Scholarships for Kazakhstan university students to be doubled by 2025

The enlarged meeting of the collegium of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Republic of Kazakhstan was held in Astana. Representatives of the Republic of Kazakhstan Presidential Administration, the Republic of Kazakhstan Parliament, the Republic of Kazakhstan Government Apparatus, rectors of universities, heads of research institutes and subordinate organizations, as well as public figures of the country took part in its work. Minister of science and higher education of Republic of Kazakhstan Sayasat Nurbek, chairman of Committee of science of Ministry of science and higher education Darkhan Ahmed-Zaki, executive secretary - board member of NCE "Atameken" Nurlan Sakuov and PhD, professor, freelance adviser to Ministry of science and higher education Tansaule Serikov made report on results of 2022 and tasks for 2023 in light of election program of Head of State Tokayev.

In his speech, the Minister said that the main objective of the Ministry was to strengthen coordination of scientific services in the country, modernise scientific research organisations, improve their competitiveness, create conditions for quality training of personnel needed for the economy and strengthen coordination work.

"In the pre-election programme of the Head of State, the tasks of the Ministry are planned in 3 main areas. These are accessible and high-quality education, advanced applied science, common values and culture," Nurbek said.

Elaborating on these areas in more detail, the Minister noted that the main strategic directions and tasks of the Ministry have been outlined in 6 national action plans, 3 concepts, 3 national projects and 19 presidential instructions.

35% of HEIs in the country implement international education and academic mobility programmes. There are 3 branches of foreign higher education institutions. 27% of scientific developments are commercialised.

There are 626,200 students enrolled in 119 higher education institutions. The number of graduates is 188.3 thousand. 7,099 were placed in dormitories during the current academic year.

"The demographic changes taking place in our country are having an impact on the development of higher education. The number of students in the country is growing steadily. While in 1991 there were 288,000 students at 61 higher education institutions, by 2025 there are expected to be 800,000 students," Nurbek said.

Last year, he said, the volume of state orders increased by 10%, 60% of which are placed in technical fields. Tuition fees for students have been reduced by 20%.

The Minister also noted that the content of higher education has been renewed. 8 HEIs have joined practical undergraduate education and 4 HEIs have introduced integrated GPA. There are 16 higher education institutions in the ranking and 3 institutions were included in the TimesHigherEducation ranking. 3 branches of Kazakhstani HEIs were opened abroad.

Speaking about the assignments of the head of state within the framework of the election platform, the minister called on the heads of higher educational establishments to make every effort for the qualitative fulfilment of the tasks set.

First, there is the mandate to double student scholarships until 2025. It is important to budget for the necessary amount of funding.

Second, to provide all students with free access to the world digital libraries necessary for education. To realize this task, it is necessary to analyze digital libraries and foreign resources of universities; provide a national subscription to "World Digital Libraries" and organize work on translating Coursera courses into the Kazakh language.

Third, it is necessary to solve the issue of the shortage of places in student dormitories. In order to implement this instruction, it is necessary to improve the PPP mechanism, to work out measures to attract private construction companies, including through PPPs, as well as to work out a mechanism to increase the charter capital of state universities for the construction of dormitories.

Work has already begun, the minister said. The heads of universities, together with the akimats and business representatives, need to ensure that investors are attracted for the construction of dormitories.

As part of the implementation of the President's memorandums of understanding, the government is working on opening at least five additional branches of reputable foreign universities by 2025, including two branches of universities with a technical focus in the western region.

It has also been mandated to continue the launch of Academic Excellence Centres (AECs) at 20 higher education institutions, focusing their activities on providing the regions with the necessary human resources, as well as establishing modern teaching and research laboratories.

This year it is planned to launch 3 DACs in a pilot mode, and the rest from 2024. Universities need to prepare the relevant documents as soon as possible and work with the state bodies concerned. It is necessary to intensify and carry out coordinated work with universities.

The Ministry has also begun work on revising the cost of grants by introducing a differentiation (from 30 to 100%) in the system of educational grants depending on the UNT results and other indicators and providing opportunities for long-term preferential loans to pay university tuition fees at 2-3% per annum.

Universities already need to educate prospective applicants accordingly.

"The main priorities of higher education are structured along seven axes, and they form the basis of the ministry's development strategy," Nurbek said.

According to him, the number of grants has increased in recent years. Whereas in 2000 the volume of state order was 12,860 places, in 2022 the number of grants increased by almost 7 times to 88,204 (75,761 undergraduate places, 13,253 masters and 1,890 doctoral studies). There are plans to increase the number of grants to 90,000 by 2025.

There are plans to introduce grant differentiation from 30% to 100% depending on the S&T and preferential lending at 2-3% per annum.

The following mechanism (types of grants) is proposed to implement the differentiation of grants:

- "Daryn" - 2.1% of applicants will receive a grant of 120% of the average grant;

- "Basic" - 65.3% of applicants will receive a grant of 100% of the average grant;

- "Kamkor" - 32.6% of applicants will receive a grant of 30-50% of the average grant.

It is also necessary to amend the Law on Education to include the conceptual apparatus - differentiated grants, grant calculator (in Article 1 and 63).

"The Ministry, in implementation of the Head of State's order, is also working on the introduction of the Unified Solidarity Education Savings System "Keleşek". Differentiated grants and preferential educational loans will be integrated here," Nurbek said.

Using this approach, he said, would ensure 100% coverage of education, efficient planning and spending by parents/students, and optimise spending from the state budget by at least Tshs 15 trillion over the next 18 years.

Today's job market demands flexible thinking, fast and continuous learning skills and a willingness to be mobile.

"According to research by the World Economic Forum, 40% of the core skills of professionals in the labour market could change over the next five years, and one in two workers will need to retrain. By 2025, the proportion of workers born into the digital generation will be 26% of the employment mix. For them, self-development and work-life balance are top priorities. They tend to change fields and retrain more often," Nurbek said.

 A system of forward-looking staffing has been established in Kazakhstan.

Since 2019, there has been a register of educational programmes in the country and the aim was to create a unified information base, which is in fact an analytical toolkit.

A total of 8,512 programmes are now included in the register. Among them are 2,695 new programmes as well as 266 innovative programmes. To date, about 66% of the programmes have been updated. According to the Minister, economic factors also form challenges for the development of higher education. For example, in the context of the development of digitalisation, artificial intelligence, and cloud technologies, it is relevant to develop such competences in students as: cognitive skills, the ability to manage not only physical space but also virtual space, social skills and emotional intelligence, "soft" competences, including critical thinking and systemic problem solving, interaction skills, language skills, etc.

