• Icon+7 (7172) 28-75-21
IconPersonal account




Higher education system

Since the Republic of Kazakhstan gained independence, the Government has implemented large-scale educational reforms. In 2010, Kazakhstan became a member of the Bologna process, taking 47th place out of 48 in the list of countries in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA).

Today the system of higher education in Kazakhstan in the context of the parameters of the Bologna process has the following structure:

  • Bachelor's degree - higher education, educational programs of which are aimed at training personnel with the award of a "bachelor's" degree in the relevant specialty. The term of study is 4 years.
  • Master's degree - postgraduate education, educational programs of which are aimed at training personnel with the award of the degree "Master". The master's degree, in turn, is subdivided into profile with a training period of 1-1.5 years, and scientific and pedagogical, the training period is 2 years.
  • Doctoral studies - postgraduate education, educational programs of which are aimed at training personnel for scientific, pedagogical and (or) professional activities, with the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), doctor in the profile. The term of study in doctoral studies is 3 years.

Today the number of universities in the country is 128, of which national universities - 11, state - 28 (non-profit joint stock companies - 28), international university - 1, corporatized universities - 19, private - 55, autonomous - 1 (Nazarbayev University), non-civil - 14.

In 2018, the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan "On Education" was amended to expand the academic and managerial independence of universities. Universities can develop their own integrated and flexible educational programs, which are created taking into account the results obtained during training and are focused on the modern labor market. Thus, the passage of the bachelor's degree will be possible in an accelerated mode, which will reduce the financial and time costs of obtaining higher education within the country, and students will receive up-to-date knowledge about the profession.

Today, Kazakhstanis have the opportunity to receive higher education in the following forms of education:

  • Full-time or stationary. With this form, the student must be present at seminars and lectures.
  • Remote. Classes are held via the Internet. Tasks, educational materials are posted on the network for self-study. Online consultations are held. The defense of theses is carried out within the walls of a higher educational institution.

The most important aspect of the development of higher education in the country is the formation of a culture of academic integrity. To this end, the Academic Integrity League was created in 2018 as an independent and independent organization following the example of the Ivy League in the USA, Russell Group in the UK and C9 in China.

Admission to universities

Higher education is acquired by citizens with general secondary or technical and vocational education, or post-secondary education (part 1 of article 35 of the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan "On Education"). It is possible to organize the educational process according to reduced educational programs with an accelerated period of study for persons with technical and vocational, post-secondary or higher education with a procedure for transferring credits and accounting for previously mastered disciplines, provided that their volume and continuity of the educational program are sufficient.

In Kazakhstan, admission to universities is carried out based on the results of passing the Unified National Test (UNT). Over the years of UNT existence, more than 1.8 million school graduates have passed testing. Since 2017, they have been taking final certification in the form of final exams at school to obtain a certificate of secondary education and "Altyn belgi" and UNT for admission to universities and receiving state grants for studying in universities. Since 2019, school graduates have the opportunity to take the UNT 4 times a year. Admission after retesting to a university is possible only on a paid basis, state grants are distributed after passing the main UNT (in June).

After completing the bachelor's degree, the student gains in-depth knowledge of the profession. Master's degree studies have a narrower focus. In Kazakhstan, undergraduate students can study in one specialty, and continue their studies in a magistracy in another. As a result, the student gets the opportunity to master two specialties and reduce the financial and time costs of obtaining a second higher education.

Thus, in Kazakhstan, at the legislative and sectoral regulatory level, the conditions and rules for the implementation of a three-tier higher education system have been regulated, which corresponds to the component of the same name in the group of mandatory parameters of the EHEA participants.

Education in higher educational institutions of Kazakhstan is carried out both on the basis of a state educational order and at the students' own expense. In the 2020-2021 academic year, 605 798 young people study at the country's universities at all levels of education, of which 30% are financed by state educational grants. The largest number of government educational grants has been allocated for the training of technicians and teachers. Almost half of the total number of educational grant holders are representatives of a socially vulnerable group of the population. In addition to government educational grants, universities are also expanding access to higher education through internal grants and tuition discounts.

