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Archive for the ‘Education’


Chevron-Sponsored Audiobook Application Brings Kazakh Literature to Smartphones and Tablets 0

Posted on April 02, 2016 by KazCham

Astana Times

Chevron and Wikibilim Public Foundation presented its Audiokitap (which translates as Audiobook) mobile application at the Nazarbayev Intellectual School in Almaty recently. The application, unique for Kazakhstan, provides a convenient access to an online library of Kazakh language audiobooks.

Zhanbolat Ussenov, who represented Chevron at the ceremony, said: “This innovative and technologically advanced project was sponsored by the company to handle multiple tasks, including preservation of Kazakhstan’s cultural heritage, promotion of Kazakh language and introduction of modern information technologies to make literature and book-reading more popular with the younger generation.”

Alibek Kisybai, President of Wikibilim Foundation, added: “In the digital age, content adaptation to mobile technologies is of paramount importance. Kazakhstan is actively developing a culture of gaining knowledge through audio media. Audiokitap is a contribution to bridging the digital divide. Initiatives, like ours, will support the further development of Kazakhstan’s cultural and educational environment.”

So far, Audiokitap’s ever-growing online library provides access to almost 2,000 audiobooks, including academic publications, fiction and foreign books translated into Kazakh. The audiobooks are split into four categories: national literature, foreign literature, kid’s literature and fairy tales.

More and more Kazakhs give preference to audio means of learning and exploring the world. Available through App Store and Play Market, the Audiokitap application has been downloaded 3,500 times in the very short time span since its launch. The organisers expect this number to grow over 10,000 listeners soon.

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Nazarbayev University Library joined the Research Methods Library of Alexandria 0

Posted on March 02, 2016 by KazCham

Research Methods Supercourse

Advancement in academia typically depends upon Scientific publishing. The more you publish, the better the first job, the higher the raise, and the faster the promotion. Sadly only 3% of publications come from developing countries, despite the fact that 27% of the scientists live in developing countries and 80% of the population.

In many countries bright young people want to do research and publish, have to publish, but they do not. A primary reason for this is Stataphobia which is the fear of research design and statistics, and not having access to people who can help. Eighty percent of all rejected articles are due to poor research methods.

Bibliotheca Alexandrina (Library of Alexandria) is pleased to offer the Research Methods Library of Alexandria. This is one of the largest and comprehensive collections of research methods. It represents a one stop Library to answer your research methods question.

The Nazarbayev University Library in Kazakhstan recently joined the Research Methods Library of Alexandria. See the data collection of the world’s libraries here.

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Meet Erlan Sagadiev, a new Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan 0

Posted on February 18, 2016 by KazCham

Erlan Sagadiev is a new Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

In 2013 he was presenting speech at TEDxAlmaty, offering a new approach in education in Kazakhstan.

He offers to teach kids in three languages that are Kazakh, Russian and English. He knows Kazakh language. He’s been educated in Russian. He also has a Master’s from the US University in Minnesota. His approach based on the experience of the Scandinavian countries.

The video of his presentation is available in Russian.

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Kazakhstan’s Ethno-Pop Music Hopes to Spread Around the World 0

Posted on December 15, 2015 by KazCham

EdgeKz

The world today presents a wide range of music genres for people of all tastes. Whether electronic or heavy metal, sounds of any kind are available for everyone. Some of Kazakhstan’s outstanding musicians try to preserve traditional sounds and give them a modern twist.

This year, Almaty hosted The Spirit of Tengri festival for the third time. The event attracted ethno musicians from Kazakhstan, China, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Norway, Russia and Turkey.

The Spirit of Tengri is organized to unite the efforts of the current generation to preserve the spiritual riches of its ancestors, according to the festival’s website. Participants are successors of the traditions rooted deeply in the history of thousands of years of the Great Steppe.

Three groups, Tigrahaud, Arkaiym and Aldaspan, shared their stories and their experience at the festival with “EdgeKz.”