The labour market already dictates that knowledge in only one field is not enough to be in demand. To this end, the principle of interdisciplinarity is increasingly being used in training. For example, in connection with digitalisation, many universities have already begun to implement interdisciplinary programmes with IT.

There are also criteria for excluding programmes from the register due to loss of relevance. In order to strategically consolidate the efforts of universities, Akimats and business structures, it is planned to develop and launch the "Mamandygym-bolashagym" project. It will be based on the results of Atlas research.

The organisation of the work and the necessary funding have already been laid down in the Income Improvement Programme 2025. A list of 20 universities participating in the project has been drawn up.

Today the Mamandygym-bolashagym project is being implemented in 5 regions - Mangistau, Atyrau, Aktobe, Pavlodar regions and Astana city. All these initiatives are planned to be enshrined in law within the framework of the draft Law on Professional Qualifications.

As a result, 20 regional demand maps will be developed, 1 million schoolchildren will be covered by vocational diagnostics, and foresight sessions will be organised for university teachers to identify in-demand professions and skills in each region. Increasing student enrolment stimulates competition among higher education institutions and leads to a diversity of their educational programmes.

"In order to synchronise the labour market and education, the Ministry has started work on developing regional maps of professions based on a foresight session among university lecturers and an analysis of the regional market. For this purpose, regional councils for professional qualifications are being created,"  Nurbek said.

He said that educational programmes of higher education institutions are developed and updated on the basis of the regional map, as well as professional standards.

The main co-designers of the programmes are partner enterprises. For example, the share of involved practitioners in selected educational programmes has reached 75%. In order to ensure the quality of the content of the programmes, they are extensively reviewed by independent experts (2 or 3 experts) and then included in a register.

Another important focus of the ministry is the implementation of the Lifelong Learning Concept. At the moment there is a question of implementing its key provisions in practice.

"Globally, this concept is becoming the norm, and Kazakhstan should not fall out of this process. To this end, we are forming a full-fledged system of non-formal education certification, as well as actively introducing the practice of micro-qualifications,” Nurbek said.

For example, the updated State Compulsory Standards for Higher and Postgraduate Education provide for the recognition of microqualifications, introducing the concepts of "nano-degrees" and "stackable degrees".

Developing the digital architecture of higher education institutions is an important area of focus

Today, universities are being transformed into digital universities. Global practice shows that the time of cumbersome universities, most of which were formed during the industrial period, is rapidly disappearing. They are being replaced by modern, more flexible and adaptive educational platforms.

"All our universities have LMS systems. Virtual laboratories have been set up. Massive open online courses are widely used. On the instructions of the Head of State, work has begun on providing students with access to the world's digital libraries,” Nurbek said.

In mid-September a memorandum was signed with one of the leading online education platforms Coursera, he said. Within the framework of the agreements, such measures as attracting Courseraforcampus to Kazakhstan, opening access for our students to online courses of leading universities in the world, as well as encouraging domestic universities to place their own courses on this platform are being worked out.

Universities need to ensure that a real mechanism is put in place and that, if possible, students are given credit for the courses and disciplines they have taken online. That is, a student can independently take an online course from a renowned foreign professor and receive credits for it, which will necessarily count towards his or her diploma.

The Network University of the Council of Turkic States will be established based on the example of the SCO and CIS Network Universities and this will open up the possibility for citizens of Turkic countries to study in the Turkic states. Higher education institutions need to be fully involved in this project.

"Today, the goal of the education system is to train a new generation of personnel capable of working effectively in the global labour market. Kazakhstan is working purposefully to integrate the country into the international scientific and educational space,” Nurbek said.

According to him, the implementation of the internationalisation strategy will continue. As part of the strategic documents, it is planned to work towards attracting up to 10% of talented foreign youth by 2025.

Universities need to work on attracting partner universities from the top 500 international rankings to implement joint and double-degree educational programmes.

According to the Minister, from this year a permanent FACE Office will be functioning on the platform of Kazakhstan.

"In implementation of the assignment of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Tokayev by 2025 we are working on opening of 5 branches of leading foreign universities. Today there are already branches of the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI at Al-Farabi Kazakh National University and the Gubkin Russian University of Oil and Gas at the Atyrau University of Oil and Gas named after Utebayev," Nurbek said.

The model of strategic partnership between Kozybayev North Kazakhstan University and the University of Arizona is being implemented, he said. Kozybayev and the University of Arizona. Cooperation between Aktobe Regional University named after Zhubanov and Heriot Watt University (UK) has begun. The establishment of branches of Universities on the basis of a number of domestic higher education institutions is also being considered.

During the state visit of the Head of State Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to Uzbekistan in December 2022 the Intergovernmental Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan on cooperation in the field of higher and postgraduate education was signed. Under this agreement, the parties contribute to the development of cooperation in higher and postgraduate education, the expansion of cooperation in science. The document provides for the exchange of students, faculty and researchers as well as joint research. Namely, exchange of up to 20 students, including 14 for bachelor's programme and 6 for master's programme is under consideration.

In addition, the countries plan to expand cooperation between higher education institutions, including in training, retraining and professional development of teaching and research staff.

Also, according to the minister, there is a special emphasis on further development of the corporate governance system. The composition of the Boards of Directors is being reviewed taking into account their performance. A Memorandum has been signed jointly with the Association QazaqstanIndependentDirectors in order to conduct research in the field of corporate governance to develop the institute of independent directors, to involve experts of the Association in solving individual corporate issues.

Work is planned to improve the qualifications of board members and corporate secretaries of HEIs. As a result of this work, amendments will be made to the Code of Corporate Governance of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education.

On the instructions of the Head of State, endowment funds are being worked on as a basis for the sustainable development of university science and innovation.  An important issue is the development of university infrastructure.

"For the development of university science, the creation of regional hubs, within which innovative start-ups will be created, is being worked out. Centres of academic excellence in the regions will be launched, focusing on the needs of the region, upgrading teaching and research laboratories and centres, and creating strategic partnerships with foreign universities,” Nurbek said.

There are also plans to open new universities.

A topical issue is the development of the National Model for Quality Assurance in Education

Quality assurance in education remains an ever-present issue. The tools for quality assurance of education are considered not only in terms of quantitative parameters, but also qualitative ones. A National Quality Assurance Model has been formed, which includes state responsibility, internal and external quality assurance systems.

