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Opportunities in education solutions and technology in Kazakhstan

General information

Kazakhstan has free secondary and vocational education, and higher education is constitutionally guaranteed. The country is in the process of modernization and developing of the education system and expanding digitalization. The number of students at all levels is steadily growing.

The total number of schools increased by 157 and amounted to 7550 units in 2021.

The number of private schools has increased by 3 times over the past 3 years. Askar Mamin (ex. PM of Kazakhstan) announced in 2021 that 160 new private schools would be opened in Kazakhstan. Mayor of Almaty Yerbolat Dossayev said in 2022 that 18 new schools, including 6 private ones, are to be commissioned in Almaty. For example, Millennium, Nova school, JIGER private schools were opened.

The architectural plan and design of private schools are extremely important for internal facilities, materials and resources and should reflect the nature of the curriculum and the school’s vision and mission. Demand for architectural and design services as well as for modern IT equipment and furniture is growing.

As to Vice Minister of Education and Science, Sholpan Karinova (June 1, 2022), hundreds of new kindergartens are also set to open.

There are 125 universities in Kazakhstan, 33 public and 92 private, many located in Almaty, Astana and Shymkent. Several universities are among the top 1 000 in the QS World University Rankings 2021, including Al-Farabi Kazakh National University (165), L.N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University (357), and Auezov South Kazakhstan University (490). The government has plans to improve oversight and quality standards and to reduce the number of universities to 100.

The number of university students in 2021-2022 was 575 500 and over 160 000 high school students graduated in 2020. The number is forecasted to rise to around 200 000-250 000 graduating students annually in the next 5 years.

Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) is underdeveloped as many vocational colleges were closed or transferred to other uses in the 1990s. The process of reorientation of TVET system to match the demand of labor market and international standards led to a reduction of institutions to 786 units in 2021 due to profiling of colleges. 58 % of them are public, 42% private.

In 2021, enrollment amounted to 166 921 students (22 637 more than in 2019). According to the Kazakh Ministry of Enlightenment, 125 000 state scholarship students entered TVET institutions in 2022 (45 000 more than in 2021). In accordance with the President’s instructions, 70% of state orders will be given to technical and IT professions until 2025.

The teaching staff is being trained in 6 key areas (metallurgy, mechanical engineering, petrochemistry, food industry, production of building materials, chemical industry) in 10 leading colleges of the country in 57 specialties and 108 qualifications.

The concept of distance learning is legally fixed and the requirements and the rules for organizing the distance educational process have been developed. Educational institutions have the opportunity to transfer students to distance learning. The participation of students in online programs is increasing.

There is a growing demand from Kazakh companies for professional training services, especially for mid-level managers. Adults often possess comparatively weak foundational and problem-solving skills, as the culture of adult learning is underdeveloped. The most demanded training services are management soft skills, HR management skills, English language skills, technical training for the oil and banking sectors.

Governmental support

In 2019 spending on education was 3,6% of GDP, it was announced to increase up to 7% by 2025, with a focus on building 800 new schools, training in education technology and innovation.

The State Program of Education includes construction of schools and kindergartens, modernization of vocational and technical education, e-learning education projects, and professional development systems for teachers.

The Strategic Development Plan 2050 includes the adaptation of the education system to the new socio-economic environment and the creation of a modern system of lifelong learning. Enbek program is launched to bring forward this objective, to promote productive employment and to engage citizens in entrepreneurship. The program introduced the concept of non-formal education in legislation.

On October 12, 2021, the national project ”Quality education ”Educated Nation” was approved. It is focused on ensuring the availability and quality of preschool and secondary education, providing schools with a comfortable, safe, and modern educational environment, providing affordable and high-quality technical and vocational education, increasing the competitiveness of universities.

Study abroad & International cooperation

There is a high demand in Kazakhstan to study abroad at both undergraduate and graduate-levels. According to Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Education, approximately 150 000 Kazakhstanis study in universities abroad and in 2025 the number of students is expected to rise to 400 000.

Based on Academic Mobility Strategy 2012-2020, 20% of all students should have experience of study abroad. The Strategy aimed to improving the English language skills, expanding the number of programs in foreign languages, and promoting links with foreign universities and international organizations. The government funded international scholarship programs, required institutions to establish international academic partnerships, and joined intergovernmental higher education initiatives.

The Bolashak is a national government scholarship for international education with an annual capacity of 1000 scholarships per year. The scholarship covers all costs related to education including tuition fees, travel costs, and living expenses. The Bolashak program has agreements with 33 countries and 83 educational institutions worldwide.

According to the Bologna process and academic mobility center, more than 340 educational programs with universities of almost 40 countries are implemented in Kazakhstani universities.

Seize the opportunity

Demand for high-quality education is on the rise in Kazakhstan, opening opportunities for Finnish education experts. Finland is known as a country with high level of education, there is a substantial need for Finnish solutions and competences.

Finland offers high-quality vocational education, and this expertise can be successfully transferred to other countries. The field of vocational education in Kazakhstan is looking for models and partners from for example, universities of applied sciences. There is a demand for teaching materials, educational software and innovative training programs.

Finland’s offerings in teacher training and pedagogy continue to be interesting. Finnish EdTech training companies have export opportunities for digital teacher training and other consultancy.

There are many opportunities for collaboration and education export in higher education. There is a high demand in Kazakhstan to study abroad at both undergraduate and graduate-levels.

Demand for distance learning technology is rising. There is a lack of curated digital learning material. The government is seeking for digital learning content from sources abroad to be adapted to local standards. Finland has strong experience in IT solutions and digital environment for EDU sector.

There are opportunities in professional training services for companies, especially for mid-level managers. The growing demand gives opportunities for Finnish providers of professional trainings for business, for example, universities of applied sciences.

The private schools scheduled to open need architectural plans and design. The solutions of Finnish architectural and design companies for schools could have a demand in Kazakhstan. IT equipment and furniture for schools are needed.

There is a need for organized preschool education and training for children 2-6 years old.

Target sectors

  • providers of innovative educational programs and learning materials
  • companies providing solutions and products for IT and digital learning
  • teacher training providers
  • education technology companies
  • education consultancy
  • architecture and design companies
  • IT equipment and furniture suppliers for schools

Solutions or products needed

  • vocational education programs (teaching materials, educational software and innovative training programs), especially in technical and IT professions
  • teachers’ training, digital materials for teachers, professional development systems
  • collaboration and education export in higher education
  • organized preschool education and training for children 2-6 years, kindergarten concepts
  • distance learning technology, curated digital learning material
  • on-line courses/lessons
  • language learning solutions
  • digital tools in education management
  • consultancy on education & learning
  • professional training programs
  • architectural and design solutions for schools
  • IT equipment and furniture for schools

Exhibitions and events 2023

International Education Expo (IntEx) 30.09.2023, Astana & 01.10.2023, Almaty

Kazakhstan International Exhibition «Education & Career» 22.-24.11.2023, Almaty

TF activities available for Finnish companies

Team Finland network can support Finnish companies in the activities in Kazakhstan:

If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact Altyn Shakirkhanova, Senior Business Advisor / Head of EastCham Branch in Kazakhstan [email protected].

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