Educational Reform Continues in Kazakhstan: The New University in Astana
Kazakhstan continues on the path of higher educational reform by creating a new university in the capital city of Astana. The New University of Astana, initiated by the President of Kazakhstan, has a unique strategy, combining the quality of leading international universities with Kazakhstan’s economic and social aspirations and top 50 countries in the world. The strategy is to develop full partnerships with several of the top 30 universities in the world to bring their quality of degree programs to Kazakhstan. No longer will Kazakhstanis need to leave the country to receive a high quality international education. The partner universities will assist the new university in developing its degree programs, hiring and providing faculty, student exchanges, and university management.
On February 19th, the New University in Astana signed its first contract with an international partner, University College London (UCL) which is ranked fourth in the world in quality of education. UCL will manage the first year of study for the new university. The first year will include advanced English language training, essential academic skills, and introductory courses in the students’ chosen area of study. From September 2010, students will be able to enter into undergraduate programs in the natural sciences, engineering, social sciences, and medicine. Over the next few years, the university will initiate graduate and post-graduate programs in these disciplines as well as public policy, law, and business.
In early March, a delegation from the university and government will travel to the United States to sign contracts with several American universities to conduct feasibility studies for degree program development, research development and management strategies for the new university as a first step in creating full partnerships. In total, it is expected that the new university will have eight to nine major academic and research partners from the United States, Britain, Japan, and Singapore.
The university expects to recruit 500 undergraduate students for fall 2010. Most students will receive a scholarship since the university is targeting the best secondary school graduates in Kazakhstan regardless of economic status. The university is seeking those with the highest potential for contributing to the social and economic development of Kazakhstan. The entry requirements for the university include excellent performance in secondary school, a high level of English language skills (5.5-6.0 IELTS or 530-550 TOEFL PBT), and a high score on the UCL University Preparatory Certificate entrance tests. Special consideration is given to international Olympiad winners in the sciences and related disciplines with the possibility of a special English language program to ensure their success at the new university.
The university is developing a program whereby the most talented in Kazakhstan will have the opportunity to pursue graduate and post-graduate degrees with our international partners or other leading universities. The long term goal is to build local capacity in Kazakhstan higher education both at the new university and other universities. This student marketing strategy is unique and complimentary to other Kazakhstani public and private universities.
The university is pursuing partnerships with other Kazakhstani universities. This may include joint degree programs, faculty development/exchanges, and student exchanges. This will assist all Kazakhstani universities to improve their international reputations while continuing to contribute to the well-being of the country. The new university is a compliment to the already strong higher educational system in Kazakhstan.
Director of Academic Policy
New University in Astana
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