60% of educational grants in Kazakhstan allocated to engineering and technical professions

On May 18, the main unified national testing began in the schools of Kazakhstan. It will last until July 5. As reported in the Ministry of Science and Higher Education more than 166 thousand applicants submitted 305 thousand applications including two attempts.

It must be noted that one of the main advantages of testing this year is that students are given two opportunities to take the exam. Thus, a test taker can take part in the competition for a grant, choosing the best of the two results. This norm is enshrined at the legislative level.

Kuanysh Yergaliev, Deputy Minister of Science and Higher Education of Kazakhstan, said that 75% of schoolchildren expressed a desire to take the Unified National Testing in the Kazakh language, 25% in Russian, and 0.14% in English. This year, there are no changes in the testing format, but there are innovations.

"On the instructions of the Head of State 60% of all grants were allocated for engineering specialties. The total number of educational grants allocated to study at all levels of higher and postgraduate education is 88,000. Of which 73,000 grants were allocated for Bachelor's degree programs, 13,000 for Master's degree programs and 1,890 for PhD programs," Kuanysh Yergaliyev said.

The responsible body is planning to accept documents for grants from July 13 to July 20, and to publish a list of grant holders by August 10. Enrollment in universities will be held until August 25.

It should be noted that the Unified National Examination in Kazakhstan is held five times a year. For those studying on a fee basis the examination is traditionally held in January-March, and in August. In the first month of the year, 123 thousand people took the Unified National Testing, 83% of whom managed to get the necessary threshold scores. A similar situation was in March, when 111 thousand students took the test.

"One of the important moments of the basic Unified National Testing is the provision of two attempts to pass the test and the opportunity to participate with the best result in the competition for the award of educational grants. This year, this norm has been enshrined in law. At the same time it is not allowed to change combinations of core subjects in the second Unified National Testing (identical to the first attempt)," Yergaliyev added.

Also, the Ministry of Science and Education said that Kazakhstan continues to create the conditions for the comfortable test of university entrants, including applicants with special educational needs. For them the time of taking the Unified National Testing is prolonged by 40 minutes. In addition, questions without diagrams and charts were developed. Thanks to the measures taken, the number of participants with special educational needs taking part in testing grows. While in 2021 90 children participated in the basic Unified National Testing, in 2022 and 2023 the number reached 500.

There are no changes in the testing format. The number of subjects remains the same - three compulsory and two optional, for a total of 120 test items. The maximum number of points is 140. The total testing time is 4 hours (240 minutes).

There are changes in the structure of the Unified National Testing test assignments. The relevant department decided to reduce the number of distractors (answer options) in the test items. For test items with one correct answer, the number of variants was reduced from five to four, and for test items with one or more correct answers (no more than three correct answers) the number of variants was reduced from eight to six.

Since 2022-2023 academic year the list of combinations of the Unified National Testing profile subjects includes the subject "Computer Science". In this regard, applicants for the groups of educational programs "Training of teachers of computer science", "Information Technology", "Information Security" take the Unified National Testing in combination "Mathematics - Informatics".

Changes were made in the number of test assignments on the subjects "History of Kazakhstan" and "Reading Literacy". Now, one version of the "History of Kazakhstan" will have 20 test tasks, for "Reading Literacy" will have 15.

In general, the Ministry is interested in attracting talented and educated young people to universities. Therefore, during the Unified National Testing is still relevant to ensure the academic integrity. To this end, the principle of "one computer to two cameras to one test taker" remains. It is also worth noting that since last year, test options are marked. That is, each participant of the Unified National Testing will have his personal version of the test. The results of applicants who try to bring prohibited items to the Unified National Testing, or violate the rules on the test itself, will be canceled.

The threshold score has not changed: to enter the direction of "Law" and "Pedagogical Sciences" you must score at least 75 points, "Health and Welfare (medicine) - not less than 70 points, "Agriculture and Biological Resources", "Veterinary" - not less than 60 points; for admission to the national universities - not less than 65 points, other universities - not less than 50 points.

Basic testing is now underway. This year, the number of questions in some disciplines has been changed, there is a great emphasis on content, and it is planned to involve international experts who will help improve the relevant methodology.

Ruslan Emelbayev, director of the National Testing Center of the Ministry of National Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan, spoke in more detail about the testing process. 

"When applying, applicants chose the date, time, and place of testing themselves. However, they could choose only one combination of major subjects for two attempts," he said. 

Now 19% of applicants chose Math-Physics, 17% chose Biology-Chemistry, 13% chose Creative, and 10% chose Math-Informatics. Annually, the least chosen combination among high school graduates is "Chemistry-Physics," with only 218 people choosing it (0.13%).

At the beginning of the academic year on the website of NTC testcenter.kz in the section "Entering Higher Education" lists of recommended textbooks, samples of test tasks, specifications, and test plan were published. For the third year in a row, together with the Institute of History approved 100 dates for the subjects History of Kazakhstan and World History, they are also published on the website. All questions relating to dates in history will meet only on this list. 

For the first time the list of works on the subjects "Kazakh literature" and "Russian literature" (from the school program, for 5-11 (12) classes), and also the list of terms on computer science, which will meet in questions or are necessary for understanding of the matter, were placed.

"For the convenience of applicants we have launched a trial online test to prepare for the Unified National Testing. It is absolutely free for our applicants. When taking the practice test, applicants can familiarize themselves with the test tasks and check their level of knowledge in the chosen subjects. Before the beginning of the main Unified National Testing we have once again updated base of questions. I think this will help children improve their preparation," Ruslan Yemelbayev said.

He also added that free online lessons are conducted for the graduates of the year 2023 with the support of educational centers. Classes are held live on YouTube, and graduates who missed the live lessons can watch them in the saved recordings.

By order of the Minister of Science and Higher Education of RK in order to explain the innovations and changes in the Unified National Testing-2023 the work on the organization of meetings with final-year pupils together with regional universities was conducted. Thus, representatives of the Ministry visited 13 regions of the country and held explanatory work with pupils of urban and rural schools.

As for the security of applicants and to prevent violations of the rules and the introduction of prohibited items (phones, cribs, etc.), at the start of testing are used metal detectors of manual and frame-type. During the test, devices are used to suppress mobile and electronic communication signals within the limits of permissible magnetic waves, depending on the area of the classroom (computer lab) and video surveillance.

"On the test itself, participants who take "Informatics" in Russian will have a translation of terms in Kazakh and English, those who take it in Kazakh - in Russian and English, those who take it in English - in Kazakh and Russian. In addition, a calculator, the Mendeleev Table (Periodic Table of Elements) and salt solubility will be available on computer screens during the Unified National Testing. Taking into account the opinions and desires of applicants at the main Unified National Testing applicants will be given a paper version of the tables of Mendeleev and the solubility of salts. A case study will be available for each subject after testing is completed. It will allow you to see not only the results of testing, but also the topics on which mistakes were made, which in turn will allow better preparation for the second attempt of the Unified National Testing," the director of the National Center for Testing said.

#Education #Ministry of Science #Press Conference

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