Astana, April 12: The future of education and science in Kazakhstan was high on the agenda this week, as the country marked “Scientists’ Day” on April 12. A week of seminars and round tables was organized in Astana and Almaty to highlight the development of education and science in Kazakhstan and to strengthen Kazakhstan’s international relations in this sphere. After a seminar jointly organized by the Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan and the British Council, “Exchanging Ideas and Forming International Cooperation in Science”, further events were held under the banner of the Republican Forum, “Kazakhstan-2050: Education-Science-Innovation”.
The international seminar discussed the possibilities for cooperation and partnership between Kazakhstan and the UK, but was attended also by academics from Argentina, Germany, Russia, South Korea, Spain and the US.
Topics under discussion in the Republican Forum were focused on the development of science and education within Kazakhstan.
Round tables were held on a variety of subjects, among them: the development of agrarian science; the challenges of humanitarian subjects within the “Kazakhstan-2050 Strategy”; how to improve the quality and standing of scientifi c publications; raising the qualifi cations of engineers and technicians; crucial technology for accelerated industrial innovative development.
While looking ahead to developments in education and science under the “Kazakhstan-2050 Strategy”, the country’s academics were able to note some signifi cant improvements in recent years. There are now 20,000 people working in the scientifi c sphere, an increase of 38% on the number ten years ago. Thanks to the support of President Nazarbayev, state funding for science has increased
from KZT 20 billion in 2010 to KZT 51 billion in 2012.
When explaining the priorities for education and science in his address to the people on the “Kazakhstan-2050 Strategy”, the President outlined three main areas for development. There must be greater integration of Kazakhstan’s scientists with the foreign scientifi c community on innovation and in major international projects. Research in Kazakhstan’s higher educational institutions must be improved. And there has to be proper cooperation between science and business, especially regarding technology transfer and the development of public-private partnerships.
A specifi c area where this can happen is with regard to EXPO-2017 in Astana. Science and industry can show between them progress on developing the energy resources of the future, the main theme of EXPO-2017.
Cooperation with the international scientifi c community is already proceeding apace in Kazakhstan. There have already been 43 agreements signed with countries in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the former Soviet Union and with the US. In particular, strategically-important scientifi c and technical projects are being worked on with Belarus, China, India and Russia.
In keeping with the title of the Republican Forum, it is acknowledged that more needs to be done by the Ministry of Education and Science to encourage scientists to bring innovative benefi ts to the economy. The Ministry, in cooperation with the World Bank, has already launched a program, “The Commercialisation of Technology”. This has received funding to the tune of USD 75 million, and is already active in 21 projects.