National news in brief

On Dec. 20, Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov handed out the Altyn Sapa presidential prizes for quality to domestic enterprises during a national teleconference. Neftekhim Ltd. from Pavlodar won for best production enterprise, KazTranGas from Astana won for best company providing services and Khimfarm from South Kazakhstan won best enterprise producing goods for the population. During the teleconference, President Nursultan Nazarbayev launched 10 new production facilities within the State Programme of Accelerated Industrial and Innovative Development. According to the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies, from 2010 to 2013, more than 600 projects of the Industrialisation Map were put into operation, including 125 projects this year. Total output at the enterprises participating in the programme amounted to 2.5 trillion tenge (US$16.2 billion). More than 60 companies have exported products totalling 126 billion tenge (US$817.7 million). A total of 50,000 people have gotten permanent jobs at Industrialisation Map enterprises.

On Dec. 18, the draft law “On protection of children from information harmful for their health and development” was approved at the plenary session of the Mazhilis (lower chamber of the Parliament) chaired by Speaker of the Mazhilis Nurlan Nigmatulin. The document and accompanying amendments provides for applying special requirements to the content of information products (print media, audio and video products, mass media and others), aimed at different age groups of children, taking into consideration their psychophysical peculiarities. Having noted the importance of the draft law, Nigmatulin emphasised the necessity of using a complex approach from the involved ministries and departments. He also noted that publicity and availability must not influence the emergence of information harmful for health and development of children. “We are all for openness and publicity and the availability of information, but we all have to understand that it should not lead to any harmful consequences,” Nigmatulin said.

Kazakhstan is planning to build 146 new schools in the next three years, starting with 50 in 2014, kt.kz reported on Dec. 9, citing Education and Science Minister Aslan Sarinzhipov. By the time all 146 schools are built, the number of schools in poor condition will decrease from 3 to 1.5 percent. The government plans to focus on schools in villages, as 93 percent of the schools in poor condition are located in rural areas. Among other measures to improve education, Sarinzhipov mentioned new courses for teachers and updating equipment, gyms and lab facilities. He also acknowledged that teachers’ salaries affect the quality of education, and promised to raise salaries in the near future.

Winners of the contest to create innovative projects for children dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the National Agency for Technology Development received their awards on Dec. 16. The contest was organised to promote the industrial and innovation policy pursued by President Nazarbayev. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and New Technologies of Kazakhstan Asset Issekeshev, Chairman of the Board of the National Agency for Technology Development Aidyn Kulseitov and winners of the contest from different regions of the country took part in the awards ceremony. Students in grades 5-11 participated in the contest, which was announced in November of this year. First prize winners received 150,000 tenge (US$974), other winners received 50,000 tenge (US$325). An exhibition of the winners’ projects was organised within the ceremony, which took place at the Moscow Business Centre in Astana.