Comfortable School National Project: new construction mechanism developed

The mechanism provides for levelling the risks of rising costs of objects and reducing the burden on the budget. This was announced by Minister of Education Gani Beisembayev at the Government session, where the implementation of the national project was considered. 

The head of the Ministry of Education noted that the agency is conducting step-by-step control of all stages of implementation of the national project. The progress of its implementation is reviewed weekly at operational meetings in the Government session and meetings of the Project Office with the participation of regions. In addition, real-time daily monitoring of school construction, volumes of completed and residual work is carried out.

"The national project is aimed at addressing the issues of the shortage of pupil places, elimination of emergency schools and three-shift education. In 2024-2025, 369 schools for 740 thousand pupil places are planned to be commissioned, including 217 schools this year. Construction is carried out according to a unified standard, 163 schools will be built in rural areas. The republican budget has allocated 2.3 trillion tenge for the implementation of the national project. For the design and construction of schools in "Samruk-Kazyna Construction" sent the appropriate funding," Beisembayev said.

According to the Minister, a legal framework has been developed to create a modern ergonomic and safe educational space. New requirements for the construction of schools have also been established. Thus, standard design tasks for 7 design capacities have been developed. A list of technological equipment and furniture that meets modern ergonomic requirements and the needs of students and teachers has been approved. Separate blocks with classrooms, sanitary units and gyms are provided for primary and high school students. 

Among the requirements there is also an increase in security measures through the introduction of modern technical means, as well as providing schools with licensed security guards and strengthening the qualification requirements for agency staff. It is envisaged to create a barrier-free environment for children with special educational needs and to provide schools with modern equipped subject rooms. For the convenience of pupils, all schools should have additional cloakrooms and individual cupboards for storing teaching aids and clothes. 

"Taking into account the proposals of Atameken NCE and representatives of industry associations, additional measures have been taken to support domestic manufacturers. This is the purchase of furniture products exclusively from domestic manufacturers that are in the register of Samruk-Kazyna and Atameken. Mandatory requirements for the use of domestically produced building materials, including the use of locally produced products in exterior facades, have been included. The use of preliminary contracts on favourable terms is envisaged," the minister said.

The measures taken to improve the quality of education and the efficiency of the organisation of the educational process are also listed. The selection of a corps of principals for comfortable schools within the framework of the project "1000 leaders of change in education" is underway. In addition, a base of teachers is being formed to provide new educational institutions with personnel in a timely manner, including through professional development of existing teachers. And also, based on the experience of the country's leading schools, a new model is being developed to transform the content of the educational process.

"The construction of comfortable schools is carried out through three mechanisms. These are targeted construction of schools through Samruk-Kazyna Construction, purchase of ready buildings (9 schools) by akimats from private investors and their construction under public-private partnership. At the same time, in order to attract private investment in the implementation of the National Project, the Ministry has developed a fourth construction mechanism. It provides for the creation of a consortium consisting of two participants. These are a private investor and leading educational organisations," the head of the ministry said. 

According to Gani Beisembayev, the implementation of the fourth mechanism will offset the risks of rising costs of facilities. It is also expected to reduce the burden on the budget due to deferred obligations for the placement of the state educational order. Selection of investors will be carried out by akimats on a competitive basis. 

It was emphasised that the implementation of the national project is under constant control of the Ministry of Education. Samruk-Kazyna Construction is responsible for construction and commissioning of schools, regional akims are responsible for provision of land plots and engineering infrastructure. Last year the company started designing and construction of 208 schools. Akimats of Astana and Almaty are planning to buy 9 schools from private developers this year. According to preliminary data, 98 objects are planned to be put into operation before the beginning of the school year, the remaining 110 objects - by the end of the current year.

"Given the fair criticism of the Head of State, voiced at the enlarged Government session, we will make every effort to ensure quality implementation of the National Project. To do this, all government agencies and organisations are required to clearly perform the tasks set," the Minister summed up his speech. 

Chairman of the Board of Samruk-Kazyna JSC Nurlan Zhakupov in his report reminded that on 30 November 2022 the Government Decree defined the main approaches to the implementation of the National Project and approved design tasks for seven types of schools. As the single operator, Samruk-Kazyna Construction JSC is carrying out work on their design and construction. At the first stage in 2023-2024 it was planned to build 208 schools.

At the moment 208 contracts for design and turnkey construction have been concluded. 9 projects have received a favourable opinion from RSE "Gosexpertiza", 56 are undergoing expert examination, 19 are at the stage of completion. 104 projects are planned to be uploaded to the portal by 29 February this year, 20 - by 31 March 2024.

The key factors influencing the extension of design terms were also named. Among them are overestimated cost estimates submitted by design organisations in consortium with construction companies. For example, Samruk-Kazyna Construction optimised costs by 105 billion tenge when considering 41 projects totalling 424 billion tenge. 

"By 1 September 2024, 98 schools are planned to be delivered by 1 September 2024 and the remaining 110 by 15 December 2024. Earlier, a number of companies showed the possibility of round-the-clock work. For example, BI Global erected the box of a 2,000-seat facility in Astana in 3 months. Among the factors constraining the deadlines for delivery by 1 September are long distances. Thus, 18 schools in villages and settlements of 11 regions are 300-580 km away from regional centres, which must be taken into account when delivering construction materials, equipment and manpower. Repeated negotiations have been held with the founders of contracting organisations. The leaders of consortiums have understanding and readiness to complete the objects in due time," Zhakupov noted.

At the same time, it was emphasised that some akimats do not fulfil their obligations on timely provision of land plots. As of today, 5 plots out of 208 remain unresolved. 

According to the rules, regional akimats are obliged to provide schools with engineering, communication and public infrastructure. 11 out of 208 sites have the necessary infrastructure. Contracting organisations have been identified for 53 sites, which will carry out external networks. Design work is being carried out for the rest. 

"For the accelerated solution of the issues of procurement for the connection of engineering and communication infrastructure, akims have been given the right to make independent operational decisions with the application of the norm from a single source," the head of the Fund said.

To support domestic commodity producers, procurement of furniture products exclusively from domestic commodity producers will be ensured. The level of local content in the typical project of school for 2 thousand seats will be about 71%. 

The total need for basic construction materials and equipment for the construction of 208 schools has also been listed. According to preliminary calculations for 2024 it is necessary: 700 thousand tonnes of cement, 300 thousand tonnes of reinforcement, materials for facade cladding - 1.2 million m2, cable and wire products - 14.1 thousand km, lighting products - 437 thousand units, electrical and low-current equipment - 364 thousand units and furniture products - 990 thousand units.

Concluding his speech, Nurlan Zhakupov assured that Samruk-Kazyna will take all necessary measures for the timely implementation of the Comfortable School National Project.

#Construction #Education #Government session #National Projects

Stay updated about the events of the Prime Minister and the Government of Kazakhstan - subscribe to the official Telegram channel