Kazakhstan, according to the recognition of many authoritative organizations, is one of the leaders in building a competitive education system that meets the latest trends and conforms to accepted international standards.

In addition, the young sovereign state, despite the thorny path of becoming its statehood, has not given up free education.

Children in Kazakhstan start going to school at the age of six or seven. From three to six years, they can attend kindergartens (pre-school institutions). Secondary general education consists of three levels: Primary (Grades 1-4), Basic (Grades 5-9) and Senior (Grades 10-11 ) schools.

Apart from secondary schools, there are gymnasiums and lyceums with specialized training. In Kazakhstan, “Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools”, experimental educational institutions of a new type, aimed at modernizing the system of school education, have been created.

Organization of Educational Institutions

In colleges, students have the opportunity to graduate from upper secondary education.

Graduates of higher courses of the college can enter universities after the first or second year with the subsequent degree of bachelors, but, there is no system mechanism for this advancement. The state law on education provides equal access and rights to quality education for all citizens of Kazakhstan.

Primary and secondary vocational education is required in vocational schools, lyceums and colleges. Besides that, they were also combined with general secondary education.

The main objectives of vocational education:

  1. Development and implementation of state general educational standards of vocational education, their updating taking into account the situation on the labour market and structural changes in the economy;
  2. Creation of conditions for increasing the availability of vocational education;
  3. Support of the non-state sector of vocational education;
  4. Organization and development of social partnership in the system of vocational education;
  5. Expansion of international cooperation on training and retraining of personnel in vocational education institutions.

Vocational Education

Primary vocational education includes the training, retraining and upgrading of workers, professionals and unemployed.

There are 306 vocational schools and lyceums with 88,348 pupils in the republic. Preparation of skilled workers is conducted in more than 300 specialities.

Institutions of secondary vocational education are represented by colleges that have switched to training specialists in new state standards for secondary vocational education and curricula. In colleges, a new mechanism has been introduced to form a contingent of students and train specialists with full cost recovery on a contractual basis, taking into account the needs of the region in labour resources. Opening of new specialities is carried out only in the presence of a specific customer and the conclusion of a regional employment office.

As I said, Kazakhstan plans to develop and raise its level of education. To implement this, as early as 2004, unified national testing was introduced in Kazakhstan. With the help of this method, it is convenient to reveal the general index of the education of school leavers.

Such an assessment is completely independent and has great strength. This desire for educational progress has brought Kazakhstan to the first place in terms of high quality of knowledge among all CIS countries.

Economy of Kazakhstan

The main driver of the economic growth of Kazakhstan is the oil sector. 

The more favourable terms of trade, which are the result of a 24 per cent increase in oil prices in the first nine months of 2018 compared to the previous year, also helped improve the performance of the oil sector. In addition, new projects to expand production in the oil industry supported growth in the construction sector.

The non-oil economy also grew against the backdrop of dynamic production in the manufacturing, agricultural, transport and trade sectors.

As for the external balance of payments, while the increased demand on the external market and more favourable terms of trade led to an improvement in the trade balance, the inflow of foreign direct investment dropped significantly, putting pressure on the KZ currency.

Macroeconomic Policy

Despite the fact that the National Bank of the Republic of Kazakhstan (NBRK) has lowered the base rate from 12 per cent in early 2017 to 10.25 per cent in August 2017, later in the same year it ceased easing monetary policy due to increased pressure on tenge and domestic prices.

The government continued to implement the fiscal consolidation program by further reducing the non-oil deficit, without taking into account lump-sum support to the banking sector.

In the third quarter of 2017, the Government provided additional capital to the “Problem Loans” JSC for an amount equivalent to $ 6.5 billion (about 4 per cent of GDP) to accelerate the recovery of bank balances; The NBK has allocated an additional $ 2 billion to support banks in difficult financial circumstances.

Economic Prospects

In the medium term, GDP growth will fluctuate around 3 per cent a year.

In the future, subject to the successful implementation of structural reforms, these reforms will help diversify the economy and increase the growth potential of Kazakhstan. Current structural and institutional reforms within the framework of the Nation’s Plan “100 concrete steps” and privatization programs should be aimed at reducing the role of the state in the economy and promoting the development of a prosperous, modern and innovative tradable non-oil sector.

Responsible fiscal and monetary policy will promote economic and price stability, as well as stimulation of investments in the non-oil sector of the economy. The increase in incomes will also have a positive impact on poverty reduction.

Kazakh Students Abroad

Even though, young students from Kazakhstan often leave the country to study abroad. And some, after graduating, prefer to stay in a new place to start a career, equip their lives and acquire a family.
Studying abroad is a great chance to leave a comfort zone. For many years, Kazakh students are striving to gain knowledge far away from hometown.

There are six reasons for this:

  1.  Obtaining high-quality education;
  2. Great value of the European and American diplomas;
  3.  Availability of additional career prospects;
  4.  Possibility of studying one or more foreign languages;
  5. The possibility of intercultural communication;
  6.  The opportunity to travel and explore the world.

Many students are studying in China, Russia, Malaysia and Europe countries.
But in the last and this year, most of the graduates who chose to study abroad preferred Russian universities. They choose to study in neighbouring Russia, cause there more budget universities, especially with technical specialities.

