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Kazakhstan Country Information

Kazakhstan Representative:
Raushan Kanayeva
Director of the Corporate Development Department
KIMEP University
Kazakhstan@AsiaPacificCDA.org




November 2021 Kazakhstan Report

COVID-19 

About 50% of the population were vaccinated. Business returned to previous indicators. There are offline events.  On weekends malls and restaurants are open only for vaccinated.

KIMEP

KIMEP U launched Fall semester online. But then by the decree of the Ministry of Education and Science  we were forced to switch the mode of educational delivery and return to the implementation of in-person, traditional learning. Upon the full consultation of the student government president, faculty members, and members of top management of KIMEP University, we postponed return to in-person education to October 25.  All students returned to classes. 

EVENTS

- Conference  on new technologies in education “Edcrunch glocal —designing a new educational experience» - December 7-8th, 2021, online and offline, https://edcrunch.online/en 

- Central Asia Nobel fest – an online platform for discussing and sharing innovative ideas with Nobel Prize Laureates, distinguished scientist and experts, October 26-29, https://nobelfest.inpolicy.net/about-eng.html 

OECD REPORT (https://www.oecd.org/countries/kazakhstan/OECD-Skills-Strategy-Kazakhstan_Russian.pdf )

In recent years, Kazakhstan has made progress in improving competencies and economic indicators. For example, an inclusive system of competencies in Kazakhstan is strong at all levels. Kazakhstan is rapidly improving in the use of competencies at work, especially in terms of applying digital skills. However, the level of competence of youth in Kazakhstan remains significantly below the average. Adults also have comparatively weak fundamental competencies (skills) and problem-solving skills, since the culture of adult learning underdeveloped. Vulnerable populations face significant barriers to enhancing their competencies in the labor market, and unsatisfactory information systems about competencies do not allow for more effective and targeted policies. Many of these competency problems are rooted in ineffective governance mechanisms, including weak intergovernmental coordination and cooperation, and lack of communication with stakeholders. 

Main recommendations: 

  • Strengthening the activation of competencies for vulnerable populations

  • Facilitating participation in all forms of adult learning

  • Creation of an effective system of information on competencies

  • Strengthening the management of the competency system

In 2020, Kazakhstan promptly took measures to stop the spread of coronavirus, Kazakhstan has also implemented an extensive range of measures to mitigate economic consequences by developing a package of anti-crisis measures in the amount of 10 billion US dollars (about 9% of GDP). The program has employed over 750,000 people, and about 4.6 million people received direct financial support from government. 

However, people in Kazakhstan continue to suffer from the COVID-19 pandemic, which is also has a significant negative impact on current and future growth prospects. In January-August 2020, the economy decreased on  3% compared to an annual GDP growth rate of 4.5% in 2019 (World Bank). For the period from January to August 2020, Retail fell 11.7%, Investment fell 5.2%, and exports fell against the backdrop of weak global demand. As in other countries around the world, strict insulation is also led to the closure of educational and training institutions, with most of the studies went online. In Kazakhstan, the closure of schools may have long-term consequences for the economy and society. The World Bank estimates that future the income of students affected by COVID-19 in Kazakhstan could be reduced by about 2.9%, which will result in total annual economic losses of up to USD 1.9 billion. The crisis also made it difficult to complete transition of young people from school to work, which will lead to long-term wage losses and well-being due to the “scar effect”.

August 2021 Kazakhstan Report

COVID-19

30% of the population were vaccinated (last report in May - 6%). Delta variant reached 90 percent. The Ashyq mobile application introduces ratings for business. The most responsible business has more preferences- open hours longer, more guests/clients in restaurants or offices. According to conducted survey – restaurant lost the most profits.

EDUCATION

 The labor market in Kazakhstan, like anywhere in the world, suffers from the evergreen issue of mismatch between the supply, quality of skills and de-facto demands of the workplace. According to the news portal in Kazakhstan, 60% of university graduates do not work according to the profession or specialty-trained for at the university.

The Atlas of Emerging Jobs is an almanac of promising industries and occupations for the next 10–15 years, initially developed in Russia in 2014. It will help to understand which industries, will actively develop; what new technologies, products, management practices will be born in and what new skills and competencies will be in demand by employers. On the other hand, the Atlas will shed light on what industries, professions, skills will become unnecessary, and which parts of the country’s labor will need retraining, upskilling and mobilization to other jobs.

