Internationalization, according to OECD (2007) has been defined as “a process that prepares a community for successful participation in an increasingly interdependent world” (p. 141) what means that it is an answer to the globalization. Integration processes, taking place in the modern world in all spheres of human activity, undoubtedly affected education sector. In response to the challenges of the global knowledge-based economy a universal academic system appeared. The development of Kazakhstan society is an organic part of the process of the gradual transition of human civilization to a new stage of its development.
As Kazakhstan joined European higher education area, it started to implement multilevel professional development of personnel, educational credit system, quality management and ranking of the institution. There is an increasing number of scholarships, outcomes, strengthening material and implementing a program of double diploma.
At present, the double diploma program is implemented by 37 HEIs. The involvement of visiting professors and researchers is currently gaining strength. In 2011, over 1 500 professors visited and gave lectures and seminars in 27 HEIs of Kazakhstan with all costs covered by the hosting side.
Nowadays, there is an increased competition to attract foreign students in the world. According to the Ministry of Education and Science, in the universities of the country today study more than 10,000 foreigners which is 1.5% of the total number of students (Oralova, 2012).
Important factor in the international integration of higher education is a part of Kazakhstani universities in the EU project TEMPUS program and Erasmus Mundus. As a result of effective cooperation a wide range of leaders, teachers and students have access to European education, European university management and European culture.
The country is investing in the ‘Bolashak’ scholarship program through which talented young people are fully supported to study abroad in leading institutions. In total abroad in various programs are taught over 28 000 young people, including over 3 000 within the frame of the ‘Bolashak’ program, in more than 20 countries (TEMPUS, 2012).
According to TEMPUS Report (2012) “special attention is given to external assessment of Kazakh HEIs by national and international accreditation and ranking agencies”. The number of institutions that have passed international accreditation is increasing. The MES is developing a National Register of accreditation bodies, rules and procedures to operate the register. From 2012, accreditations have been carried out by non-commercial accreditation agencies.
The number of international agreements signed by the MES with other countries in the field of education and science is increasing (124 in 2011), as well as the overall number of agreements signed by HEIs (around 8 000).
It is worth mentioning the ‘Nazarbayev University’ which is expected to provide a quality breakthrough in the training of national specialists in the field of engineering and technical sciences and to be a center of innovations and advanced research. Each subdivision (school) has close links with academic partners from top universities around the world. The university hosts top-level professors and researchers from abroad to work as visiting scholars. The university is developing its own research and clinical facilities and potential. Young Kazakhstani people will be able to obtain world class education in their own country.
Today we can talk about the cult of higher education among young people. As evidenced by the results of sociological research (Ruditsa, 2014) among Kazakh students 84.1% believe higher education is strategically important to their lives, 70% are going to continue their education after bachelor, of which one in four is going to do it regardless of the receipt of the state grant.
Kazakhstan needs to be involved into global process of cooperation in order to become developed and successful state, including internationalization in education. If everyone responsible for the reform of Kazakhstan’s education system and its improvement will reject all the doubts and will work hard on this, we can easily become a part of a world full of possibilities.
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2007). Reviews of national policies for education: Higher education in Kazakhstan. Paris: OECD & World Bank.
Oralova, G.S. (2011). Internatsionalizatsiya vysshego obrazovaniya v Kazakhstane: Realizatsiya na sovremennom etape. [Internationalization of higher education in Kazakhstan: realization at the present stage]. Astana: L. N. Gumilev Eurasian National University.
Ruditsa, N. B. (2014). Formirovanie i razvitie vyshego obrazovaniya Respubliki Kazakhstan: Ekskurs v noveishuyu istoriyu [Formation and development of high education in the Republic of Kazakhstan: Excursus of recent history]. Академический Вестник, 2(28), 299-305.
Trans-European Mobility Program for University Studies. (2012). Higher education in Kazakhstan. European Comission.