Kazakhstan has a plan. By 2050 it aims to be in the top 30 most globally competitive economies in the World Economic Forum’s league table (it currently sits 50th.) It sees its higher education sector playing a crucial role in achieving this goal and has developed a roadmap to achieve the necessary reforms. The Leadership Foundation was chosen against international competition to develop a range of leadership programmes to support these plans. This also allowed us to bring opportunities for partnership to UK HEIs.
The work began with the design and delivery of a four-week programme for 60 senior university leaders to support the roadmap. Participants had submitted written assignments and undergone selection interviews before being offered a place. After two weeks at Nazarbayev University in Astana, half went to the University of Berkeley, California and half to the National University, Singapore to gather evidence of different systems before a final week in Astana to synthesise their learning and make presentations on the reforms needed in autonomy and accountability, governance, strategic planning and academic administration. Leadership came from the top with the Minister of Education speaking at the start of the programme and personally presenting the completion certificates.
The participants had devised strategic action plans for their universities. Their progress, successes and any issues will be subject to an impact assessment in February, to be conducted by the Research Department of the Graduate School of Education, Nazarbayev University in association with the Leadership Foundation. This will also identify future leadership development needs.
While it’s a significant start, leadership development for rectors and senior leaders will not alone achieve the desired outcomes. We therefore also designed a programme for members of newly established trustees and advisory boards (effectively embryo governing bodies). The week-long programme was split between Astana and London, where leading UK specialists in aspects of governance facilitated learning. Participants included members of Kazakhstan’s Parliament and senior industrialists.
Two further two-week programmes for senior officials of the Ministry of Education took place in London. These included visits to the Department for Education and other education bodies, and specialist speakers on key aspects of autonomous education systems. Back in Kazakhstan, sub-groups of the programme made presentations to the Ministry’s staff on key themes and learning points for implementation in Kazakhstan. It is understood that their recommendations are being considered for inclusion in the state plan. Finally, a pilot programme was delivered for vice-rectors in Astana and London.
The benefits for our members include opportunities to meet participants and invitations to working dinners. Over 30 UK institutions were represented by 45 people and the outcome has been mutual invitations to partner in a range of activities, including further professional development.
If you would like your institution to become involved, please contact the Director of International Projects, David Lock at email@example.com.
M: 07900 056707
David is the former Director of International Projects at the Leadership Foundation and developed the international work of the Leadership Foundation in the UK and overseas for the benefit of our members and clients in line with initiatives of the UK government and international donor bodies. As an associate he directs major programmes and chairs national and international events. Prior to joining the Leadership Foundation David was the founding registrar and acting chief executive of the British University in Dubai. He has also been registrar and secretary of the University of Hull, secretary of the University of Huddersfield and a teacher.