WASHINGTON, D.C., April 23, 2018 – H.E. Erlan Sagadiev, Minister of Education and Science of Kazakhstan, and H.E. Erzhan Kazyhanov, Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United States recently joined the Institute of International Education for high level discussions with senior experts from the higher education community and representatives of the U.S. Department of State. Minister Sagadiev called on U.S. institutions of higher education to develop and implement new partnerships with Kazakhstani universities. IIE hosted the discussion at its Washington offices.
Developing further opportunities for Kazakhstani students to study abroad is a key objective for the Central Asian nation. According to UNESCO data, more than 66,000 students from Kazakhstan studied abroad in 2015. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan has prioritized sending talented students to top universities worldwide. The numbers of outwardly mobile students have grown substantially from just over 28,000 in 2006, with the majority studying in countries such as China, Germany, Korea and Russia.
“From the numbers it is clear that our students are enthusiastic about going abroad, and we are committed to ensuring that our students have the language skills to study in English-speaking countries through new innovations in our education systems, such as the adoption of the Latin alphabet in primary school,” Minister Sagadiev said. “We want to create more opportunities for them to take advantage of existing educational infrastructures worldwide, and are particularly interested in seeing new connections with U.S. institutions.”
In addition to sending students abroad, Kazakhstan is also well positioned to welcome foreign students, especially from countries in the region, the Minister said. Kazakhstan plans to establish itself as a regional hub for education in Central Asia by making its institutions more competitive globally through new partnerships and attracting international faculty and administrators to implement new programs and innovations.
Clare Overmann, head of Higher Education Initiatives at IIE, and Dr. Susan Buck Sutton, IIE Fellow for IIE’s Center for International Partnerships, will lead a workshop in Astana, Kazakhstan on May 15-16 for university representatives from across the country. The workshop will focus on best practices in developing innovative and effective global partnerships.
“Kazakhstan’s many innovative and sweeping educational reforms initiated in recent years present promising opportunities for further partnerships and linkages with U.S. higher education,” said Dr. Allan E. Goodman, President and CEO of IIE. “Through these partnerships, we hope to see the numbers of students from Kazakhstan studying in the United States grow, and likewise to see more U.S. students take advantage of opportunities for study and travel in Kazakhstan.”
IIE’s Open Doors® report on international exchange, which is produced annually with support from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, shows that 1,792 students from Kazakhstan studied in the United States in 2016-2017. That number has stayed stable over the past ten years, despite growth overall in the numbers of Kazakhstani students going abroad. Minister Sagadiev called on U.S. institutions to form new partnerships with Kazakhstani institutions and to implement dual degree programs to help encourage more students from Kazakhstan to take advantage of educational opportunities in the United States.
After visiting IIE’s D.C. office and the U.S. State Department, Minister Sagadiev planned to visit corporations throughout the United States, concluding his travels at the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) International Convention in May 2018. Kazakhstan has established an imperative that its students be trilingual, cultivating their fluency in Kazakh as the national language, Russian for interregional and intercultural communication, and English as the language of global business.
About the Institute of International Education (IIE)
IIE has been a world leader in international education since 1919. IIE works to build more peaceful and equitable societies by advancing scholarship, building economies and promoting access to opportunity. As a not-for-profit with 18 offices and affiliates worldwide, IIE collaborates with a range of corporate, government and foundation partners across the globe to design and manage scholarship, study abroad, workforce training and leadership development programs.
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