Tigrahaud, created two years ago, was the brainchild of Daniyar Zhakiyanov, who is also its manager.

“I have been dreaming about such a project for a long time and later when I was forming a group there were very tough requirements for the musicians. First, the professional level had to be high, as well as the performing skills, and the key point for me was the versatility, meaning that in addition to the main instrument, the musician had to play another folk instrument,” he said.

Zhakiyanov’s idea was to show audiences as many folk instruments as possible with a small band. From the beginning, Tigrahaud has aimed at drawing Kazakh and international audiences and promoting national folk music to the world.

The group is named for one of the Saka tribes that lived in the area of the modern Almaty region and the tribe that created the famous Golden Man unearthed from the Issyk burial mound. The moniker fits, as the group lives in Taldykorgan, where Tigrahaud formerly resided.

This year the band participated in the Spirit of Tengri for the first time. The group has grand plans. It wants to show the world who the Kazakhs are, their extraordinarily-beautiful, sometimes cruel history and how a small nation had to defend the land from barbarians – all through its music.

Watch the Music video here

Find more compositions here

Arkaiym, a duo created in April 2014, is another bright representative of Kazakh ethno-folk music. Members Abzal Arykbayev and Anara Kassymova, who also perform with the famous ethno-folk groups Turan and Art-Dala, developed a new direction which they call neo-ethno-folk. The genre is a completely different direction in music, embodying the synthesis of diverse musical styles. The basic idea behind the duo’s creation was the desire to recreate the sound of old, archaic instruments in an entirely new interpretation.

The artists play more than 30 types of folk musical instruments, both Kazakh and world types, including winds of Native North Americans, didgeridoo (shamanic musical instrument of the Australian Aborigines), darbuka (Turkish national musical instrument) and Kyrgyz instruments.

As any musician or band, Arkaiym wants world fame – not their own fame, but fame and recognition of Kazakh folk instruments.

“Because we have a priceless treasure, which unfortunately is sometimes unnoticed by us,” the duo explained.

Working at the Museum of Musical Instruments, the performers have a chance to draw visitors closer to the country’s musical heritage through training, workshops and exhibitions. They released their first album, “Arkaiym,” with the help of The Foundation of the First President of Kazakhstan through which they won a grant for creative development, and are looking forward to the release of their first video.

Watch the Music video here

Aldaspan, created by Nurzhan Toishy, is famous among ethno music lovers for its electric dombra sound. Toishy fell in love with heavy metal as a kid. Listening to riffs by James Hetfield, Kerry King, Max Cavalera and others, he realised their emotional sound was very similar to the riffs and chords used in Kazakh kuis. Toishy played the dombra in high school; after graduation, he and Murat Kubekov, a piano-tuner and dombra maker for the Kazakh State Conservatory, created three experimental electro dombras. He continued to tinker with the design, wanting to show to the world the possibilities of the instrument, and chose heavy metal as his style, opting to leave dombra playing to others and becoming a drummer, soloist and front man.

Aldaspan is a heavy kind of sabre used against armored soldiers and cavalry. The group identifies with war, courage, bravery and fighting; real men’s stuff, the backbone of Turkic folk songs. Kazakh people formed the basis of Genghis Khan’s army and for them, war was their main profession after farming.

Combining heavy metal with Kazakh national instruments makes the sound fresh and unusual.

Watch the Music video here

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Kazakhstan’s New NGO Law: Facts and Speculation 0

Posted on December 02, 2015 by KazCham

Kazakhstan’s New NGO Law: Facts and Speculation, by Usen Suleimen, Ambassador-at-large of Kazakhstan.

The Diplomat

The growth and strength of civil society in Kazakhstan is one of the clearest symbols of the country’s progress since independence. There are now, according to government figures, well over 30,000 independent civil society groups, which work across a diverse range of issues from providing social and community help to promoting human rights and championing environmental causes.