To encourage young people to study and provide opportunities for higher education in universities within the country, the Government pays students a state scholarship. The state scholarship is subdivided into:

  • Minimal or basic. Paid to students who complete the session with "good" and "excellent".
  • Increased (+ 15% to the base). Assigned to students who completed the session with excellent marks.
  • Presidential (+ 100% to the base). Students who have special merits can count on the presidential scholarship: creative, scientific, research, sports, social and cultural, etc.

The state also pays an increased scholarship for students with disabilities (disabled people) and those who are left without parental care.

Cost of education

Today, the cost of training in Kazakhstani universities varies on average from 800 to 5500 US dollars per year, depending on the region, university, program and level of education.

To receive education on a paid basis, both domestically and abroad, the state also offers assistance in the form of a savings deposit under the State Educational Savings System (GONS) through the Financial Center JSC. In 2018, GONS acquired its own brand AQYL. This innovation was initiated with the aim of popularizing GONS among the population, increasing the number of depositors and developing a culture of accumulation among the country's population. The concept of the new AQYL brand is based on education that is accessible to every citizen of Kazakhstan.

Program «Bolashak»

Kazakhstanis have the opportunity to get higher education abroad on a paid or free basis. Many European universities are ready to accept students from Kazakhstan. For citizens of Kazakhstan who apply for a doctorate or master's degree abroad, the government of the Republic of Kazakhstan has established an international scholarship "Bolashak".

The Bolashak international scholarship has become a unique initiative that provides talented youth with access to the best universities in the world. For more than 25 years of implementation of the scholarship, a pool of highly qualified specialists has formed in the country, including scientists, engineers, doctors, government officials and other professionals in their field. Graduates of the scholarship contributed to the building of international relations, the integration of Kazakhstan into the international community and the transfer of world knowledge and technology to the country.

Foreign students in Kazakhstan

In general, universities, educational consortia and countries around the world are trying to attract foreign students with all their might. In Kazakhstan, the admission of foreign citizens with a state educational order is carried out on a competitive basis:

  • educational grants under the Scholarship Program of the Republic of Kazakhstan;
  • educational grants within the framework of international treaties of the Republic of Kazakhstan;
  • educational grants for training in international universities created on the basis of interstate agreements (carried out by universities independently).

Also, admission of foreign citizens to study at universities on a paid basis is carried out based on the results of an interview conducted by admissions committees of universities or research organizations during a calendar year.

In this case, the enrollment of foreign citizens is carried out in accordance with the academic calendar 5 days before the start of the next academic period.

In recent years, the number of foreign students in Kazakhstani universities has tripled.

In Kazakhstan, the share of foreign students is a key indicator of the Strategic Development Plan of Kazakhstan until 2025.

In the 2020-2021 academic year, 28,169 (4.7%) foreign students study in Kazakhstan.

The number of foreign students by region, people:

Preparatory courses or Foundation programs are aimed at preparing the applicant for admission to the university. Foundation programs are designed to reduce differences in pre-university training and ensure equal access for the applicant to the university. These courses in universities are organized in order to improve the level of general education and language training of citizens of the Republic of Kazakhstan, foreigners, the Kazakh diaspora and stateless persons living in Kazakhstan for admission to universities.

The international cooperation

An important direction in the development of the higher education system in Kazakhstan is the processes of internationalization. Today, the country's universities conclude international agreements with leading foreign universities, participate in international projects, invite foreign scientists to work, and implement joint and double-degree educational programs.

Within the framework of cooperation on the implementation of SOP, Kazakhstani universities have developed partnerships with 53 universities from 13 countries of the world.

Number of partner universities in the implementation of JEPs by region, units:

Since 2012, the universities of the Republic of Kazakhstan have been actively introducing and implementing training in three languages ​​(multilingualism) and educational programs in English, training of pedagogical personnel for teaching in English in the specialties "Biology", "Chemistry", "Physics" and "Informatics" (natural science cycle). The purpose of this training in universities is: the preparation of highly qualified, competitive specialists in various specialties with language competence based on English language proficiency, mobile in the international educational space and in the labor market.

The opening of branches of universities contributes to the enhancement of their reputation abroad. Kazakhstani universities are working on the issue of opening representative offices on the basis of universities in the CIS countries. Thus, within the framework of the agreement, reception offices of S. Amanzholov EKSU were launched in the Republic of Mongolia. An educational and consulting center of M. Auezov SKSU has been opened in Uzbekistan to provide educational and methodological assistance to applicants and students. This became one of the reasons for the increase in the number of accepted applicants from Uzbekistan to 60.6% of the total admission to universities in Kazakhstan.

