NU Strategy: is it effective?

According to Haward et al. (2003) strategic planning is “a conscious process by which an institution assesses its current state and the likely future condition of its environment, identifies possible future states for itself, and then develops organized strategies, policies, and procedures”(p. 3) In other words, strategic planning is kind of tool for organizing the present on the basis of the designing of the desired future. That is, a strategic plan is a road map to lead an organization from where it is now to where it would like to be in five or ten years.

Haward et al. (2003) in their study A Guide to Strategic Planning for African Higher Education Institutions identified four fundamental elements of an institution’s strategic plan, which are: a mission statement; 
a vision for the future premised on institutional values and goals.

In this post, I would like to discuss whether mission, vision and goals statements of NU strategic planning are effective or not. First of all, I would like to mention that Nazarbayev University (NU) is a new university which succeeded within three years in all directions, the same situation happened in 1997 when Astana became a capital of our republic. It was an incredible idea with ambitious goals but clear vision. Today we can say and we see that everything is possible with the support of an active and enthusiastic people who are not apathetic and believe in their future.

The “Vision” statement of the NU Strategy is “to give Kazakhstan and the world the scientists, academics, managers and entrepreneurs they need to prosper and develop” (NU Strategy, 2013-2020). Hayward, Ncayiyana and Johnson (2003) tell us “the vision should inspire, challenge and focus the institution” (p.17), so our university has a strategic vision, a clear understanding of its accomplishment, and the willingness and intention for change. And I think it is effective.

Although, the “Mission” statement of the strategy is kind of “short” but I think it still expresses a clear and precise aim. According to Maki’s study (2002) “an institution expresses its educational values and philosophy through its mission statement” (as cited in Hayward, Ncayiyana and Johnson, 2003, p.15). I like the words in the “Mission” statement like “a model” and “contribution” because it means that NU cares not only about it is own prestige and status but about all universities of Kazakhstan. It is very important, because in order to achieve success and be recognized in the world we have to be a cohesive nation.

In my opinion, goals of our university show that university has an understanding and vision what to do, where and how to follow to perform these five ambitious goals. The evidence is a development and creation of the “Operational Plan for 2014–2016” for the implementation of the Strategy. The Operational Plan is a basis for achieving the strategic goals and completing the challenges.

In conclusion, both Nazarbayev University and its Strategy can be example for other universities. Our university idea is successful because NU is working hard and in a short period of time NU achieved a lot. NU is succeeding not only on the “paper” but acts accordingly in the practice, showing others that it is a feasible task.


Hayward, F. M., Ncayiyana, D. J., & Johnson, J. E. (2003). A Guide to Strategic Planning for African Higher Education Institutions (Vol. 1).

Nazarbayev University Strategy 2013-2020.

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