"As you know, we have implemented the principles of the Bologna Process. Therefore, the quality of domestic higher education is now determined by European standards. The ESG states that the main body responsible for quality assurance is the university itself, which adheres to ESG principles,” Nurbek said.

According to him, the Ministry has developed a Quality Assurance Manual. It will be used by education organisations, accreditation bodies, government bodies as a document regulating external and internal quality assurance systems in education.

The main tool for external quality assurance is accreditation. The responsibility of accreditation bodies for their decisions has been strengthened. Henceforth, accreditation bodies that have accredited poor-quality HEIs will be removed from the register. Work on the profiling of accreditation procedures continues. Accreditation bodies have revised standards, agency strategies.

In addition, the Ministry has initiated the approval of a specialised accreditation standard for teacher education. This standard will be a guideline to ensure the quality of teacher training in higher education institutions. In recent years, 16 higher education institutions that did not provide quality education have been closed down. Given the projected increase in the student population to 800,000 by 2025 and the introduction of a new regulatory policy "with a clean slate", we believe we will focus on preventive measures.

A separate section is planned as part of today's board to explain the regulatory policy innovations "from scratch".

In the qualifications certification system, the mission of higher education institutions is to recognise non-formal and informal education, to participate in the development of sectoral qualifications frameworks and professional standards, and to develop and update educational programmes in line with the regional occupational map.

"In May 2020, during a meeting of the National Council of Public Trust, the Head of State instructed to make a number of universities points of growth in the regions, to develop academic mobility programmes for students and teaching staff. It should be noted that from 2022, Kazakhstan has essentially begun the transition to a new, so-called open model of science, now accepted in all countries with a successful science,"  Nurbek said.

According to him, the open market model of science proposed as early as 1945 in the USA by W. Bush, advisor to President Roosevelt, includes 3 basic elements - economic, primarily tax incentives for business to invest in R&D, sustainable development of university science through endowment funds and the establishment of a National Science Council to determine science and technology policy on a rotating basis instead of the Academy of Sciences.

In total, some 40 academic excellence initiatives have been underway in more than 30 countries since 2000. They are generously invested - about $60 billion a year.

"The main goals pursued by academic excellence initiatives in recent years have been to join the top university rankings. At the same time, excellence strategies built on chasing rankings also have serious drawbacks,"  Nurbek said.

Thus, he said, China's experience has revealed a number of negative consequences:

- Increasing inequalities between well-funded higher education institutions and less well-funded ones;

- Brain drain, i.e. luring talented academics to elite universities;

- Reducing course diversity, closing 'weak' programmes with low citation rates and even departments in order to be more likely to attract public funding. Already now, 77% of the programmes on offer at participating universities are in STEM fields;

- artificially inflating citation rates at the expense of 'shadow academics' who already have successful publications in English-language journals. Shadow staff, usually young academics and postgraduate students, often do not even appear on campus and their working contracts are "nominal".

Distortions and shortcomings have proven to be inherent in all such cases. Therefore, the practice of obsessing over ratings is gradually disappearing and giving way to more deliberate strategies.

In this regard, the minister noted countries with a fundamentally different approach. 'The South Korean and Japanese programmes, launched in 1999 and 2002 respectively, relied on cooperation with strong American and British universities and research institutions, academic freedom and increased internationalisation. But not only that.

"Strategies of academic excellence wonderfully reflect the three missions of a modern university - to serve education, science and society. Each of these strategies is relevant for Kazakhstan and has its own advantages and disadvantages. Based on the limited resources and different levels of readiness of the universities themselves, it is obvious that the approaches to building academic excellence of universities should be differentiated and gradual,” Nurbek said.

According to him, the indicated strategies for academic excellence include the following main areas in different combinations and priorities:

1) Excellence in research through the implementation of R&D and innovation projects, development of research infrastructure, laboratories, centres of excellence in science for the purposes of large industries.

2) Excellence in quality education through cooperation with leading higher education institutions, including international cooperation - sharing of resources (programmes, teaching staff, etc.), joint study programmes, alliances and consortia, branch offices of higher education institutions to increase demand for education.

3) Excellence in administration through university autonomy - establishment and improvement of boards of trustees, transfer of university assets to trust management, establishment of endowment funds according to the requirements of the world's leading accreditation agencies.

4) Excellence in cooperation with employers and businesses at regional level for leading innovation and training (Korean approach).

"The main quality of universities today is the absorption of new knowledge, i.e. the transfer, adaptation and generation of new ideas and technologies, introduction into the minds and competences of graduates and university staff. A classic example of a new type of university is KAIST (KoreaAdvancedInstituteofScience&Technology), which has implemented extensive and systematic work with private capital in terms of foresight analysis, prospective research and marketing policy,” Nurbek said.

According to him, excellence initiatives today are a set of basic elements in the organisation of a higher education institution, the presence of one or more allows one to speak of excellence in a particular area.

According to the Minister, to achieve academic excellence in Kazakhstani HEIs and modernise their activities in accordance with best international practices, state support and a comprehensive state programme of academic excellence are needed. But even this is not enough. Experience shows that there are barriers within the universities themselves. It is not only limitations in resources.

The very understanding of academic excellence varies among HEIs, with different levels of readiness, development, and specialisation of HEIs. Therefore, a product-based approach, i.e. focusing on the implementation of the basic elements of excellence or obtaining a specific transformation product, as the main objective of DAC projects, seems to be the most optimal:

1) To improve the quality of higher education and the attractiveness of higher education to students (Plan A):

-Opening branches of leading foreign universities (MIFI, Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas, deMontfortUniversity, Novosibirsk State University),

- Establishing consortia of higher education institutions,

- Creation of sectoral schools of international level (IT, agrarian, etc.) jointly or under the management of a leading partner university (Petropavlovsk, etc.),

- Joint programmes - educational, student/faculty exchange, administrative transformation.

The ultimate goal (KPI) is to increase the position in international university rankings and the number of students, including international students.

2) For university excellence in research (Plan B)

- Establishment of a public research laboratory and specialised national level laboratories, including for hydrogen energy, STEAM laboratory, etc.

- Establishment of technology parks, academic cities at universities and industrial-innovation zones.

The ultimate goal (KPI) is to increase research and innovation activity (number of publications, citations, share of R&D expenditure).

