President Meets Students of Nazarbayev University, Interactive lecture broadcast to students across Kazakhstan

Astana Calling, Sep 6, 2012

Interactive lectures entered the national curriculum this week, with an address by President Nursultan Nazarbayev to the students of Nazarbayev University on the topic: “Kazakhstan on the path to a knowledge society.” The lecture was the first live broadcast of the new TV channel Bilim (Knowledge), officially launched by the President just before his address.

The President outlined how specific measures are being taken to maximize Kazakhstan’s intellectual potential. First and foremost, the State Program of Education Development to 2020 aims to modernize the education system and bring it into line with the highest international standards.

State spending on education has increased 1.5 times over the last two years, to an annual level in excess of 1.3 trillion tenge (approx. $8.7 million), or around 5% of GDP. The level of spending is steadily approaching that of developed countries, which typically ranges between 6-8% of GDP.

The President said that increased investment in education has already had a significant impact, for instance through centralized quality control, per capita financing, a new model of multilingual education and new channels of interaction between the education sector and employers.

With these measures, Kazakhstan has laid the foundation for an integrated and innovative education system from kindergarten to tertiary level. The pace of progress has been recognized by UNESCO, which has ranked Kazakhstan among the top four countries in its index of education development for the last four years running.

President Nazarbayev emphasized that the modernization of the education system is closely tied to Kazakhstan’s economic goals. In the transition to a knowledge-based economy, knowledge is a key economic resource of the country. “The new economy and life of the 21st century are based on knowledge and on science,” said the President; “these are the means to preserve and develop the pace of economic growth.”

The Head of State assured the student audience that youth policy remains a priority for Kazakhstan. A central Committee on Youth Affairs has been established, along with regional youth affairs departments, and the President confirmed that a Concept on Youth Policy Development to 2020 is also underway.

The President called on students to make the most of the opportunity to continue their studies, and to build on the basic capital of their education by continuously learning and improving throughout their professional careers.

After the lecture, President Nazarbayev took questions from students from all regions of Kazakhstan and in foreign countries, including from the US.

The online lecture was broadcast live to Kazakh students studying in the United States, who gathered at the Kazakh Embassy to listen to the President's lecture.