This growth has been actively encouraged by the government as a vital part of continuing to build a modern, progressive and democratic country. State funding has been provided to support the development of civil society groups and to help them take over increasing roles in the country. Government bodies seek their advice and involvement, locally and nationally, to help improve policy.

With this increasing role, of course, comes increased responsibility and accountability to demonstrate that government money is being used wisely as well as to ensure grants are being given fairly. This becomes even more vital as the Kazakh government continues its drive to devolve more decision-making to local level and to non-state bodies. In recent years, however, there have been examples where NGOs have spent public funds well outside what was intended.

It is against this background that the present piecemeal laws that govern NGOs in Kazakhstan are being streamlined and modernized. This will usher in a new level of transparency into the way government grants are distributed – through the creation of a new non-government body to oversee it – but will also require civil society organizations as well to make public information about their own financing and where and how the money is spent.

This requirement has raised concerns both within Kazakhstan and abroad. Fears have been raised that the intention is to muzzle the work of the NGOs within our country or to prevent them continue to receive support from international bodies or partners. This is simply not the case.

The new law does not change the legal framework for NGOs, increase their requirements to register officially, change their tax-free status or allow the government to interfere in their work. It will continue to be NGOs themselves, which decide how their money should be spent.

The role of the new body to oversee the distribution of central grants – which will be made up of a mix of government officials and representatives from civil society – will be limited. It is not intended to monitor NGOs but instead advise government where its grants should be distributed and make public where government money goes. By bringing this into the open, it will increase public confidence and tackle concerns about favoritism. It can also act as a clearing house for wider donations.

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The USGS: the use of Land Remote Sensing Technology in Kazakhstan 0

Posted on October 25, 2015 by KazCham

Kazinform

A workshop on water resource management and the use of Land Remote Sensing (LRS) data held in Astana. The workshop was organized by the U.S. Geological Survey, UNESCO Office for Central Asia, International Science and Technology Centre (ISTC), USAID along with the JSC «NC «Kazakhstan Gharysh Sapary».

The workshop gathered experts and officials from Kazakhstan as well as guests from Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

The workshop was aimed at training experts of Kazakhstan and Central Asia of methods of interpretation of LRS data and learning new technologies for water resources management.

The training was conducted on the example of Kazakhstan LRS satellites KazEOSat-1 and KazEOSat-2, which conduct monitoring of the Earth’s surface.

Head of processing group of the LRS Center of the «Kazakhstan Gharysh Sapary» Mr. Rakhimzhanov mentioned that USGS experts have provided to the Kazakh partners software for modeling flood situations.

In turn, Dr. Amer Saud, USGS expert, underscored that capability of the Kazakh LRS system enable to effectively cooperate on the use of LRS data.

Dr. Saud also talked at the Gumilyov Eurasian National University and Nazarbayev University on the use of space technology for monitoring water resources.

As a result of the workshop, experts of the «Kazakhstan Gharysh Sapary» and USGS expressed the need to establish in Kazakhstan and Central Asia a regional center for sustainable development of projects based on the use remote sensing LRS data.

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Scholarship Program for Afghan Students: Successful Contribution to Development and Peace 0

Posted on February 15, 2015 by KazCham

Astana Times

Kazakhstan’s $50 million scholarship programme for Afghan students is now almost five years old and, with 827 students having enrolled, nearing its final goal of educating 1,000 Afghan students in Kazakhstan’s educational institutions.

Since the programme began in 2010, when the first 158 students landed in Kazakhstan on Sept. 28, only four students have dropped out, Gulshara Tastemirova, senior coordinator working with Afghan students at Al-Farabi National University, told The Astana Times in a November interview. She considers the programme a great success so far.

In 2014, the first graduates – 15 from graduate programmes and 20 from bachelor’s or certificate programmes – returned to Afghanistan. “There was a big event [for their graduation] in the Ibn-e-Sina University in Kabul last August. Our graduates are proud of having earned their degrees from the universities of Kazakhstan.” Tastemirova said.