3) For excellence in management and sustainable financing (Plan C)

- the establishment of independent Boards of Trustees, modelled on the world's leading universities,

- establishing endowment funds - excellence in resource mobilisation,

- transferring the university's assets to trust management - providing guarantees of sustainability and continuity in management on a long-term basis.

Final target (KPI) - accreditation with the world's leading accreditation agencies (NECHE etc.)

1) Excellence in the third mission "university for society" (Plan D)

- Establishment of competence centres and foresight schools on the basis of regional universities - Excellence in understanding the human resources and innovation needs of the regional economy,

- Development of regional occupational standards and skill needs maps (Occupational Atlas) - excellence in understanding necessary qualifications at regional level and customisation of educational programmes.

Each higher education institution applying for participation in excellence initiatives and state support can choose 2-3 products based on its needs and capabilities.

It should be noted that today Plan A (Internationalisation and Massification of Education) is already being successfully implemented by higher education institutions themselves.

Plan B (Science) will require considerable funding, and state support is indispensable. In addition to funds for DAC projects, the budget also includes so-called mega-grants of up to 4 billion tenge. There are also plans to amend legislation on tax and investment preferences for private investment in university science.

Plan C (sustainable management) will also require state support, mainly of an institutional nature - the adoption of separate legislation on endowment funds, trust management of HEI assets, as well as incentives, including tax breaks, etc.

Plan D (Third Mission) is already partly being implemented through the Mamandygym Bolashagym project to develop regional Atlases of Future Occupations and Advanced Training. It will also require institutional changes, including the adoption of a separate law on vocational qualifications and standards of financial support. The third mission of HEIs in relation to innovation and interaction with business is likely to take time to materialise. 

President Tokayev pays special attention to the development of national science.

At the end of 2022, much has been done. But more needs to be done to achieve concrete results.

In implementation of the Head of State's instruction to raise the status of scientists, their salaries have been raised and the number of scientists and researchers has increased by 1.5 times so far. Funding for science has been increased by 70 per cent.

To improve the quality of scientific institutes, 800 pieces of modern scientific equipment have been purchased.

27% of projects are commercialised. 1,014 grants were awarded to young scientists and postdoctoral fellows.

 12 NLAs on the improvement and administration of science have been adopted. A Concept for the Development of Science in the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2022-2026 has been adopted. 27 activities are implemented within the framework of the National Project.

Work has also been done to strengthen human resources capacity. As everyone knows, in the past, scientists did not receive a stable salary. The availability of salaries depended on the results of competitions. The average salary of scientists was 152 thousand tenge. This is 72% of the average for the economy.

As of today, the salaries of leading scientists (1,200 people) are included in the basic funding. Direct funding for 11 full-time research institutes has been introduced. The salaries of scientists have been increased. The average salary is 257,000 tenge, and the maximum is 1.5 million tenge. Funding has been increased by a factor of 3.5. Competitions will be held annually.

"Much work has been done to strengthen the role of the National Academy of Sciences and to give it a state status. Amendments have been made to the Law on Science, issues of budget financing of the National Academy of Sciences, the Government established lifetime scholarships for academicians of retirement age in the amount of 60 MCI, preparatory work for the repair of the building "GylyymOrdasy" was carried out,"  Nurbek said.

According to him, since 2016, the Science Foundation has held three competitions (in 2016, 2017, 2018) for grant funding of commercialization projects of the Russian Science and Technology Academy, according to the results of which 151 projects were supported. A total of 6.7 billion tenge of private funding has been raised. By the end of 2022, the amount of income from the sale of innovative products and services amounted to 24.9 billion tenge, the volume of exports in 15 projects amounted to 402.2 million tenge.

It is worth noting that the increase in sales figures in 2022 is 8.5 mtn, which shows a positive trend relative to 2021, where the increase was 8.3 mtn.

"Overall, more than 5.7 billion tenge was paid to the budget in tax payments from the sale of knowledge-intensive products. 1,419 jobs were created. Starting this year, we will start forming a national innovation system. Through the acceleration programme, technology commercialization offices will be created at the level of industries and regions,” Nurbek said.

To ensure that science contributes to the country's economy, the ministry is working on introducing KPIs on commercialisation for research institutes and universities, he said.

There is also a need to make the regions more active in the commercialisation of scientific developments. 

As part of his election programme, the Head of State has set a number of objectives for the Ministry of Science.

First. A gradual increase in funding for applied science, including through co-financing of scientific research by business, and the creation of conditions for commercialisation of the results of scientific and scientific-technical activity, in particular through the allocation of annual grants.

To this end, the minister said, mechanisms will be implemented to ensure transparency of subsurface users' deductions to finance R&D and to provide additional tax and investment preferences for private investment in R&D.

Second. Formation and development of specialised engineering centres, science and technology parks at leading universities and large enterprises.

In order to implement this task, it is necessary to work together with universities to improve endowment funds at universities, develop specialised engineering centres, science and technology parks, and acquire scientific equipment within the framework of the renewed PCF mechanism.

Third. Development of the Law on Science and Technology Policy. Within this task, the National Council on Science and Technology and the Science and Technology Councils by sector will be established. A working group has been established to prepare a Concept of the Law of Republic of Kazakhstan "On Science and Technology Policy".

If we talk about the priorities in science development until 2026, as part of the instructions of the Head of State, an entirely new law on science and technology policy will be drafted, which will set the stage for the transition to a new course in science and thereby ensure the implementation of a new model of science and technology.

The first task. Implementation of the SGP documents.

The national project "Technological leap forward through digitalisation, science and innovation" has 4 objectives, 7 indicators and 27 concrete measures in 4 key areas of the science block.

As part of strengthening the human resource capacity of science, the number of researchers is planned to increase by 1.5 times by 2025, and the number of young scientists by 50%.

Scientists' salaries have been doubled (up to 252,000 tenge). On the instructions of the Head of State, direct funding has been introduced for research institutes engaged in fundamental research.

In the area of increasing the competitiveness of the scientific ecosystem, 1.7 billion tenge has been allocated for the modernisation of material and technical equipment. The share of equipment renewal was 13.7%.

For the third strand, it is planned to increase R&D expenditure by the business sector to 50% of total expenditure, the share of commercialisation projects to 30% and an increase in patenting activity of 30%.

In the area of "improving the administration of science", mechanisms have been introduced for the formation of priority scientific and technical tasks of industries (SPTs) according to the development priorities of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The adopted Science Development Concept 2022-2026 provides for a step-by-step implementation of the tasks outlined.

