Education in Kazakhstan

Following independence from the Soviet Union, a major economic depression cut "public financing" for education in Kazakhstan, "which dropped from 6% of gross domestic product in 1991 to about 3% in 1994, before rising to 4% in 1999." Elementary- and secondary-school teachers remain badly underpaid; in 1993 more than 30,000 teachers (or about one-seventh of the 1990 teaching staff) left education, many of them to seek more lucrative employment.
In 1994 Kazakhstan had 8,575 elementary and secondary schools (grades one through eleven) attended by approximately 3.2 million students, and 244 specialized secondary schools with about 222,000 students. In 1992 about 51 percent of eligible children were attending some 8,500 preschools in Kazakhstan. In 1994 some 272,100 students were enrolled in the republic's sixty-one institutes of higher learning. Fifty-four percent of the students were Kazakh, and 31 percent were Russian.

Kazakhstan's 1995 constitution provides mandatory, socialized secondary school education. Citizens compete for socialized institutions of higher learning. Private education is increasing in the country, with about 5% of students enrolled in the private schools that remain largely under arbitrary state control.

In 2000, the Government of Kazakhstan joined the governments of the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan, and the Aga Khan to establish the world's first internationally chartered institution of higher education, the University of Central Asia (UCA). The UCA will have three campuses of equal size and stature in each of the founding countries. The Kazakh campus is under construction in Tekeli in the Zhetysu region, 35 minutes east of the regional capital Taldykorgan, and three hours by car from Almaty. The UCA will benefit from the resources of the Aga Khan Development Network to offer an internationally recognized standard of higher education in Central Asia. Currently, the University operates a School of Professional and Continuing Education (SPCE), with a School of Undergraduate Studies and a Graduate School of Development in the process of being established.

In 2002 Asian Development Bank provided technical assistance to Kazakhstan to identify key issues and priorities in the education sector and to contribute to strengthening the government's education sector development strategy. The United States provided 137 Peace Corps members to "work in education and NGO development" in 2004.
Kazakhstan has a 99.1% literacy rate for males and 97.7% for females as of 1999.

When United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Kazakhstan from 12-13 October 2006, she said "The future of any state depends on its level of education. This is my fourth visit to Kazakhstan, I have already been to Atyrau and Almaty and I have been able to see for myself the high level of education of your nation, which is a key to success of any country."

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