Thus, the Atlas of Emerging Jobs currently designates to become one of the most advanced vocational guidance tools that help to understand future trends in the labor market and identify specialties and skills that will become relevant or appear in the coming decade.

The last news - as a result - over the next 5 years, one of Kazakhstani universities  of Oil and Gas plans to introduce 16 professions from the "Atlas of new professions and competencies of Kazakhstan" in 5 areas of the oil and gas industry.

It is planned to introduce professions from the Atlas in 180 colleges and more than 12 universities today are already updating their educational programs.

KIMEP

As all of you know students academic exchanges is an excellent tool to increase the employability of students. My university was always #1 in Kazakhstan on  international exchanges. We accept the biggest number of foreign students, and our KIMEP students are the most active exchange students, in comparison with other universities in Kazakhstan. e have about 180 partner universities around the world. I am glad to inform that due to vaccination we return back to exchanges and as for now

 

offline academic exchange

online academic exchange

#of international HEI offers

81

3

# of KIMEP students accepted

65

3

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May 2021 Kazakhstan Report

COVID-19

  • 6% of the population have been vaccinated
  • Kazakhstan has removed some restrictions for those who received both components of the COVID-19 vaccine
  • The Ashyq mobile application allows businesses to continue their work amid the coronavirus restrictions

EMPLOYMENT

  • The labour market began an active recovery after 2020
  • No sharp increase in unemployment was observed, but temporarily unemployed population has increased 4.1 times

Randstad Employer Brand Research Report

  • 21% of employees changed employers in the past year due to COVID influence
  • The ability to work remotely attracts about 2 out of 5 employees
  • More than half of the respondents started working remotely during pandemic time
  • The majority of employees (51%) participated in the adoption decisions to work remotely, while others do not have a choice
  • 50% of people are sent on vacation / idle or fired, worked more or less time, than usual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Most of the reduction in working hours and wages in connection with COVID-19 has affected people from 55 to 64 years old
  • An additional US$115 million was allocated for the state program on employment and mass entrepreneurship

EDUCATION

The list of priority specializations were named for this academic year as part of the Bolashak International Scholarship Program. The academic fields of study are divided into seven main sections, such as innovation and new technologies, industrial engineering, natural sciences, social sciences, education, medicine and creative industry. More specific innovative areas that were highlighted by the program include virology, robotics and creative economy specializations. Due to the latest circumstances, programs in biotechnology, biology and vaccinology are also prioritized this year.

NU: Fall semester- Hybrid with 1/3 of the student population on campus

KIMEP: Summer II semester- offline. Student survey showed that students divided 50%\50% in their preference of online and offline education.

In April KIMEP organized the second Job Fair in online format.

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January 2020 Kazakhstan Report

By Raushan Kanayeva, KIMEP University

First-year university students have partially returned to classrooms. High school students follow a mixed learning program, where 70 percent of classes take place in classrooms and 30 percent remotely. 

Mass vaccination is expected to begin Feb. 1 with Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine and the plan is to immunize up to six million citizens in 2021. With Kazakhstan’s vast natural resources, the government seeks to tap into the potential of the agricultural sector.  This year, it plans to create 7 large production and processing ecosystems of meat, dairy, crops, oilseeds, fruits, vegetables and sugar. In 2020, gross output in agriculture grew 5.6 percent over the year reaching 6.3 trillion tenge (US$14.9 billion). The plan will create 13,400 jobs and ensure a ten percent growth in the processing industry. 



Ms. Yevgeniya Kim of Nazarbayev University recommends the two reports below by the European Training Foundation.  They contain the most recent  findings of the project under European Union on "International trends and innovation in career guidance." Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan, was invited for participation in Fall 2019 and reflect on how the Career and Advising Center at Nazarbayev University sees the value of career guidance and constant student learning in its work.

https://www.etf.europa.eu/sites/default/files/2020-11/innovation_in_career_guidance_vol._1.pdf

https://www.etf.europa.eu/sites/default/files/2020-11/innovation_in_career_guidance_vol._2.pdf

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Kazakhstani Career Forum: Links between Employers and Higher Education Institutions

By Madina Aitakanova, Balagul Abduali and Gulnur Ismayil-Isparova 

On October 29, 2020, the Career and Advising Center at Nazarbayev University organized the online Career Center’s Forum on the topic "Links between employers and higher education institutions" as part of the sharing experience program. The Career Center’s Forum brought together employees of university career centers, career development and planning professionals and employers.

