PROFIT Education Day 2023: Kazakhstan is moving into EdTech by leaps and bounds

A conference dedicated to the digitalization of education was held in Almaty, which showed how ready domestic universities are for digital life.

On October 20, the 5th PROFIT Education Day 2023 conference took place in Almaty . Being an annual event, the event was not held for four years, and, as it turned out, over the intervening time, Kazakhstani education and its development on digital tracks have shown good results.

Sayasat Nurbek, Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Republic of Kazakhstan, gave an overview of the situation in the domestic segment of education and the processes of its transformation. He talked about what measures the relevant department is taking to ensure that students receive the maximum of up-to-date knowledge and can effectively join the labor market, having not a set of formal qualifications, but truly necessary competencies.

“More and more, technological trends are beginning to influence even such a conservative industry as education and, in particular, higher education. We are forced to respond faster and more deeply to these challenges. One of the big megatrends that puts pressure on the labor market is digitalization . It greatly influences all industries and, accordingly, we will also need to seriously reconsider approaches to personnel training, including IT specialists.”

The Minister listed in more detail the trends that are observed today throughout the Central Asian region:

- the education system is not ready for a hybrid format - this has been shown by the experience of Covid-19
- the knowledge assessment and certification system does not reflect the real professional qualifications of people
- data on the education system and labor market is not accumulated and analyzed
- teachers are the bottleneck of the education system.

Sayasat Nurbek presented the concept for the development of higher education and science in the Republic of Kazakhstan, which is being implemented in 2023–2029. It includes 19 target indicators, 3 directions and involves 124 activities as part of this work. Among the interesting points of the strategy, one can note the emphasis on the development of infrastructure and digital architecture of higher education (this will include projects of digital universities and providing access to global digital libraries), accessibility of higher and postgraduate education, as well as the development of a system of lifelong education and the introduction of the concept of “lifelong learning.” life" (including expanding the range of short-term courses, attracting Coursera for campus to Kazakhstan and implementing interdisciplinary programs with IT). In general, it is planned to introduce a unified information system for higher education.

“We want our universities to gradually become Long Learning centers. Lifelong learning is a big deal nowadays. We want to provide good opportunities for non-formal education to our students, so that through certificates they can compensate for those skills and knowledge that the main course does not provide,” the minister noted.

By the way, 654 courses of the Coursera program are planned to be translated into Kazakh. Already, 20 thousand Kazakh students have access to this resource. A national ranking of universities based on data will also be developed and digital analytical dashboards will be created. Together with Google, a pilot project has begun to introduce a course on artificial intelligence. 750 licenses have already been received for 14 universities and, if the project shows good results, this course will become mandatory starting next year. Last year, an agreement was signed with Huawei to open 50 digital laboratories in universities; 36 of them have already been opened.

As for the digital ecosystem, this is a separate large project within which several tasks will be implemented. Among them are data exchange through the integration of the platform with all LMS of universities, including through APIs with state IS and databases, the formation of a digital profile of a student and Student Life Track, digital tools of INHE, documents of strict reporting forms, statistical data, services for the provision of government digital university services, data management providing comprehensive access in real time for Data Driven solutions, predictive analytics, visualization through dashboards, services for Edtech, secure connection of private sector digital solutions. Two pilot universities are participating in the development of the digital university model: KazNRTU and VKTU.

View a photo report from the PROFIT Education Day 2023 conference.

Video recording of the conference

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