According to the minister, a number of amendments are being made to the current Law on Science in order to further develop science. In particular:

- Increased state budgetary supplementary payments from the main place of work for academic degrees and academic titles (25/50 MPI);

- Clarification of the norms on revenues from subsoil users' funds, and their allocation to finance R&D, R&D at the rate of 1% of costs;

- The rules on permanent state budget allowances for academics who have reached retirement age for academic degrees are added (17/34 MPI);

- Allowing research universities (AOs, NAOs) to establish affiliated research centres, laboratories and institutes;

- Granting investment preferences to businesses for science centre projects;

- Provision of additional medical care to scientists - members of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academies, and their spouses;

- Providing a new type of grant funding for the development of scientific infrastructure;

- In terms of giving the IOI responsibility for the implementation of state science policy and the financing of projects.

There are plans to launch an information system (Single Window) to attract private investment in R&D, including within 1% of subsoil users' income (over 100 billion tenge per year), and to triple grants for commercialisation of science in 2023 (from 6 billion to 19 billion tenge).

Work will also be carried out to open five university-based technoparks (Satpayev KazNITU, Auezov SKU, Buketov KarU, Zhubanov ARU, Serikbayev WKTU).

"In the new reality, the technological modernisation of the economy requires a reboot of the model of science, 'and here we need new approaches, relying on international experience. International experience shows two main models of science - mobilisation and open science,” Nurbek said.

According to him, the first - a mobilization model of science, typical for the Soviet period and most post-Soviet countries, in a market economy with predominant private ownership proved to be extremely inefficient due to the unrecoverable flaws - centralized planning and critical dependence on government funding, low demand from business for the development of national science. And, as a consequence, the inevitable ageing of scientific personnel and extremely low rankings in world science.

All countries with successful science over the past 70 years have been studied. Especially science-dominated (USA, China) and small open economies - Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, etc.

Their main feature is an impressive technological leap, following the transition to an open science model.

The second model, the open market model of science, was proposed in 1945 by Vannevar Bush, an adviser to US President F.D. Roosevelt, and was an extension of the President's New Deal for economic recovery after World War II and the Great Depression. In his report "Science - TheEndlessFrontier", W. Bush pointed out the inextricable obstacles to the recovery of the economy from World War II and the Great Depression. Bush pointed out the intractable shortcomings of the previous mobilization model, and proposed the basic elements of a new science model - economic incentives for private investment in science, especially through tax breaks; support for university science as a source of new ideas and young minds; and a National Science Council under the Head of State to set priorities in science and technology.

Each of the leading countries in science and innovation - the USA, Singapore, Israel, Taiwan, Finland, South Korea, Japan - has created very similar systems of science organisation under different conditions and at different times. And even China, while retaining the traditional system, has introduced all the elements of an open science model.

"Massifying demand for science through economic incentives for business, on the one hand, pushes the supply of R&D at the expense of university science, on the other hand, creating a close link between science and production, low cost of innovation, rapid renewal of ideas and personnel, and implementation of technological developments. Therefore, business plays a key role in spending on science,” Nurbek said.

For example, the share of business in the structure of research expenditure in Israel is 85.6%, in Japan 78.8%, in Korea 77.7% and in the USA 71.2%, he said.

In Kazakhstan, despite repeated reforms over the past 30 years, science has not become a driver of economic development and has remained in the "mobilization model" paradigm. As in other post-Soviet countries, all the shortcomings of science are observed - low level and critical dependence on state funding, low demand from business for R&D, outflow and ageing personnel.

According to the Bureau of National Statistics, including all sources, spending on science in 2021 amounted to KZT 109 billion, an increase of KZT 40.5 billion, or 60% over 5 years. However, the share of science in GDP is falling - 0.13%. Budget funds occupy the lion's share - 70%.

Despite the increase in expenditure, there remains a structural bias towards basic and applied research at 82%, while development work is at 18%.

"Without a fundamental reboot of Kazakhstani science, it will be impossible to achieve the goals we have set - to increase funding to 1% of GDP by 2025, private investment to 75%, renewal of scientific personnel and equipment, and internationalisation. On the instructions of the Head of State, the Ministry of Science and Higher Education is implementing tasks for the formation of an open model of science,” Nurbek said.

Tax incentives are important for the further development of science. Currently, in order to provide tax incentives for private investment in R&D, regulations have been developed to provide super deductions for business entities financing R&D and development of research centres, based on the experience of Singapore, South Korea and China (up to 300%). Specific norms on tax exemption rates and tax administration mechanisms have been discussed in the Government and are proposed to be introduced into the Tax and Entrepreneurial Code this year.

"We believe that the potential of tax incentives for business will bring the share of the private sector in science to double annually, to 60-70% in the next 3-5 years, and total R&D funding to 1% of GDP," Nurbek said.

According to him, university science faces three interrelated challenges - the development of a network of centres of excellence and academic excellence, sustainable funding and the reproduction of scientific staff.

The network of research universities will grow to 10 in 2023 (Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, Satpayev KazNITU, Gumilev ENU, KazNAIU, Seifullin KazATU, Asfendiyarov KazNMU and Karaganda Medical University, Auezov SKU). Five branches of leading foreign research universities have already been opened and it is planned to increase their number to 10 by 2024. This will contribute to the internationalisation of higher education.

For sustainable financing of universities, a concept of a law on endowment funds and a roadmap for opening endowment funds in 5 pilot universities has been developed as early as 2023.

Unfortunately, training for science is insufficient. Universities train 90% of bachelors, 7-8% of Masters and less than 1% of PhD students (3% worldwide), the key force that drives research in universities. Of these, only 30% go on to defend themselves. The aim is to increase the number of doctoral students to 5,000 annually.

The role of the National Academy of Sciences is being strengthened as part of the improvement of the structure of science governance, as already mentioned. The functions and delegation of authority will be enshrined in the statute of the NAS. A National Council for Science and Technology will be set up. The council's functions will include making proposals to the head of state on science and technology, assessing the development of science in the country, and identifying strategic priority areas for the development of science.

The Council will consist of academics, leading foreign scientists, and domestic experts. The advantages are that the National Council is directly subordinated to the Head of State, that it is quick to carry out its mandate, and that there is no need to amend the RGC.

If we talk about the issue of allocating 1% of subsoil users' capital investments to science and technology development, centralisation measures should streamline the use of R&D expenditure based on the priorities of Kazakhstani science.