The Nazarbayev University Career Advising Center started the development of a platform for the exchange of experience and best practices through seminars and sessions in 2015. In addition to seminars, the Center has also been conducting special job shadowing sessions for individual universities upon their request. For a more systematic and conceptual approach to the sharing experience program, in October 2019, the Center launched a series of 9 webinars attended by representatives of more than 40 universities in Kazakhstan.

Related to the experience of universities and employers, the Forum presented trends in the labor market of Kazakhstan (for example, optimization by reducing working hours, but not reducing number of employees) and measures to support employment taken by the government (Daulet Argandykov, President of the Center for the Workforce Development). These ideas were supported by the results of the research conducted by Ankor, an international staffing company which found that only 12% of the surveyed companies in Kazakhstan are planning staffing cuts. Ankor also presented the results of the first ever study of employers' brands conducted in the labor market of Kazakhstan (Tengizchevroil, Kazatomprom, Air Astana, etc.). Universum presented the results of Talent Research 2020 conducted among nearly 7 thousand students from Kazakhstan.

>The Forum, which was held on the Zoom platform attracted about 110 participants, including colleagues from the career centers of universities from Russia and Belarus. In addition to representatives of universities, employers and specialists in the field of career development attended the event.

One of the guest speakers to the Forum was Ms. Gulnur Ismayil – Isparova, executive Director of Asia Pacific Career Development Association and Acting Associate Vice Rector of ADA University in Azerbaijan. As part of APCDA’s community service and contribution to the field, APCDA leadership is joining various international forums and conferences to share ideas and best practices in career development. Ms. Ismayil – Isparova presented the Association and introduced participants to the scope of APCDA, encouraging them to become members of one of the strongest international career networks in the world. She has also talked about expertise of colleagues across our region with examples from South Korea, China, Japan, Philippines, Australia, USA and Singapore. Important highlights related to the role of government and national agencies in support of extensive private-public partnerships and ways national institutions can be helpful during the pandemic.

To conclude, Ms Ismayil-Isparova drew attention to the article by Dr. Farouk Dey, Vice Provost for Integrative Learning and Life Design at the Johns Hopkins University on 10 Future Trends in College Career Services to share his perspective on the evolution of career centers. Synergy, broader outreach, and development of a University eco-system contribute to the future of university career services, which ensure effective service to students and increase their chances of being successfully employed upon graduation.

We are thankful to our colleagues from Nazarbayev University for this enormous contribution in the field of career development across Kazakhstan!

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October 2020 Kazakhstan Report

Fall 2020 Remote Learning Survey:

  • 73.5% response rate
  • Most students prefer a delivery mode that involves face-to-face instruction (partially or entirely)
  • Around 4 in 10 students indicated that they have adapted “well” (or “very well”) to remote learning
  • Less than half of the undergraduate students were satisfied with the quality of their engagement in remote learning activities
  • Top 3 improvements needed: course delivery, personal attitude towards remote learning, and change in the home/learning environment
  • 3 out of 5 undergraduate students  and a third of graduate students experienced lack of motivation as a major challenge
  • Inability to learn effectively online was a major challenge for the majority of undergraduate students
  • Improvement in digital skills and ability to study at one’s own  pace emerged as some of the most positive aspects
  • 2 slides on Participation in the “Events and Activities” and  “Satisfaction with Services and Resources” further


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Spring 2021:

  • Online semester with slight modifications for a few in-person classes/less than 10 % (labs and graduation requirements)
  • Maintaining a balance between synchronous and asynchronous delivery
  • Allow different modes of internships, encourage proactivity in obtaining major course modification and course withdrawal and degree deferments by students should be considered carefully and discouraged as far as possible
  • Adoption of Outbreak Response Plan (ORP), security and safety measures to be strengthened
  • British Council Higher Education Dialogues-Deep Dive series: Oct 28 ‘What can universities do to help graduates find employment this year? – The Fundamentals of Employability.’ More to come
  • Coursera “Building University of the Future” link to YouTube series

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April 2020 Country report

by Yevgeniya Kim

Sharing Nazarbayev University Career & Advising Center’s experience:

The Center has conducted 6 webinars for Kazakhstani HEIs to share our best practices as well as create platform and engage other Universities to share their experience  on the following topics:

  • Kick off webinar: labor market trends, future ready graduates skills, Experience Sharing Program content and timelines