The development of Kazakhstan as an educational hub in Central Asia stimulates access to higher education for foreign citizens. The entry of Kazakhstani higher education into foreign markets is the task of the Strategic Development Plan of the Republic of Kazakhstan until 2025 and will contribute to increasing the competitiveness and relevance of the national higher education system.

Thus, the system of higher education of the Republic of Kazakhstan today is fundamentally reformed according to the leading European model. Moreover, the educational system of the country is constantly being improved so that every citizen of the Republic of Kazakhstan always has the opportunity to receive high-quality education, competitive in the labor market.

In 2020, the Republic of Kazakhstan celebrates the 10th anniversary of the implementation of the Bologna Process in the country's higher education system. Mandatory parameters of the Bologna process, in addition to the three-level system of higher and postgraduate education, include: the introduction of ECTS academic credits; academic mobility of students, teaching staff and administrative staff; European Diploma Supplement.

Academic credits ECTS (European Credit Transfer System - European system of transfer and accumulation of points). The ECTS credit transfer system makes it possible to assess the assimilation and development of educational programs in units of labor intensity. This system is focused mainly on the transfer of credits to ensure academic mobility.

For the first time in the world, ECTS was introduced in 1987 as an experimental scheme within the ERASMUS program. Kazakhstan's transition to credit technology began in 2002. The main goal of introducing the ECTS system: transition to a modern scheme of organizing the educational process based on the use of a system of transferable and accumulative credits.

According to the State Educational Institution of Higher Professional Education, in Kazakhstan, undergraduate studies have 240 credits, 300 credits in specialty, 60-120 credits in magistracy, 180 credits in doctoral studies.

Academic mobility of students, teaching staff and administrative staff. The beginning of the implementation of the academic mobility program in Kazakhstani universities dates back to 2011. In the period from 2011 to 2020, the number of students who left under the mobility program as a whole at the expense of budgetary and extra-budgetary funds amounted to 17,007 people.

Today, academic mobility in Kazakhstan is implemented in three forms: external outgoing, external incoming, internal. The geography of outgoing mobility includes leading universities in Western and Eastern Europe.

Off-budget sources of funding for academic mobility are: personal funds of students, university funds, funds of the Erasmus, Mevlana programs, the German DAAD exchange service, etc. In modern conditions, there is a tendency to increase the number and quality of sources of extra-budgetary funding, which indicates the breadth of choice Kazakhs of educational programs.

European Diploma Supplement. Diploma Supplement, according to the Lisbon Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications in Higher Education in the European Region (1997), as well as the mandatory parameters of the Bologna Process, is an integral attribute of the development of the EHEA.

At the normative level, this parameter is governed by the provisions of the State Compulsory Standard for Higher and Postgraduate Education (paragraphs 37, 64). Since 2019, the Diploma Supplement has become a mandatory document issued to university graduates together with a diploma of graduation. This document is the result of the implementation of the Paris Communiqué (May 2018).

In addition to the above provisions, the parameters of the Bologna process also include ensuring the quality of education, ensuring the recognition of qualifications at the level of the European educational process, education throughout life, etc.

To improve the quality of education and regulation of processes in this area, Kazakhstan in 2012 introduced independent accreditation of educational institutions and programs in the field of vocational education and training. During the second meeting of the Ministers of Education of the Member States of the European Union and Central Asian countries, held on June 23, 2017 in Astana, when signing the Astana Declaration, it was noted that “measures to improve quality in the field of higher education and vocational training have been taken in all countries Central Asia ".

In the context of lifelong learning, the Bologna Process, which began in 1999, has grown into an international movement to recognize non-formal and informal learning. Non-formal education refers to learning that takes place outside the formal education system - training, on-the-job training, coaching, self-education and other forms. Informal education includes those skills and abilities that a person acquires in the process of life, without resorting to targeted training - skills in working with technology and other forms. The development of procedures for the recognition of non-formal and informal learning is an indicator of the effectiveness of the results of any learning, regardless of its form of implementation.

The Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan "On Education" approved the official status of non-formal education. The next step in the framework of the concept of lifelong learning and lifelong education should be the formation of an integrated system of recognition of learning outcomes of non-formal and informal education.