Tastemirova says she keeps in touch with the scholarship students she works with. “I do keep in touch with them. They send e-mails and call. Sometimes they ask for advice,” she said. Students at post-secondary schools – the equivalent of American community colleges – often want to stay and do second degrees, she said, though the terms of the scholarship programme means the Kazakh government can’t finance them.

The scholarship students receive stipends in addition to accommodation and tuition. “The students don’t pay tuition and accommodation in dormitories. “We receive twice the stipend of local students,” Ahmad Wali Ahmad Yar, a scholarship student who began his language studies in 2010, told The Astana Times in February.

Ahmad Yar works as a volunteer in the Ariana Social Centre, a nonprofit organisation working for social support and upliftment of the Afghan diaspora in Kazakhstan, he said. He also helps out as an interpreter for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee’s office.

Ahmad Yar began his journey to Kazakhstan after finishing high school in Kabul, when he was among 20,000 students out of 100,000 who were granted the opportunity to go on to receive higher education in government institutes and universities, he said. “I was among those who successfully passed the exam for higher education in one of the best state universities. Soon after entering university, we were informed about Kazakhstan scholarships by university officials.”

In 2010, he said, there were 3,000 candidates and 154 were given scholarships, mostly for medical studies, civil engineering, computer science, agriculture and journalism. “I was the only student in the field of international relations,” he said. Most Afghan students in Kazakhstan have chosen to study scientific majors, especially engineering and medicine. Law is also popular, Tastemirova said.

“From childhood, I was interested in politics and international relations: that is why I chose this particular speciality. It is challenging but very interesting for me,” said Ahmad Yar. “Since my schooldays, I’ve been thinking on how I can help in building a new Afghanistan, which will have good relations with its neighbours and will become the main bridge and transport hub between Central and South Asian countries.”

Before beginning their studies, Afghan students also get language training at Al-Farabi Kazakh National University in Almaty. “It was decided that they will study in the Kazakh language since it is a government scholarship,” Tastemirova said. With the help of another Afghan student, they have created a Kazakh-Russian-Pashtun conversation book, she noted.

“A student who studies in Kazakh will understand our people’s mentality better,” Tastemirova explained. “For example, he or she will learn Kazakh culture, traditions, et cetera.” Undergraduate scholarship students learn Russian and Kazakh, and from their second semester begin studies in the history of Kazakhstan, mathematics and other subjects depending on their majors, she said. Those who pursue a graduate degree study in Russian.

It can take some time to get up to speed on the new languages, Ahmad Yar admitted. “I mostly concentrated on Kazakh because it was the official language of Kazakhstan and we were studying in a government programme,” he said. “In June 2011, when I finished language preparation course … I was fluent in Kazakh but not in a university level. In the first year I faced slight language problems; then everything became normal in the second year.”

The scholarship students are ethnically diverse, but women are still not well represented among them. Their numbers have grown somewhat, however, Tastemirova said. “The number is growing every year. For example, in 2010 at the Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, 77 students were enrolled in foundation programme and all of them were males. In 2011 there was one woman, in 2012 one woman, in 2013 seven women and in 2014 nine women already. I raised this particular issue over my last visit to Afghanistan,” she said.

Among the scholarship students are ethnic Pashtuns, Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazaras, as well as a few ethnic Turkmen and one or two ethnic Kazakhs from Afghanistan, Tastemirova said.

Ahmad Yar says he’s never faced discrimination as a foreigner in Kazakhstan. “In the first year of the preparation course, we were studying and living with students from different countries and backgrounds, but then in the first year of university, I was the only foreign student studying in the Kazakh group in my faculty,” he explained. “I was worried that I may face problems, but my group mates and the behaviour of our teachers were very friendly, and they became the reason for me to go ahead.”