  • Employability Program

  • Career Development Course

  • Graduate Application Advising Program 

  • Internship Program

  • Work on Campus program


Upcoming webinars:

  • Career Advising Program

  • Alumni Engagement Program

  • Communication Strategy

Participants have to participate live or study the recorded webinars. Answer multiple choice questions, receive Certificate ( 60% correct answers in the multiple choice quiz) 

Participation in the Workshop in the framework of the Project of the British Council in Kazakhstan  on embedding Employability framework

  • Presentation shared with APCDA Country representatives


Invitation to participate in the Eurasian Higher Education Leaders’ Forum 2020

  • More info at https://ehelf.nu.edu.kz/

  • Dates: Dates: September 30 – October 2, 2020

  • Venue: Nazarbayev University, Nur-Sultan Сity, Kazakhstan

  • Title: “University *.0. Ready?” 

In this 10th anniversary edition, EHELF aims to address important questions affecting higher education spurred by rapid advances in digital technologies. While industries and job markets are profoundly affected by technological disruption, higher education institutions (HEI) also have to face the same technological disruption and change. Whether future universities will be characterized as “university 2.0” (i.e. an update and reset of today’s university) or “university 4.0”(a deeper disruption analogous to “industry 4.0”), we probably can all agree that universities themselves will be subject to profound questioning, but are they, are we ready? Whence, the EHELF title “University *.0. Ready?” EHELF’s thematic direction builds on topics discussed over the last few years, in particular our themes from 2018: “Innovating Higher Education in the Age of Disruption” and 2019: “Future Ready Graduates”.


Change of role from the Career Center to Advisor to Vice-Provosts at the University 

  • Academic Affairs

  • Industry Engagement

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Skills and Competencies vs Knowledge

Yevgeniya Kim, the Director of Nazarbayev University’s Career and Advising Center, has been working there since its inception in 2012. The main tasks of the Center are to work together with students on their career development and to advise students and graduates on issues related to their professional growth. We offer an interview with Yevgeniya on our website.

– As you know, a university system of education encourages students in many ways to be independent, as opposed to the school systems encountered earlier in life.  Everything at the university is aimed at providing students with opportunities for development, as they say, “to teach them to fish and you feed him for a lifetime “.  How successfully students can take advantage of these opportunities depends on themselves.

We live in a world where the overall knowledge base is constantly growing, so every day there is new data and knowledge in any field of science, industry or business. This changing landscape means that a number of transferrable skills are highly prized.  Among them, according to the World Economic Forum Report, are the ability to be analytical, to innovate, to find comprehensive solutions, to think critically, to actively learn, and finally, to be able to learn new skills in general. Supporting students in developing these skills is where the Center sees its main task, which it strives to achieve working together with the schools, the university library, and research centers. We try to actively involve our students and graduates in joint work with our partners through professional development programs (i.e., Company Days, Career Days, seminars on key skills, simulation interviews, and excursions). Starting next academic year, we plan to open a career planning course based on this program.

Source: https://nu.edu.kz/news/skills-competencies-vs-knowledge

Highlights from Kazakhstani Career Centers, December 2017

by Stanley Currier


Over the summer of 2017, I conducted a survey and in-depth interviews with university career centers from three different cities in Kazakhstan: Almaty, Astana and Kostanai. The goal of the research was to investigate the role of career centers at Kazakhstani universities in improving students' workforce preparedness and increasing employability. This article will provide a brief snapshot of career center services at Kazakhstani universities and share best practices that four universities surveyed utilize to increase student employability.

Brief Snapshot – Career Centers at Kazakhstani Institutes of Higher Education

Career and advising centers at Kazakhstani institutes of higher education are a relatively new phenomenon. During the Soviet period, university graduates were assigned a position based on their university specialty and industry requirements. Open borders, new professions and advancements in technology have changed the picture considerably over the past two decades. Among the universities polled for this research, career centers were established as early as 1995 and as recently as 2015. Levels of career center staffing and range of services provided vary tremendously, largely due to a university's individual strategic priorities, resources and budgets.

Career and advising centers in Kazakhstan provide varied services to students and alumni and proffer different levels of engagement with industry. Services offered range from individual one-on-one counseling appointments with students to large all-university events such as career fairs or employer recruitment sessions. Career center staff assist students with securing internships, liaise with a whole range of stakeholders internally and externally, and prepare students for employment opportunities. Many of the challenges that career center staff expressed related to their work are not faced by Kazakhstani institutions alone. For example, tracking student employment data and maintaining accurate alumni data is a challenge faced by universities globally. Staff training and retention is another challenge shared by Kazakhstani universities with others around the world.

