The meeting at the country’s best university opens a new chapter in the national system of education and science. The President called the day historic for a reason: for the first time Kazakhstan has self-governed educational institutions. Their activities are regulated by RK Law “On the Status of Nazarbayev University, Nazarbayev intellectual schools and Nazarbayev Endowment”.
The meeting’s participants were considering the running of Nazarbayev University and Nazarbayev intellectual schools in accordance with the law recently passed by the parliament. Approved was the composition of the Supreme Board of Trustees, chaired by the head of state and including Prime Minister Karim Massimov, head of Presidential Administration Aslan Musin, deputy Prime Minister Erlan Orynbayev, President’s aide Bakhyt Sultanov, rector of the university Shigeo Katsu, education and science minister of Bakhytzhan Zhumagulov.
The university, schools and Endowment have separate boards of trustees each and they are guided by the decisions of the Supreme Board. The Cabinet’s head leads the Board of Trustees of the University and the Endowment. E. Orynbaev was appointed to chair the Board of Trustees of intellectual schools.
The founder of Nazarbayev University and Nazarbayev intellectual schools is the government of Kazakhstan. Nazarbayev Endowment is a nonprofit organization created solely for financing activities of these structures.
The meeting also approved the Regulations and Rules of property management and discussed strategic aspects of the development of innovative educational institutions.
Congratulating the newly appointed members of the Supreme Board of Trustees, the President stressed that trustees are not ceremonial bystanders.
- A lot depends on your activity, - said the head of state.
The President also tasked the participants of the meeting with current issues and those dealing with general development of education in the future.
First, the potentials of Nazarbayev University and Bolashak program had to be united, including their resources. For overseas training will qualify only experienced professionals with skills in practical work and for doctoral studies and PhD internships. They should include university professors and high school teachers.
The second aspect is an innovative one. The President instructed to develop a single algorithm of actions for Nazarbayev University and IT park Alatau. The aim is to raise the first generation of engineers with practical experience in the commercialization of technological developments.
Priority should be given to innovative component of scientific research. Today, their funding accounts for just 20% of total spending for science. It is necessary to take this figure up to 60%.
The University’s Center for Energy Studies together with foreign partners and KEGOC company should begin active implementation of a research project on the development of energy-saving technology transfers. Relevant is research in the solar cell of the second and third generation.
- Kazakhstan has three hundred days of sunshine a year. Where else should research in solar energy be conducted? - the head of state noted.
In general, the University’s research centers should receive specific orders from the ministries and national companies. Nursultan Nazarbayev instructed to examine the need for innovation.
Cooperation of the national medical holding with the new generation institution was especially noted in this regard. This is a fundamental principle of national integrated academic health system. In this connection the head of state mentioned the ambitious project of modern medicine - the creation of a diagnostic biosensor based on magnetic nanoparticles for rapid detection of the causative agent of tuberculosis.
There are a number of other initiatives in related fields: chemistry, biotechnology, nanotechnology, bioinformatics. As the President said, we follow the example of Singapore, which set a goal to attract a million “medical tourists” in 2012.
- I instruct the government to develop a concrete national list of scientific innovation, specified by years, facilities, funding level, with the growth of government spending over the next three years, - President Nursultan Nazarbayev set a task. - There must be a concrete plan for research and innovation activities of the University.
The third problem, which outlined the President, concerns criteria of evaluation.
The University’s performance, and indeed of any other university in the country, should be evaluated not only from the educational point of view, but in the context of civil viability of the students. Patriotism, high spirituality, civic responsibility, social maturity and activity - these must be the qualities of its alumni, leaders of the new century.
The first students of the university are leaving for vacation, going into the regions. Why not give them a social task to tell their peers about Astana, the new University, the prospects it opens to young people?
