The recent educational reform dedicated to implementing trilingual policy might stimulate foreign students from neighbor countries to study in Kazakhstan.
The annual turnover of the global educational, according to WTO figures, is about $ 90 billion. While the market of raw materials has become unstable, profits from education are increasing. For example, in 2015 the volume of education exports in Australia made up about $ 15 billion.
Among countries that earn from education, the leader is undoubtedly the US. It holds about a third of the world’s financial turnover in the market. The profit they receive through the education of foreign students fifteen times greater than what the US Government allocates to high education.
The Malaysian model is also notable in offering the educational services. Their success in this business is one of the best examples for us. Particularly, the fact that Malaysia has the British and Australian universities in its territory improves the image as an educational destination. Currently, more than 100,000 foreign students study in the country, and by 2020 they are planning to increase this figure up to 200,000 people. Each student studying in Malaysia spends at least $ 10,000 per year, which is a valuable contribution to its economy.
Is Kazakhstan capable of making such success weaning itself from natural resources?
Development of a true trilingual system, in which English would have the most important role, might be a positive signal to potential students from other countries that are congruent to Kazakhstan. If we take into account that the demand for high education in English is increasing intensively, we can be a good choice for students who have moderate income which is not enough to study in the US or the UK but quite sufficient to live and study in one of the Kazakhstan’s major cities.
There are several reasons why Kazakhstan might be a successful educational destination.
First, the new educational reform tells us that by 2020 natural sciences and technical subjects will be taught in English. But one might doubt the quality of this reform as we know from history that there is a chance to implement new reforms only formally. But if we think about Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools and Bilim-innovation lyceum (former Kazakh-Turkish lyceum) which have branches in every region and other schools special schools where education goes through English, we can be quite optimistic about the quality of the reform. Moreover, it is easy to notice that there are more and more people who can speak English fluently. This also good indicator of Kazakhstan’s readiness to be a regional educational hub.
Second, besides English and high education, students from abroad can learn here another world language – Russian. Even though Kazakh – is the official language, the former is still widely used among people, especially in cities. It goes without saying that living cost in Kazakhstan is much cheaper than that of in Russia. That is why even if the initial goal of the foreign student is to learn Russian, Kazakhstan is still a good option.
Third, as we mentioned before, the living cost and tuition fees are very affordable. For example, according to the advertisements on the popular websites, it is possible to rent in any city of Kazakhstan a comfortable apartment for less than $300 monthly.
Certainly, it is not easy to compete with the world-class universities. But if we do our best, our chances to become the regional epicenter of quality education is very high.
M.S student of Journalism and Political Science School,
L.N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University