At the same time, it is worth noting the fears of most subsoil user companies to withdraw funds earmarked for R&D and turn them into, in effect, another tax on science.

"In this regard, we consider appropriate measures of synchronization of R&D carried out by subsoil users, including Samruk-Kazyna Fund, with the national priorities of science and technology policy. It is proposed to make their R&D procedures open, accessible to universities and research institutes, on a competitive basis, with a state scientific and technical expertise,” Nurbek said.

He said the available data show the possibility of attracting an additional ~100 billion tenge in R&D from subsoil users, to generally increase the efficiency of R&D under the contracts.

One of the Ministry's important areas of focus is language policy.

Last year, a number of activities were carried out in the area of development of the state language. Twenty textbooks (3,000 copies) in the Kazakh language were published for higher education institutions and technical and vocational schools. 63 events were held to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Akhmet Baitursynov.

In addition, regular and main official internet resources were monitored. In 2022, 10 thousand Kaztest tests were revised. A government decree approved the badge "For Contribution to Mother Tongue Education" and the badge "Ahmet Baitursynuly". The Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan established a commission for the implementation of state policy. Language training courses and others are held on a regular basis.

As part of his election platform, the Head of State has instructed that work should be done to further develop and promote the practical use of the state language, while at the same time resolutely opposing any form of discrimination on the grounds of language.

A number of measures are planned by the Ministry as part of the implementation of this objective.

"A draft concept for the implementation of language policy for the years 2023-2028 will be developed, amendments will be made to the normative legal acts on the issue of preventing language discrimination, regional seminars will be held, and methodological recommendations will be developed for not oppressing the rights of citizens on the grounds of language, as well as those who are fluent in the state language. Publications are being organized in the media about representatives of ethnic groups," Nurbek said.

In addition, he said, a number of language policy objectives will be implemented in 2023. These include meetings of the Commission for Implementation of the State Language Policy under the Republic of Kazakhstan Government, the State Terminology Commission under the Republic of Kazakhstan Ministry of Science and Higher Education, preventive control of state bodies, republican competitions and events aimed at expanding the sphere of the state language, and document circulation in the state language and on the Internet - monitoring of official resource sites.

All of the tasks envisaged in the presidential election platform have been decomposed in the Concept of Development of Education and Science for 2022-2026, as well as in the Ministry's development plan for the next period.

"There is a lot of work to be done to implement the instructions given by the head of state and the priorities within the ministry's directions. We know that on some issues the work is not carried out at the proper level and there is a need to strengthen the work. Therefore, I urge all colleagues to coordinate actions and intensify work on these issues," Nurbek said at the end of his speech.

Speaking at the board meeting, Darhan Ahmed-Zaki, chairman of the Science Committee, also noted that the development of science and innovation is one of the main priorities of the new economic development.

Despite a series of reforms in Kazakhstan over the past 30 years, science has not become a major driver of economic development and growth in the well-being of citizens.

"To technologically modernise the economy in the new environment, it is necessary to update the scientific model. And here it is necessary to rely on new approaches and international experience," Ahmed-Zaki said.

In his view, the domestic science system continues to develop in the "mobilisation model" paradigm and is almost entirely dependent on state funding.

As a result, although spending on science is steadily increasing, the main drawback of the science mobilisation model is that 82% of spending is on basic and applied research, and only 18% is on development work.

According to the head of the committee, there are still many problems in domestic science. In order to solve them step by step, the following priorities need to be addressed:

First: raising the status of the National Academy of Sciences.

Second: education in university science.

Third: Improving the system for financing research and development.

It is also necessary to plan optimally for long-term scientific and technological development.

"In the coming period, priority research areas will be based on international trends and national challenges. Priority directions: medical and biological research, "green" technologies and energy efficiency, technologies for gmc and raw material processing, new materials, ict, automation of production, agro-industrial science, humanities and natural sciences. There is scientific potential for development," Ahmed-Zaki said.

In his view, the scientific ecosystem operates on a network principle and trends are set "not from above" but "from below" through the participation of a maximum number of players. Massification of demand for science at the expense of business and R&D supply, on the other hand, at the expense of university science, ensures the linkage of science and production, low cost of innovation and rapid renewal of ideas and personnel, commercialisation of technological developments.

In order to solve the problems, the government has adopted the necessary strategic documents with certain measures for the development of national science and human resources potential.

The head of the committee also briefly reported on the implementation of the national project "Technological leap forward through digitalisation, science and innovation".

According to him, there are 4 targets, 7 indicators and 27 concrete activities in the 4 key areas of the Science block.

As part of strengthening the human resource potential of science, a target has been set to increase the number of scientific personnel by 1.5 times by 2025. There are also plans to increase the number of scientists and young scientists by 50%. The salaries of scientists have been doubled, and direct funding for research institutes engaged in basic research has been introduced.

The Ministry has announced three grant competitions for 2023-2025: for the "Zhas Salym" project with a budget of 3 billion tenge; for young scientists in scientific and (or) scientific-technical projects for 2023-2025 with a budget of 9 billion tenge; and for the general competition for 2023-2025 with a budget of 74 billion tenge.

Overall, funding for science has increased by 70% in three years.

The second area is improving the competitiveness of the scientific ecosystem.

To this end, 1.7 billion tg was allocated for the modernisation of material and technical equipment of subordinate organisations. The share of equipment renewal in 2021 was - 13.7%.

For the third pillar, it is planned to increase R&D expenditure by the business sector to 50% of total expenditure and to increase the share of commercialised projects to 30%. A 30% increase in patenting activity within R&D is also planned.

In the area of "improving the administration of science", mechanisms have been introduced for the formation of priority scientific and technical tasks of industries (SPTs) in accordance with the development priorities of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

A Concept for the Development of Science in the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2022-2026 has been developed and adopted, which provides for the step-by-step implementation of measures and tasks of the National Project. From 2022, practical implementation of amendments to the Law on Science has started.

Funding has been allocated to scientific institutes that carry out basic research, thus ensuring the smooth operation and permanent funding of organisations such as the institutes of linguistics, philosophy, history, archaeology, nuclear physics, biosafety and genetics. Previously, these institutes did not receive permanent funding and depended only on the results of tenders.

The basic funding includes remuneration of leading scientists; the duration of state funding of scientific, scientific and technical projects and programmes was increased to 5 years; the institute of appeal against decisions of the NSA was introduced; and the regulatory framework for scientific internships was approved. Norms for the financing of scientific organisations carrying out fundamental scientific research have been approved. An Appeals Commission has been established, which carries out its work in accordance with the Regulations on the Appeals Commission.

