World Class Colleges to Focus on Six Strategic Sectors

ASTANA – A network of colleges featuring finely tuned specialisations, including tourism and hospitality, construction and housing, energy, engineering, design and information technology and communications is being developed with campuses under construction in the capital Astana and also in the country’s business heartland of Almaty.

Under the banner World Class Colleges, the learning institutes are the brainchild of Kasipkor Holding, a non-commercial joint stock company formed for the specific purpose of fostering new education opportunities for young Kazakhs.

The areas of specialisation were chosen based on analysis of the most popular business focuses of more than 200 enterprises. They are also in accordance with the projected plan for the development of the country’s growth industries.

“The basis for creation of World Class Colleges in Astana and Almaty is a system of profile schools,” said Talgat Dairov, deputy chairman of Kasipkor.

“The profile of each school is developed together with international consultants and reflects the needs of the economy for deficit labour niches. Each college will contain six schools: School of Tourism and Hospitality; School of Construction and Housing, School of Energy Industry, School of Engineering, School of Design and School of ICT.”

“Students of the World Class Colleges will enjoy a number of advantages, including diplomas and certificates that are recognised in Kazakhstan and internationally. They will also receive tuition in English and practical training on modern equipment. In addition, they will be employed by large companies across the country,” Dairov said. “Tuition will be conducted by highly skilled teachers from our strategic partners and students will benefit from scholarships covering education, accommodation and living expenses.”

The curricula are being developed jointly with strategic partners of Kasipkor. Having studied the theory, students will conduct practical training on simulator platforms in colleges. Platforms are similar to real production sites used in enterprises today. Students will undergo internships in the country’s largest companies operating in the sector they study. Some students will even be eligible for overseas internships. With the knowledge that diplomas and certificates given by Kasipkor’s strategic partners will be recognised on an international level, students of World Class Colleges will be able to find jobs in Europe and elsewhere.

“Also, we don’t force them to pay back expenses for their education. But we focus the attention of our graduates on the local market, since our purpose is to train deficit specialists for our own domestic labour market. Therefore, Kasipkor will employ them in the country and this will gradually lead to full replacement of highly-paid foreign labour,” he said. Construction of the campuses will commence this year in Astana, eventually totalling an area of 16.5 hectares (41 acres) when completed in 2017. It is planned to have at least 1,500 students enrolled in three-year programmes in English and to upgrade qualifications in the most popular specialist disciplines.

“As the focus of the college is to ensure access to education for young people from all over Kazakhstan, we project up to 60 percent of available spaces will be filled by rural youth young students from poor families and orphans,” Dairov explained.

About 40,000 square metres will be allocated for the construction of dormitories, giving students from even the most remote regions of the country the opportunity to receive lodging and scholarships.

“Full scholarship will cover education fees for all students accepted to World Class Colleges,” Dairov added. “These will be covered by government grants. At the same time, the amount of places in colleges is limited. Non-residents and students from vulnerable groups will be placed in the dormitories located on the grounds of the colleges. Monthly subsistence allowances will also be paid to students.

“We want to provide the opportunity to enter our Interregional Centre, APEC Petrotechnic in Atyrau and to offer entrance examinations to everyone. For this purpose, Kasipkor held consultations in the Kyzylorda, Aktobe, Mangistau, West Kazakhstan, Atyrau and Akmola oblasts. Our staff held massive information and explanatory campaigns not only in cities and towns, but also in schools in rural areas and also for graduates of Youth Centres and orphanages. This category of entrants will be provided with special privileges.”

Kaspikor is also initiating its Preparatory School programme to assist with English language development for future students, starting from September this year. Students who failed the main entrance test but who showed good subject knowledge and motivation will be put into the Preparatory School programme. This means that within a year they will have intense training in four subjects: mathematics, English, chemistry and physics.

“Therefore, students will have more chances to finally pass the main test and get accepted to the major programme of the APEC Petrotechnic College. In the future, we also plan to accept students on self-paid basis,” he added.

Upon graduation students will receive diplomas at Kazakh and foreign levels that will ensure the full competitiveness of graduates from colleges in Kazakhstan with the assistance of foreign specialists.

“Teachers in World Class Colleges will be highly skilled instructors from the strategic partners of Kasipkor, including from SAIT Polytechnic (Canada), Pearson (Great Britain) and Challenger Institute of Technology (Australia).

“In line with this, we are training teachers’ assistants for the subsequent replacement of foreign instructors. During this time, assistants will be trained by foreign instructors, previously having done advanced training courses on professional teaching skills,” Dairov said.

In regard to the provision of qualified personnel, Kasipkor determines the selection criteria for college’s experts, managers, teachers and training officers.

“All managers and teachers directly or indirectly connected with Kasipkor or the colleges will be added to the database of teachers and managers. This database is under creation by Department of Teaching Excellence. It is used as one of the data sources when searching for new staff to join Kasipkor’s network,” he said.

Another important point is nature of training, according to which students will learn practical working skills, instead of theoretical knowledge. Due to that fact, graduates will be able to immediately start to work on real production. In order to meet these criteria, World Class Colleges will be equipped with the modern equipment, which is used by foreign and local companies working in Kazakhstan. Production processes will be re-created in workshops.

“We are creating World Class Colleges with the purpose of providing the labour market with highly qualified specialists of scarce profiles.  Our students will be able to get an international education in our country,” Dairov concluded.

British consortium Pearson Limited was chosen as the strategic partner in the specialisations including tourism and hospitality and engineering, according to Kasipkor Holding representatives.

Kasipkor Holding was created at the request of the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev to create a world-class network of colleges. The purpose of the company is to promote the modernisation of technical and vocational education to build a new source network of multi-skilled workers.

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