The fourth issue to be focused on is information support. The head of state urged the University’s professors and vice rectors to frequently meet with the media. Separately, Nursultan Nazarbayev, spoke of an electronic resource of the institution. To promote the university on the first page of the official website of the President is placed a link to virtual Nazarbayev University. But…
The Russian text on the website of the university in the “Principles of health and safety” section has 10 grammar mistakes! The “About Kazakhstan” section gives information about the culture of our country, which really baffles. “Kazakhs and Russians show more restraint in public places and are relaxed with friends, on holiday or at home”.
- And that’s all you can say about Kazakh culture? Who wrote it? - asked the President. According to him, the site has nothing except a standard set of information about the university. It has no student spirit. The head of state gave the relevant authorities exactly a month to put in order the “electronic university” and revive its content.
Nursultan Nazarbayev turned his attention to the sites of Intelligent Schools. The minister of information and communication, education and science were requested to take these issues under personal control.
The fifth direction requiring attention - Nazarbayev University must be a model of modern management in Kazakhstan education. The ministry should gradually introduce its advanced management experience in other universities.
It is worth studying the possibility of appointing rectors of state universities by the government’s resolutions, except for rectors of national universities, appointed by the President. This will increase the responsibility of top managers for the educational process. In the future, it is expedient to create boards of trustees of the regional universities, with the heads of large enterprises, companies and banks on them.
The sixth key issue - in 2020, the University should be on the Shanghai ranking of the world’s best high schools. The strategy of the educational institution must be a “road map” for entry into the world elite club.
In this regard, President instructed the education and science ministry together with the leadership of the Endowment and University to establish monitoring of international educational process, make timely adjustments in curricula and standards, research programs.
Summing up, the President said that the institutional stage of innovative scientific and educational complex of the University and intellectual schools is over and now they have legal and material resources, the management system; a common strategy was defined. It only remains to work hard.
The new form of governance holds great promise. The law regulating the activities of Nazarbayev University, Nazarbayev intellectual schools and Nazarbayev Endowment proclaims principles of work such as self-governance, autonomy and academic freedom, the integration of education, science and industry, collective decision-making, social responsibility and transparency.
...A report on the university management system was made by E. Orynbaev. According to him, the competence of the SBT will include approval of the development strategy of the University, schools and Endowment, of the right for asset management, of the charter, the formation of lower-level boards of trustees. Their competencies also includes approval of annual and medium term budgets, the definition of the number of members of executive bodies, adoption of the rules of procurement of goods and services and so on.
Of course, the initiative could not have taken shape without appropriate legislative framework. A working group on the Law “On the Status of Nazarbayev University, Nazarbayev intellectual schools and Nazarbayev Endowment was headed by Majilis member Gulmira Isimbaeva. Commenting on the document, she noted that this act provides a complete academic freedom, autonomy, self-governing, including effective management of assets.
The chairman of the executive board, Aslan Sarinzhipov, the University’s rector Shigeo Katsu and representative of Cambridge Associates Philip Van Overberghe reported on progress and current tasks during the discussion of strategic directions for the University, schools and Endowment.
The importance of Nazarbayev intellectual schools was noted at the meeting, because most of the graduates of these schools are now students of Nazarbayev University. On strategic directions to advance this educational tandem shared the chair of the Board of Nazarbayev intellectual schools, Kulyash Shamshitdinova. Schools are seeking gifted children. They have tested about 11 thousand children - currently these schools teach 3 791 pupils, annually 3-4 children apply for a school place, in Astana in 2010 the figure was 9.5 per place. It is noteworthy that all last year’s graduates enrolled in higher education institutions for grants, the majority chose technical and medical specialties.
The main strategic partner in the content of education is University of Cambridge International Examinations through its representatives and experts of the University of Pennsylvania and the British Council, who are working on the improvement of an experimental integrated educational program.
Concluding the meeting, the President said that has always personally overseen education issues. Today Nazarbayev University and Nazarbayev intelligent schools are the main site of Kazakhstan’s innovative-technological breakthrough in the XXI century. The head of state wished the boards of trustees every success.
Laura Tusupbekova, Vladimir Kuriatov
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