In 2022, a total of 7 GF and 1 PCF competitions were conducted by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education. As a result of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education's competitions, 2003 projects are being implemented under grant funding and 66 S&T programmes are being implemented under programme-targeted funding.

All information on implemented and ongoing scientific, scientific and technical projects and programmes for the period 2018-2022 is published on the NCSTE website.

More than 150 projects aimed at commercialising the results of scientific and scientific-technical activities (hereinafter referred to as RSCTD) under the auspices of the JSC Science Foundation have been successfully implemented.

"The contribution of science to the economy is measured by 4 main factors. Revenues from the sale of innovative products as a result of commercialisation projects amounted to 22.6 billion tenge. Taxes paid amounted to 5.7 billion tenge. More than 1,400 new jobs were created. The volume of exports amounted to 402.2 million tenge," Ahmed-Zaki said.

In 2022, a new tender for commercialisation of MSNTDs was held. A specialised National Scientific Council for commercialisation of Russian science and technology achievements was set up and 72 projects were approved for funding from 2022 to 2024.

As regards tax incentives for private investment in R&D, proposals have been prepared to grant super deductions of up to 150% for business entities financing R&D and the development of research centres based on the experience of Singapore, South Korea and China. Specific rules on tax exemption rates and tax administration mechanisms have been discussed in the Government and are proposed for inclusion in the Tax and Entrepreneurial Code this year.

"We believe that the introduction of tax incentives for business will increase the share of the private sector in science to 60-70% in the next 3-5 years, and the amount of total R&D funding to 1% of GDP," Ahmed-Zaki said.

According to him, 500 Kazakhstani scientists will undergo internships at the world's leading scientific centres annually. In 2021, 416 scientists were awarded grants for scientific internships at 109 leading centres and universities in 24 countries, of which 337 left in 2022.

On 5 October 2022, the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan No. 791 "On Approval of the Rules of Selection of Applicants and Scientific Internships" was adopted. The Decree stipulates the procedure for the organisation and implementation of the selection of applicants for scientific internships in leading foreign higher and postgraduate educational institutions, scientific centres and other organisations.

Also, according to the order of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Republic of Kazakhstan from December 14, 2022 № 188 "On approval of the deadline for receipt of documents and the competition for participation in the scientific internship" approved the timing of receipt of documents:

1) Reception of documents - from 19 December 2022 to 15 March 2023; from 28 August 2023 to 13 October 2023;

2) the tender period is from 23 December 2022 to 31 December 2023.

As of today, the total number of applicants registered and in the process of registration is 67.

Also, according to the head of the committee, universities need to review educational programmes in terms of integration of teaching with research in the early years - R&D, R&DM, R&DDD. Measurement of scientific achievements should be based on the Integral GPA.

"The main point is to achieve self-sufficiency in technology parks at universities. Promotion of Technology Initiatives. The aim of the Science Committee is to support technology and the organizations themselves at all levels of technological readiness and move it up from research to production," Ahmed-Zaki said.

For 2023, he said, the challenges in the field of science are as follows:

1. The primary objective is to develop a Law on Science and Technology Policy, in order to synchronise the management of science, commercialisation of scientific results, technology development and support for innovation activities.

2. In order to improve the system of implementation of the state policy on science and S&T activities, a National Council on Science and Technology will be established, taking into account the best international experience, whose main task will be to define the priorities of the national S&T policy, development mechanisms, and expert evaluation of the current state.

3. Work will continue to be undertaken to increase R&D funding to 1% of GDP over the next 3-5 years.

4. The National Centre for Scientific and Technical Information will be reactivated and given the function of analysing scientific and technical information.

5. Stable funding for science and cascade competitions will continue in order to provide opportunities to implement scientific ideas to as many scientists as possible.

7. To encourage and reward scientists for their contribution to science, 50 "Best Scientific Worker" prizes worth 2,000 monthly calculation indices will be awarded annually. Scientists who have contributed to the development of science and technology will continue to be rewarded through state scientific scholarships and science prizes.

8. To stimulate the flow of young people into science, 500 Kazakh scientists will be sent on internships to the world's leading science centres to learn academic writing, English language, digital skills, scientific proposal development and other necessary competencies and skills.

"Obviously, all these tasks are only feasible in constant interaction with the entire professional community, in conditions of full openness and transparency of all decisions made, focusing not on processes, but on results.  Responsibility.  De-bureaucratisation. Human-centricity.  We will follow these principles," Ahmed-Zaki assured.

Nurlan Sakuov, Executive Secretary and Member of the Board of Atameken, noted that training specialists is a task for both the education system and business in general, as the end user is the employer.

"It is important to note the trend towards a new generation of employees, trained and adapted to practical activities, as well as competitive and competent in the light of current realities. The current realities dictate that the workforce needs to learn new skills and competencies," Sakuov said.

He elaborated on the introduction of a new regulatory policy of "blank slate regulation" in the field of business in the Republic of Kazakhstan.

As he noted, the law aims to ensure that any requirements on businesses should have clear reasons for state regulation, be practically enforceable, set out in an accessible form without ambiguity, and be convenient and unburdensome.

The implementation of this reform will improve the efficiency of business environment regulation and create a favourable and stimulating environment for boosting entrepreneurship.

In this regard, the Act clearly defines 7 basic conditions for the formation of regulatory requirements:

1) validity;

2) equality of business entities;

3) openness;

4) enforceability;

5) certainty;

6) proportionality and rationality;

7) consistency.

The NCE, together with the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, set up a working group to review the regulations and establish a register of mandatory requirements in the field of education. 

The working group analysed 67 laws and regulations and identified 1,794 requirements, of which 165 did not comply with the conditions for formation. 137 of these requirements need to be amended or supplemented and 28 need to be cancelled.

"The main innovation in business regulation 'from a clean slate' is the introduction of a register of mandatory requirements. This is a single database containing an exhaustive list of all business requirements. It will allow entrepreneurs to get acquainted with the entire legal framework for doing business," Sakuov said.

The register, he said, will contain only those requirements that will comply with the new regulatory policy. From 2024, if a requirement is not included in the register, a state body will not be able to inspect and penalise it. The register will be formed and maintained by the MNE on the basis of the Әdilet system.

The NCE is also actively involved in the development of the National Qualifications System, namely in the formation of a national qualifications framework, sectoral frameworks and professional standards. Requirements for qualifications, skills and competences of employees in certain professions will be enshrined in the form of professional standards, which are developed by employers themselves or their associations.