Career Center Services to Increase Employability: Institutional Highlights

Career Fairs: Varied Activities and Approaches

A nuanced career fair approach and varied fair formats yield positive results related to workforce preparedness, as demonstrated by several universities surveyed. KazGUU University in Astana has a segmented approach to its career fairs, hosting an internship-themed fair in the fall semester and an employment- themed fair in the spring semester. The university targets companies for each of these fairs according to their respective internship and employment needs. This tailored approach results in higher industry, university and student satisfaction with placement rates.

KIMEP University in Almaty incorporates multiple forums and strategy sessions into its annual career fair. During its last fair, KIMEP included a forum themed "Education and Employment: New Realities." The forum brought together top HR executives with diverse perspectives. They discussed topics such as key skills in the post-industrial era. During the fair, students had the opportunity to gain feedback on their résumés and their presentation styles.

Nazarbayev University in Astana has innovated beyond the traditional career fair format. Instead of organizing annual career fairs, the university conducts a series of on-campus recruitment events throughout the year. The university found that at traditional career fairs, the number of vacancies companies can offer is limited, and not always appropriate for new graduates. Today, the university conducts a series of customized campus recruitment events throughout the year, designed to link to the employability levels of Nazarbayev University graduates.

Industry Engagement: Thematic Round Tables and Case Study Competitions

In addition to university advisory boards, several universities surveyed shared innovative ways that they maintain close contact with industry. Narxoz University in Almaty engages with business by organizing periodic thematic round table discussions with employers. Each time the targeted invite group changes, so do the presented topics – for example, the university has organized round tables for employers in the areas of the banking, consulting, audit, hospitality, agriculture and manufacturing industries. This practice could be valuable for those universities that are looking for targeted feedback from particular industries. This approach also compliments advisory board activities.

KIMEP University in Almaty offers companies the opportunity to develop and advertise case study competitions among its students. Student teams have the opportunity to solve a real case study for a company via a team competition. Open to students at both the bachelor and master's level, these competitions are win-win for students and companies. Students have the chance to apply their critical thinking, teamwork and technical skills to a case study and companies receive valuable insight that can be applied to marketing, sales and design concepts.

Internship and Employment Preparation: Mock Interviews by Companies

Trainings, seminars and master classes related to employability competencies emerged unanimously as the top services that career centers provide to students to help prepare them for employability and job competitiveness. These include training sessions and feedback on résumés and CVs, interview preparation and interviewing skills practice labs. Nazarbayev University in Astana highlighted a best practice of inviting companies on campus to provide 'mock interviews' for students. Though the interviews are not always for currently open positions, Nazarbayev University Career and Advising Center Director Yevgeniya Kim noted that 'often companies are so impressed with our students during the mock interviews that they find ways to offer them internships or keep them in mind for future opportunities.'

This brief article presented a range of best practices that are currently employed by Kazakhstani career centers including a targeted approach to career fairs, innovations in industry engagement and preparation for internships and employment via mock interviews with company representatives. These programming strategies and approaches could easily be adapted to other country contexts. These ideas may be useful for university leadership, career center staff, and companies interested in utilizing career centers as a vehicle to improve workforce preparedness and student employability.

Stanley Currier is a Senior Program Officer in the Education Programs Division at IREX in Washington, D.C. He currently manages a portfolio of higher education and youth development programs. He can be reached at scurrier@irex.org.

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April 2020 Country Report

by Yevgeniya Kim

I welcome you at the Kazakhstani page, a newly joined country member at APCDA.

As a Director of the Career and Advising Center I have a privilege of working with a committed group of professionals who are here to help the students and graduates of Nazarbayev University to successfully connect their academic accomplishments with a wide range of career opportunities. I have worked in higher education for over 20 years. My Master Degrees in International Journalism (majoring in PR) and Business Administration have supported me throughout my professional life. I enjoy travelling, sports, and watching movies; cherish my family and friends.

May I share an article about the Career and Advising Center at Nazarbayev University for the local newspaper Astana Times. Here’s the link: https://astanatimes.com/2017/06/nu-career-centre-assists-graduates-in-landing-a-job/

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