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Astana, August 23: The “Bolashak” educational program, which gives post-graduate students and undergraduates from Kazakhstan the opportunity to study in world-class higher educational establishments, is to open a new strand of scholarships specifically for journalists. The Education Ministry has also announced that 299 scholarships have already been awarded this year under the “Bolashak” scheme, half of them to post-graduate students.

    The “Bolashak” program was set up 20 years ago on the initiative of President Nursultan Nazarbayev to give some of the country’s leading research students and undergraduates the opportunity to study abroad before returning to Kazakhstan and helping the country’s post-Soviet development. The name itself means “Future” in the Kazakh language, illustrating the aim of assisting the country’s development. In 20 years of the scheme almost 10,000 students have benefitted from “Bolashak” scholarships. The program itself has been refined over the years and students are now offered places at200 of the world’s top universities and higher educational establishments in 33 different countries.

    It is a sign of the dynamic nature of the “Bolashak” program that a brand new stream is to be introduced in February 2014, aimed specifically at those working in the media. There will be two parts to the scheme: a master’s degree as well as periods of specialized training abroad. Both schemes will be open to all those working as journalists, editors and producers in any area of the media.

    In fact, a pilot media scheme is already in operation. The first students to be sent abroad for specialized training have been those working in technical areas: video engineers, sound engineers, camera operators and technicians. These specialists will spend time training in the Institute of Radio Electronics in St Petersburg; the New York Academy of Film, based at Universal Studios; and at the BBC in the United Kingdom. When the scheme is fully up and running, journalists will be able to study on masters’ courses in leading universities in the USA,Great Britain, Australia, Canada and Germany.

    At the same time as the Ministry of Education and Science announced the new scheme for journalists, it was also revealed that 299 candidates have been chosen to receive this year’s “Bolashak” grants. Around half of these will be studying abroad for masters’ degrees and doctorates. Nevertheless, anyone still wanting to apply for the “Bolashak” scheme still has time: applications continue to be received throughout the year.

    Of the masters’ degrees approved this year, around 60% are in engineering and technical specialities; information technology; oil and gas-related projects; energy; machine-building; and technical management. The remaining 40% are made up of economists, lawyers and medical specialities, including heart surgery, cancer treatment and reconstructive surgery.

    Those fields where post-graduates from Kazakhstan are studying for PhDs include sociology, political science and state management. Many of the students on study placements are training to be teachers or medical workers in towns or the countryside.


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