Thus, to date, 593 professional standards have been approved in the PNP, of which 172 have been updated in 2022.

Professional standards, according to the Executive Secretary of Atameken NCE, reflect business requirements, on the basis of which educational programmes should be developed.

Professional standards and sectoral qualifications frameworks are also useful for students when planning their career trajectory.

"The other side of the partnership is the vocational education sector. Universities, taking into account employers' requirements, first form a classifier of specialities and occupations and then develop an educational programme based on employers' professional standards," Sakuov said.

He said the results of the partnership between employers and the vocational education system would be determined through the introduction of an independent assessment or certification system.

According to the draft law, this work will be carried out by special certification centres (independent legal entities accredited by the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs and other authorised institutions).

The NCE has been carrying out this work since 2017, and 28 certification centres have been set up, which have awarded qualifications to 32,000 people.

Graduates who pass the independent assessment will have a diploma confirming that they have received training in a specific specialisation and a certificate confirming their skills in applying their knowledge in practice.

In this way, employers are given the opportunity to hire graduates with a certificate without any work experience requirements.

For the fifth consecutive year, the National Chamber has commissioned the Ministry of Science and Higher Education to compile rankings of higher education programmes.

The 2022 ranking evaluated 2,040 educational programmes, analysed 81,393 graduates and involved over 200 industry experts from all regions of Kazakhstan, resulting in more than 2,000 expert opinions on 97 higher education institutions.

The rankings were based on 19 criteria, including the employment rate and median salary of graduates, the length of their job search and the relevance of the programmes.

"Compared to previous years, the average percentage of employment is higher by 1.8% and amounts to 79.5%. It is important to note that in terms of areas the highest employment rate was demonstrated by the field of "6B09 Veterinary" 88%, and the lowest employment rate in the field of "6B02 Arts and Humanities" 71%," Sakuov said.

According to him, the criterion of greatest interest was the first salary of graduates after graduation in the first year. The median salary of 2021 graduates were 155,621 tenge and exceeded the median salary of last year's ranking by 41,554 tenge or 26.7%.

The highest average graduate salaries are in the following areas:

1) General medicine - 336,222 tenge;

2) Mathematics (education) - 283,823 tenge;

3) Russian language and literature - 274,098 tenge;

"I would like to note that there is a positive trend in employers' satisfaction with educational programmes. In addition, experts who have been evaluating the programmes for 3-4 years in a row have noted an improvement in quality. This is the result of painstaking work by the Ministry and universities to make changes to educational programmes and involve practitioners in the educational process," Sakuov said.

President Tokayev: The education system must be accessible and inclusive

The very topical issue of inclusive education was raised in his presentation by Tansaule Serikov, PhD, Professor and freelance advisor to the Minister of Science and Higher Education.

"Of course, the term 'inclusive education' covers a broad category of persons, but today I would like to draw your attention to the acute issue of receiving quality higher and postgraduate education by persons with disabilities in higher education institutions of the country. As the Head of State noted in his Address to the Nation "The system of education must be accessible and inclusive. One has to recognise that not all higher education institutions are ready to admit people with disabilities as students. And there are many reasons for this," Serikov said.

According to him, there are a lot of questions in this direction. The Ministry of Science and Higher Education has adopted a roadmap for higher and postgraduate education for persons with disabilities.  Representatives of higher education institutions, non-governmental organisations, public associations, a member of the Senate and representatives of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education were involved in the development of the roadmap.

The main objectives of the roadmap programme have been defined. The professor paid an official visit to several of the country's universities for clarification and familiarisation.

As a result of the visit, the professor made a number of suggestions, including opening support and accompaniment centres for persons with disabilities or introducing a coordinator for inclusive education in the psychology service of universities at the Kazakh National Research University named after K. Satpayev. The establishment of support centres for people with disabilities, or the staffing of an inclusive education coordinator in the psychology service at the university Gumilyov Eurasian National University.

These universities were selected on the basis of regional priorities, equipment, adaptability of infrastructure and educational programme. The professor expressed the hope that this list will be replenished by regional domestic HEIs.

"At the same time, it is necessary to revive the work of the NC 'Resource Advisory Centre on Inclusive Education for HEIs in Kazakhstan' at KazNPU named after Abay, which functioned effectively," Serikov said.

He said setting up a support centre for LSI within higher education institutions or introducing a coordinator for inclusive education would make it possible:

1. To establish a legal and regulatory framework for the organisation of psycho-pedagogical assistance to LSI in higher education institutions.

2. To supervise the creation of educational resources (printed and electronic) to form a bank of methodological materials, audio and video libraries, taking into account the specifics of the developmental disability of LSI.

3. Provide psycho-medical and pedagogical support to create a psychological environment that enables PWDs to feel comfortable in all EIs.

4. To cooperate with public organisations initiating joint LSI education in higher education institutions on the principles of social partnership.

5. To monitor the availability of infrastructure within the university.

6. To advise the LSI on matters relating to the educational process.

7.  Provision of sign language interpreting services if needed.

The professor also drew attention to the fact that in the process of working with regional higher education institutions there are all kinds of problematic questions regarding the organisation and training of persons with disabilities:

1. Organising the UNT for the blind;

2. Increase in stipend for LSI students as at present an increase in stipend only for sight and hearing LSI is being considered;

3. Consideration of increasing the grant amount for the LSI. According to the responses of the universities, they need additional financial resources to organise the accessibility of infrastructure and educational programmes;

4. organising libraries for the blind;

5. Necessity to submit and obtain expert commission's opinion on infrastructure accessibility according to the Accessible Kazakhstan programme;

6. Development of a template of educational programmes adapted for the LSI;

7.  Organisation of training and retraining of university teachers in working with LSI;

8. Consideration of allocating additional funds for LSI internships for Master's and Doctoral studies abroad.

9. Consideration of allocation of grant projects for categories of inclusive learning or exemptions for the introduction of LSI by the implementer or supervisor in grant projects.

10. Statistics and accompaniment of rural school leavers of the LSI category for admission and higher education.

11. Employment of graduates of the LSI category.

"I believe that not only the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, but also the universities themselves should be involved in solving these issues. I call on rectors and the Ministry to participate in the creation of a barrier-free environment for quality higher education for persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities have the right to be full-fledged representatives in the formation of the New Kazakhstan," Serikov said.

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