Reviews of National Policies for Education: Higher Education in Kazakhstan


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ISBN Number: 978-92-64-03316-0
Publication Date: 22/06/07
Pages: 222


Reviews of National Policies for Education: Higher Education in Kazakhstan

Reform of education, training and human resource development is an integral part of the transition to a democratic society and a market economy. Kazakhstan has made progress in all these areas since reform began in 1990 and aims to become one of the world’s 50 most competitive economies by 2012. The challenge for the Ministry of Education and Science has been to promote and support changes that meet the needs of both the new economy and society and the interests of all young people and adults, in the face of a shortage of financial and human resources.

This book gives a brief overview of regional issues and the history of post-secondary education in Kazakhstan and describes the development of higher and tertiary education in the country since the transition began. It presents an analysis of the education system, identifying key directions for the reinforcement of the reforms in light of the challenges encountered by officials, communities, enterprises, educators, parents and students under very dynamic conditions. It concludes with a set of key recommendations concerning the structure of the system and its labour market relevance; access and equity; financing; governance and management; internationalisation; and research, development and innovation. This review will be very useful for both Kazakh professionals and their international counterparts.

This review is part of the OECD’s ongoing co-operation with non-member economies around the world.



Significant progress has been made in the reform of higher education in Kazakhstan since independence and the beginning of the transition to a democratic society and market economy. Changes have occurred in the system of education with a new structure of tertiary education based on the Bologna process; the establishment of private institutions and a wider range of tertiary education opportunities; education provision is being extended to a 12 year compulsory cycle; the implementation of a Unified National Test for those entering tertiary education; use of technology; and a wide range of programmes to increase access to education for rural and lower income populations. This joint OECD and World Bank report provides an overview of the impressive forward thinking and steadfast application of education reform in Kazakhstan and offers advice on issues of access, equity, quality, and decentralisation of management and financing responsibilities.

Against the background report prepared by the Kazakh authorities and information supplied in meetings in the course of site visits (Almaty, Astana, Karaganda and Pavlodar), the examiners’ report gives an analysis of the post-secondary education sector within the economic, social and political context of Kazakhstan. The final synthesis chapter brings together specific recommendations and sets out how policies can and should be addressed system wide, linked to priority issues of access and equity, student evaluation and efficient use of resources.

This review of education policy was undertaken within the framework of the programme of work of the OECD Directorate for Education in partnership with the World Bank. The financing for the review was provided within the framework of the Joint Economic Research Programme conducted by the World Bank and the government of Kazakhstan.

Members of the review team were: Caroline Macready, Rapporteur (United Kingdom), Former Deputy Director in the Department for Education and Skills; Mary Canning (Ireland) Higher Education Authority of Ireland, former Lead Education Specialist, World Bank; Irina Dezhina (Russia) Leading Research Fellow, Institute for the Economy in Transition and lecturer, Higher School of Economics, Moscow; Boris Galabov (Bulgaria), Professor of Chemistry, University of Sofia, former Deputy Minister of Higher Education; Francisco Marmolejo (Mexico), Executive Director, Consortium for North American Higher Education Collaboration (CONAHEC); Ian Whitman (OECD Secretariat); Isak Froumin, Natalia Agapitova, Ernesto Cuadra, Rajendra Joshi and Jamil Salmi (World Bank).

Executive Summary

Executive Summary

Table of Contents

  • Introduction and Synthesis Report
  • Chapter 1 – Context and Overview
  • Chapter 2 – System Structure and Labour Market Relevance
  • Chapter 3 – Access and Equity
  • Chapter 4 – Financing
  • Chapter 5 – Improving Quality
  • Chapter 6 – Governance and Management
  • Chapter 7 – Internationalisation
  • Chapter 8 – Research, Development and Innovation
  • Chapter 9 – Conclusions and Recommendations
  • Bibliography

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Reviews of National Policies for Education