Higher Education in Kazakhstan 2017

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Higher education policy is the key to lifelong learning and this is particularly important as the ageing population is increasing in many countries. It is a major driver of economic competitiveness in an increasingly knowledge-driven global economy and it also brings social cohesion and well-being. Countries are increasingly aware that higher education institutions need to foster the skills required to sustain a globally competitive research base and improve knowledge dissemination to the benefit of society. Kazakhstan’s higher education system has made progress over the past ten years.  However, there is scope for improvement in delivering labour-market relevant skills to Kazakhstanis, and in supporting economic growth through research and innovation.

In examining the higher education system in Kazakhstan, this report builds on a 2007 joint OECD/World Bank review: Reviews of National Policies for Education: Higher Education in Kazakhstan 2007. Each chapter presents an overview of progress made in the past decade across the main areas explored in the 2007 report. These include quality and relevance, access and equity, internationalisation, research and innovation, financing and governance. The report also examines policy responses to evolving dynamics in higher education and the wider socio-economic changes.

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Access and equity in higher education in Kazakhstan

This chapter looks at access, student preparation and admissions requirements for higher education. It also discusses the financial aid system and its effects on equity of access, as well as the barriers to equal academic achievement. The system in Kazakhstan places particular focus on high-performing students and there is a lack of data and monitoring processes to support disadvantaged students. Poor and uneven student preparation as well as current admissions requirements tends to favour students from better-resourced schools and those whose parents can afford tutoring. The systemic challenge of lower-quality, less well-resourced schooling for rural students and students from low socioeconomic groups acts as a significant barrier to equal academic achievement. Measures to address this issue remain limited, and the current financial aid system negatively affects equity of access.


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