Global International Conference “Transition to University Autonomy in Kazakhstan: Challenges and Perspectives” on 20-21 November 2018

The Global International Conference “Transition to University Autonomy in Kazakhstan: Challenges and Perspectives” was held on 20-21 November 2018 at Karaganda State Medical University, the aim of which was the discussion of various aspects of institutional autonomy.

The conference was held by Karaganda State Medical University, Erasmus+ National office in Kazakhstan with the support of the Ministry of Healthcare of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The conference attended over 500 people including international experts in the field of education from Belgium, Sweden, Great Britain, Italy, Finland, France, Slovenia, Lithuania and Russia, representatives of the Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Healthcare of the RK, Erasmus+ National office in Kazakhstan, members of the National Team of experts on higher education reform in Kazakhstan, leaders of educational organizations, scientists, teachers, students as well as specialists from human and financial services and academic work.

During the conference it was discussed the most relevant issues of expanding the autonomy of universities: organizational, staffing, financial, academic autonomy, policy of the university, authority of the university in academic autonomy, principles of the organization of the educational process, educational policy of the state in the higher education.

On the plenary session were presented reports of the members of the Erasmus+ project “Transition to university autonomy in Kazakhstan/TRUNAK” of Thomas Estermann, director for governance, financing and development of public policy of the European University Association and his deputy Enora Pruvot, that reflected an analysis of world experience in implementing university autonomy and the current situation in Kazakhstan on the plenary session. Omirbayev Serik, Rector of M.Kozybayev North Kazakhstan State University demonstrated the progress of implementation of institutional autonomy in Kazakhstan.

Partners of the Erasmus+ Capacity Building in the Field of Higher Education project “Transition to University Autonomy in Kazakhstan / TRUNAK” held workshops on four dimensions of autonomy: staffing, organizational, academic and financial. The moderators of the organizational autonomy workshops were Thomas Estermann, director for governance, financing and development of public policy of the European University Association and Mazhit Shaydarov, Rector of Astana Medical University. Speaker of this workshop was Tomaž Marš, Vicedean of Faculty of Medicine at University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. During this workshop were discussed flowing questions: work of the university in terms of organizational autonomy, principles of distribution of powers, work in the conditions of organizational autonomy, the principles of the distribution of powers between the highest authorities and bodies of the operational and executive level.

On the same day workshop on staffing autonomy moderated Enora Pruvot deputy director for governance, financing and development of public policy of the European University Association. The speakers were Jerneja Čelofiga, Head of the International Office at University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, Marina Pogrebitskaya, Director of the Department of Strategy, Quality and Internationalization at M.Kozybayev North Kazakhstan State University, Gaziza Smagulova, and Vice-Rector for Scientific and Clinical Work of West Kazakhstan M. Ospanov State Medical University. On this workshop were discussed the examples of European universities, current regulations in Kazakhstan, problems and recruitment of personal and academic staff.

On the second day Serik Omirbayev, Rector of M.Kozybayev North Kazakhstan State University and Vaiva Hendriksson, Provost at Karaganda State Medical University, Professor of Vilnius University, Lithuania were moderators for academic autonomy. Workshop speakers: Marek Milosz, Vice Dean of Electrical and Computer Science Faculty, Deputy Director of the Institute of Informatics at Lublin University of Technology, Poland and David Taylor, Director of the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilizations at Aga Khan University, United Kingdom. The main points of discussion were selection of undergraduate and postgraduate students, rules for creation of study programs, design, quality assurance, management of educational processes.

In parallel with academic autonomy was financial autonomy with following moderators: Kamshat Tussupova from Division of Water Resources Engineering at Lund University, Sweden and Aliya Abdikarimova – Head of the Department of Economics and Entrepreneurship at Karaganda Economic University of Kazpotrebsouz. Key speakers: Ronny Berndtsson, Professor of Division of Water Resources Engineering at Lund University, Sweden, Francesco Maddalena, Head of Management and Control – Hygiene section at Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Italy, Veli-Matti Tolppi – Expert in administration and financing of HEI at Savonia University of Applied Sciences, Finland and Stephen Lyon, Head of Educational Programmes and Development Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations at Aga Khan University, United Kingdom.

In the workshops participated all TRUNAK partners and guests of the conference. At the end of the workshop, all participants received certificates for participation.

At the end of the conference, a panel discussion was held, at which European and Kazakh universities in consolidation with the Ministries exchanged views on the progress of reforms in higher education and developed recommendations on further improving of the process of expanding university autonomy in Kazakhstan.