THIS WEEK IN KAZAKHSTAN: Kazakhstan reconsiders approaches to science funding, upgrades manpower training

ASTANA. KAZINFORM The Kazakh Government is keen to bring the country's science funding in line with global practice.

"In next three years Kazakhstan is set to spend 10 billion tenge on training of the stuff that will be responsible for the implementation of the State Program of Industrial and Innovative Development," said Vice Minister of Education and Science Takir Balykbayev. "In his State-of-the-Nation Address President Nursultan Nazarbayev instructed to train personnel for successful implementation of the State Program of Industrial and Innovative Development. To this end, the government allotted 10 billion tenge to 10 higher education institutions. The money was earmarked for next three years," Mr. Balykbayev said at the Friday press conference at KazMedia Center.

"A special campus uniting geological, IT, medical and other clusters on the basis of the Nazarbayev University in Astana will carry out scientific research and development," the Vice Minister of Education and Science added. In his turn, director of the technologies commercialization office at the ministry Damir Yegizbayev said that 33 innovation projects of Kazakhstani scientists worth more than one billion tenge were selected under the grant program. He also briefed on the plans to set up new high-tech production lines. Besides, the Education and Science Ministry of Kazakhstan has announced via its official website that format of the Unified National Testing (or UNT) will not be changed in 2015. More than 100,000 schoolchildren graduating school in Kazakhstan this year will sit the test from 1 till 15 June 2015.

School leavers can take the Unified National Testing either in Kazakh or Russian in five subjects: the Kazakh or the Russian languages, Maths, history of Kazakhstan, Kazakh (for schools with Russian as the language of instruction), Russian (for schools with Kazakh as the language of instruction), and a subject of choice (depending on the major students are going to pursue at university/college).

Each subject contains 25 test pieces and the time allowed for the testing is three hours (or 210 minutes). The test cannot be retaken.

Specialists of the Education Ministry carefully monitor the UNT procedure.

Nearly 1.5 million people or 80% of total number of school leavers have taken the test since 2004. The Healthcare and Social Development Vice Minister Svetlana Zhakupova said that the ministry expects no large inflow of labor force to Kazakhstan from the EEU member states. Last year 7,990 people arrived in Kazakhstan from Russia, 560 from Belarus, 260 from Armenia. She also stressed that pension contributions of the workers from the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) states will be transferred to the countries of their origin residence upon the attaining retirement age. Investments and Development Minister of Kazakhstan Asset Issekeshev has arrived today in the Mangystau region for a working visit. The minister held a meeting on the development of the transport and logistics potential of the West Kazakhstan region. Besides, the minister surveyed a number of industrial facilities of the region, including the industrialized construction works, KazAzot LLP. As stated there, 35 projects worth KZT 227,8 bln were put into service in the region under the Industrialization Map in 2010-2014. The second five-year plan foresees realization of 77 investment projects worth KZT 1,8 trln. It is expected to create about 16,000 workplaces. He also chaired there a meeting on the results of realization of the advanced industrial and innovation development program in the region.

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