Students who prefer to stay in Kazakhstan, have to take admission exam, which is carried out on their applications on a competitive basis in accordance with the points of the certificate issued on the basis of the results of the unified national testing (hereinafter – UNT) or complex testing.

Comprehensive testing is conducted for graduates of organizations of general secondary education of past years, graduates of technical and professional (primary and secondary professional, post-secondary) education organizations, graduates of secondary schools who did not take part in UNT, trained in the international exchange of schoolchildren for abroad, graduates of the republican music boarding schools, as well as students graduated from educational institutions abroad.

Foreign Grants

Graduates of Kazakh universities can apply for a scholarship and a master’s degree for some American universities. Candidates submitting applications for participation in the grant can become absolutely everything. The direction of training is available in any speciality, besides medicine.

The list of requirements for applicants for admission is too large, but the final result of the work done will pay off with interest. To understand how serious everything is, it should only be noted that the master’s scholarship in one of the US universities consists of the following items:

  1. monthly allowance;
  2. medical insurance;
  3. visa;
  4. tuition fees;
  5. payment of textbooks and other basic needs of the student.

Isn’t it a very tempting offer? That’s just in fact just cannot be all that good: an obligatory condition of the grant is the return to your homeland after 2 years of training.


To all other candidates for participation in the foreign grant “Fulbright” the following requirements are put forward:

  1. good resume;
  2. copy of the passport;
  3. filling in a real-time candidate’s form;
  4. letters of recommendation from a job or university;
  5. a certified copy of the diploma and an application written in English.


One of the most popular among the Kazakh youth postgraduate programs before studying abroad is Erasmus +. To date, the noted educational offer is recognized as the best on the territory of the EU, which unites several interesting opportunities at once. This is the academic mobility of the educational sphere, used for training, sports and youth policy.

Usually, Erasmus + is used to train foreigners for a master’s degree. The main difference between the claimed grant is there is an opportunity to acquire higher education in several European higher education institutions.

To become a participant of the award, you will have to fulfil a number of mandatory requirements:

  1. fill in the questionnaire in real time;
  2. draw up a competent resume;
  3. have a certificate of knowledge of English;
  4. write a motivation letter to the leadership of the selection committee;
  5. have a recommendation letter from a university teacher or employer in stock;
  6. make a copy of the passport;
  7. scan the higher education diploma with the application.
  8. all the documents will have to be translated into English and notarized.

Listing the best foreign grants for the young people of Kazakhstan, we should remember several other well-known platforms.

This is DAAD and Chevening. They are distinguished by interesting tasks, good final goals and the process of learning new heights of science.

It only remains to add that for those who really want to learn and own a certain amount of knowledge, there are no obstacles. Constant persistence and diligence will help to reach any peaks. The government of Kazakhstan, for its part, is trying to do everything possible to provide young people of the Republic with various general education programs. For those who really can and want to achieve something new, this opens a lot of different possibilities. Of course, first of all, they are interesting for young people with good abilities.


As for ACT, SAT, GRE, TOEFL and GMAT for the designation of the most famous tests conducted in English, students in Kazakhstan are trained to pass them, if they are going to study abroad.

There are various agencies directly cooperating with the higher education institutions abroad, that prepare students for the aforementioned tests and even conduct them. Also, in these agencies, there are Foundation programs which students can take and finish within 6 months. Students of Limkokwing and Segi mostly practice that. No specified exams needed. It is practised for 7 years now.

In terms of Advanced Level General Certificates of Education (GCE), better known as A Levels, students of Kazakhstan don’t have to take it.

A Level is studied over a two-year period, with examinations either taken at the end of each year or at the end of the course. Only pupils at Haileybury Almaty (Kazakhstan) take three subjects (in some cases four), which give them the opportunity to enter the best universities in the world. A Level grades range from A* to E.

Other students take Unified national Testing (UNT) which is valued only in Kazakhstan.

Ways of Studying Abroad

According to the Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan, about 20,000 foreign students are studying in Kazakhstan. But the amount of Kazakh students studying abroad is much more- 120,000. Every fifth Kazakh student prefers to gain knowledge abroad.

Citizens of Kazakhstan have many ways to get to study at a foreign university: paid admission with special training, student exchanges, professional development programs, including an MBA, and receiving a grant.

But in general, it is not important whether a graduate of an average Kazakh school goes to Harvard, Oxford, Moscow State University, whether he or she is studying on a scholarship or his studies are paid by parents or sponsors. Any foreign education outside his native country increases not only the competitiveness of the future specialist, financial crisis but also overall viability.

Living abroad, especially studying is not easy, but this period of life carries in itself an invaluable life experience that teaches tolerance, resourcefulness and independence and adaptation to diverse conditions, both abroad and in one’s native country.


Did you ever think about visiting this wonderful country? If not, would you like to?

Editor’s Note: At A Glance is a new series from our blog that provides readers with the latest insights and perspective on the education industry across the globe. Therefore, we welcome contributions from our community members who wish to share their experiences and knowledge on their respective education scene.

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