Eastern European University Association

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6 October 2014


Nowadays it seems like all governments are trying to implement international programs allowing their students to study abroad, in the best and most prestigious universities of the world. Such programs are usually aimed at sharing knowledge and experience, thereby training highly qualified professionals who would come back home and  contribute to the development of the sending country. CIS countries are no exception here.

We would like to give you some brief information about Bolashak International Scholarship - a scholarship program established on November 5, 1993 by the Decree of President of the Republic of Kazakhstan N. A. Nazarbayev.


The word "Bolashak" means “the future” in Kazakh language, and indeed the name justifies itself as the program has already allowed hundreds of Kazakhstan’s brightest students to study abroad at some of the best universities in the world. Students may study both at Bachelor and Master level but are obliged to return home upon graduation and work in government service for a period of five years.

The scholarship covers all tuition, insurance and accommodation costs, as well as living expenses and travel costs.


Over the course of  the last years, Bolashak scholarship has undergone several significant transformations which are described below.


At the dawn of independence, the Republic of Kazakhstan needed highly- qualified professionals capable to conduct further reforms and worthily represent the country at the international arena. For the first time in history of the post-Soviet countries, talented youth of Kazakhstan got a chance to obtain education abroad. Bolashak Scholarship turned into some kind of guarantor of successful career growth and professional self-realization of its graduates. Year by year the Program had been gaining pace and was adapted to the implementation of state objectives. Year 1997 is one of milestones in the country`s development. The Head of State presented 2030 KazakhstanDevelopment Strategy. For ensuring effective implementation of the goals and objectives of the Strategy, amendments have been brought to the Bolashak Program too. There was developed the Regulation on the procedures of application and selection of candidates approved by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan as of March 3,1997 No.3375. The Regulation touched upon also the issue of employment of graduates in the governmental structures and domestic organizations upon completion of the entire course of study.

Another important issue that required resolution was the disproportion in the areas of study.In 1994–1997 Bolashak Scholarship was granted primarily to the graduates of Kazakhstani universities holding degrees in economics related fields and in humanities. The number of graduates of technical faculties among the Scholarship holders was quite small. This is linked to that the volume of foreign language courses in technical and engineering programmes was much lower compared with economics related majors and humanities.

In the first years of implementation of the Program the scholars studied in four countries only — the U.S.A., Great Britain, Germany and France. Later geography of the countries of study was expanded due to development of cooperation with foreign universities as well as introduction of amendments to the Rules of Applicants Selection as per which the candidates were chosen among from those studying abroad on aself-paid basis.

Since 2000, in compliance with the Presidential Decree as of October 12, 2000 No.470 «On Approval of the Rules of Applicants Selection and Bolashak International Scholarship Award» the applicants with technical and engineering degrees were permitted to partake in the competition for the Bolashak Scholarship award without regard to foreign language proficiency requirement.

In 2005 President N. Nazarbayev in his annual State-of-the-Nation-Address announced the importance of sending annually 3,000 young talented Kazakhstanis abroad for studying at the leading higher education institutions of the world. The necessity of increasing the number of scholars was explained by the mood of the times. Within the formed market conditions, the state chose the development path that was based on the model of competitive economy and sustainable growth in Kazakhstan`s priority areas with constantly increasing need in the specialists in the following sectors: industrial innovative development, education and science, management, marketing, logistics, new information technologies, housing and utilities etc.

The JSC «Center for International Programs» was established by the Governmental Resolution No.301 as of April 4,2005 to implement the objectives. Year by yearthe number of the Scholarship holders and alumni is increasing. Since 2008 scientific and pedagogical specialists of the country have been provided an opportunity to undertake research fellowships abroad. There have been allocated quotas for rural youth, public servants, research and teaching staff.

The List of the leading higher education institutions, scientific centers and laboratories recommended for study and taking fellowships by the Bolashak fellows has been gradually reduced in order to improve the quality of education obtained under the Bolashak Program. Today this List includes the best universities holding top positions in the world rankings. In 2011 the training of students under bachelor`s degree programs was stopped. A program-target method was introduced (conclusion of trilateral agreements among employer, scholar and the JSC «Center for International Programs»). During the period from 1993 through 2013 Bolashak International Scholarship has been awarded to 10,346 Kazakhstanis for studying at the top 200 universities of 33 countries of the world.

THE SOURCE: http://www.bolashak.gov.kz/index.php/en/o-stipendii/istoriya-razvitiya

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