Promotion of leading universities, construction of dormitories and innovation support: new measures in science and higher education approved by Prime Minister of Kazakhstan

Topical issues of science and higher education development were considered at the Government session chaired by the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Alikhan Smailov.

Minister of Science and Higher Education Sayasat Nurbek reported that additional beds for students for the period of study are being actively introduced. At the same time, it is planned to intensify work with developers and potential investors in the regions for construction of new dormitories, particularly in Astana, Almaty, Karaganda and Turkestan regions, and to continue improvement of the mechanism of public-private partnership.

In addition, it is proposed to apply a new mechanism to provide places for non-resident students from certain socially vulnerable categories, namely to compensate operating costs of hostel owners.

The Prime Minister supported these approaches and approved the extension of this mechanism to college students.

The meeting also addressed the issue of infrastructure development of universities, in particular, construction of the ENU-Grad and KazNU-Grad. It was noted that in this direction will be worked out the allocation of land plots with supplying them with all necessary communications.

"This is one of the most important issues. Demand for education in Kazakhstan's leading universities is steadily growing, so we need to find opportunities for construction of additional buildings and dormitories. These questions need to be worked out together with the Astana and Almaty Akimats," Alikhan Smailov said.

He also expressed support for launching a pilot project in 2023 to create centres of academic excellence at three Kazakhstani universities. Within its framework, the selected educational institutions will receive additional equipment, begin the transition to the model of a research university, and begin introducing new curricula.

"Investment in the development of human capital, in the education of young people, is one of our top priorities. Therefore, it is necessary to implement the project with the possibility of its further expansion to other higher education institutions of the Republic," Alikhan Smailov said.

At the same time, the Prime Minister approved granting additional budgetary opportunities for funding research and development (R&D) to regional akimats to solve key problems of the regional economy. This will also stimulate local innovation activity. He added that creation of a single digital portal, through which subsoil users could submit requests for research and development, should be monitored.

The meeting also considered issues of sectoral concepts and development plans of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, taking into account the tasks of the Head of State, as set out in the pre-election program, addresses to the people of Kazakhstan and expanded government meetings.

In addition, the questions of increase of a level of participation of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education in management of branch higher education institutions and scientific research institutes, activity of the Higher scientific and technical commission, development of the bill "On introduction of changes and additions to some legislative acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan on scientific issues" and some other questions were discussed. Decisions adopted as a result of the meeting will give a good impetus to development of the sphere of training, modernisation of higher education, as a whole for popularisation, attractiveness and prestige of Kazakhstani science.

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