) Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan http://www.parlam.kz/en/constitution
2) Law on Education in the Republic of Kazakhstan https://online.zakon.kz/document/?doc_id=30118747#pos=4;-243
3) Ministry of Education and science http://edu.gov.kz/ru
4) The Bologna Process and Academic Mobility Centre http://enic-kazakhstan.kz/en/
5) National Erasmus+ Office in Kazakhstan http://www.erasmusplus.kz/index.php/en/
6) HERE team Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/HEREteam.kz/