A recipe of a good “Kazakhstani board of trustees”

Kazakhstani government’s desire to upgrade its educational system caused entrance to the Bologna Process and adoption of its main requirements. One of the conditions is autonomy of the higher education institutes where boards of trustees perform management. Even though currently 45 % of universities report having boards of trustees (SPED, 2010), the question of their effectiveness causes concerns. There is scarce data on the results of their work which leads me to an assumption that local universities are not familiar with this system. With the aim to identify the main characteristics of an effective board of trustees I conducted a research and came up with a list of recommendations.

Chait, Holland, and Taylor (1993) elaborate on the traits an effective board of trustees should possess. In particular, efficient boards of trustees have to always consider the mission, traditions and values of the university. Additionally, as the authors claim, boards of trustees have to find opportunities for training of the members, and regularly make analysis of their work. The points authors make are fundamental because every university has to adhere to its mission and preserve its values and traditions in order to be a respected and trustworthy higher education institute. Moreover, adherence to the university mission would enable board of trustees to adopt the decisions which would best meet the university necessities.

Considering local peculiarities, Bilyalov (2016) suggests that to avoid formation of fractions the number of board of trustees’ members should not exceed 10 people. This is crucial in order to ensure transparent decision-making process and eliminate any possibility of collusion. Moreover, board of trustees should be provided with methodology and supervision from experts from the beginning of their practice. They have to get constant support and guidance from more experienced people and thoroughly analyze the finest practices of other established universities. Because board of trustees monitors all spheres of university life, it is highly recommended that members do not donate their own money (Bilyalov, 2016). This is another site we should not neglect because some may see membership in a board of trustees as a source of revenue. Thus, all recommendations mentioned above should be taken and put into practice.

All in all, successful transition to autonomy of the university is impossible without an efficient board of trustees. Considering local realities, we should ensure that boards of trustees are equipped with necessary knowledge and supervision. Even if we do not reach the goal of having boards of trustees in 90% of universities by 2020, the biggest achievement would be establishing a narrow but solid network of efficient boards of trustees in Kazakhstan.

This is my humble opinion, but what do you think about effectiveness and necessity of boards of trustees?


Bilyalov, D. (2014). The bodies of corporate management of universities: The recommendations are based on the American experience. Bulletin of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic Kazakhstan, 2, 144-149.

Chait, R., Holland, T., & Taylor, B. (1993). The effective board of trustees. Phoenix, Arizona: Oryx Press.

MoES. State Program of Education Development in the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2011- 2020, Astana, 2010. Retrieved from http://edu.gov.trio.kz/sites/default/files/program_2020_english.doc


2 thoughts on “A recipe of a good “Kazakhstani board of trustees”

  1. Thanks for sharing such a thoughtful post! (5/5) The topic of university management is one that a lot of university students probably never even think about for one second. As current and future educational leaders, this topic, and your careful discussion of it are quite timely and appropriate. Great use of sources. The minor grammar issues we brought up in class could be fixed, but otherwise, keep doing what you’re doing!


  2. Lenerchik, I found your post very knowledgeable and informative. Frankly speaking, I did not understand deeply the functions of board of trustees(BoT) in the universities. However, your post gave me more understanding about it. Also, you gave really thought-provoking question in the end. I even had to google it. So, from my readings, BoT is a group of people who ensure the interests of students and staff. Even in decision making, more than 50% of votes belong to them. That’s why, the proper functioning of BoT is very vital in autonomous universities. Did I understand correctly?
    Thank you in advance.


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