He has enjoyed being able to tell curious classmates about his country, Ahmad Yar said. “Usually, students and friends were asking me about the situation in Afghanistan because most of them had very negative ideas about Afghanistan. I tried to show them the reality about Afghanistan through presentations, participation in conferences and publishing articles.” The scholarship student says he has participated in conferences held by the UN and USAID and the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan, as well as other nongovernmental organisations and universities.

Ahmad Yar says he plans to continue his education and do a master’s degree in world economics, political science or international relations. “Afghanistan is rising. After four decades of war and instability, it needs educated and well-trained people to work and it is for us to prepare ourselves as the best educated alternative for the wider society, instead of the uneducated warlords who once again want to turn Afghanistan into their personal fiefdom,” he notes.

The student says he wants to contribute to Afghanistan through institutional reform, democratic principles and the elimination of bureaucracy, which he says will lead to stability and autonomy.

He can also envision returning to Kazakhstan and says he is grateful to the government and the people of the country for the scholarship. “During the last years of study, I have gotten significant knowledge about Kazakhstan and Central Asia. I am quite sure that I can contribute toward straightening relations between Afghanistan and Central Asia … I will never forget Kazakhstan, and it will remain as my second home in my heart,” Ahmad Yar said.

Kazakh officials have said that the possibility of extending the programme is being considered.

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Kazakhstan’s film industry thrives 0

Posted on January 25, 2015 by KazCham

The Astana Times

Kazakhstan is utilizing its thriving film industry to define its own image on the international stage. The Almaty-based Kazakhfilm company has brought the work of young actors and directors to international audiences through the means of numerous scholarships and grants. Already it has created some of Kazakhstan’s biggest critical and commercial hits including the award-winning films “Harmony Lessons” (2013), “Shal” (2012) and “Myn Bala” (2011).

According to Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Culture and Sport , the company collaborates with various institutions like Zhurgenov National University of the Arts, the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography in Moscow, the New York Film Academy and the St. Petersburg State University of Film and Television, in order to train budding film makers and actors in all technical and creative aspects of the art.

“National film production” is a part of the  national budget, and young filmmakers who fare well in the international film festival circuit are often given support from Kazakhfilm to create their next project “if there is a script on a socially significant theme.”

Kazakhstan’s film industry launched prominently in 1942 – 1944, when Soviet filmmakers Vsevolod Pudovkin, Dziga Vertov and SergeiEisenstein were evacuated to Almaty during the Second World War. Kazakh films were influenced by the Russian style and developed gradually into an intense landscape.

Kazakhfilm began its life as Alma-Ata Film Studios in 1941 before being renamed in 1961. After the country’s independence, the industry struggled, much like the rest of the nation. Yet in 2005 it began a renaissance, with the big-budget Nomad, saw over $37 million being invested in technology and people. This led to a string of socially profound and engaging movies.

In 2010, Kazakhfilm produced the country’s highest-grossing domestic film, “Tale of the Pink Bunny.” Between 2008 and 2010, the share of domestic films increased from 3 percent to 7 percent in Kazakhstan. With rising volume and talent, investment in infrastructure and robust distribution channels, the Kazakh film industry is now emerging as a promising sector of the Kazakh economy, as well as an instrument for international prestige.

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Kazakhstan Contributes to Ebola Response Multi-Partner Trust Fund 0

Posted on November 08, 2014 by KazCham

Kazakh Foreign Ministry

As a responsible member of the world community, the Government of Kazakhstan has joined the international efforts to combat Ebola. To that end, it made a voluntary contribution to Ebola Response of Multi-Partner Trust Fund.

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Representatives from Maine high schools and colleges to visit Kazakhstan to invite students into U.S. 0

Posted on August 27, 2014 by KazCham

Portland Press Herald

Representatives of six high schools and colleges in Maine will travel in September to Kazakhstan to invite international students to study in Maine, under a program run by the Maine International Trade Center. They will meet agents, schools and government officials during their trip.

Currently, more than 37,000 Kazakhstani students study abroad and a large number of students are looking to study in the U.S.

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