By the end of this year, the Yessenov Foundation will fulfill its obligations to the winners of the last year’s research internships program by sending them abroad. And “on November 8, the charitable institution will begin accepting applications for a new competition. Its winners will go to the best laboratories in the world in the summer of 2022”, the executive director of the foundation Aiganym Malisheva said. What else can the talented youth of the country — potential beneficiaries of the organization — expect?
The pandemic has made serious adjustments to the plans of people around the globe. Charitable organizations have also experienced that crisis impact, especially those that are associated with sending Kazakhstanis to study abroad.
— We have learned to live in a pandemic, flexibility is a quality that is useful not only for people, but also for organizations. And today I am glad to announce that we have big plans for the end of this and next year in order to restore our activities to the previous volumes, the top manager of the Yessenov Foundation said.
What has been the biggest problem over the past two years?
— Sending the winners of the programs abroad. The few who managed to leave for the destination country before the lockdown was announced there were more lucky. The guys could study, even with all the restrictions and often online. But most had to wait a year. The founder of the foundation, Galimzhan Yessenov, decided to extend the validity of grants under the programs of research internships and IT internships won in 2020 until the end of this year. And it seems that almost all the winners will use their grants. As of today, 11 out of 14 people have either already passed, or are passing, or are going for an internship very soon — grants of the last category have already been paid, invitations have been received and visas have been obtained. Two winners left the program for the reason that they entered other foreign universities during the year, and one student is now waiting for invitations from several world universities at once.
What is the situation with the winners of the IT internships in the USA program?
— We managed to send only one winner out of five. Two guys left the program because their personal circumstances changed during the year and they found a job that does not allow them to leave the country for six months. Two more guys did not manage to find internship placement, because the type of visa required to work in the United States demands a lot of responsibility from startups, and the process of obtaining a visa is time-consuming and quite long. When the whole world is quietly working remotely, many startups simply did not consider it practical to host an intern from Kazakhstan for half a year.
What competitions will start in the foundation in the next few months?
— On November 8, we will start accepting applications for the research internships, there will be 10 winners, and we plan that they will go to the laboratories in the summer of 2022. We have reduced the number of grants, because the cost of air travel has increased significantly. We will start announcing the rest of the competitions in December. In February, the acceptance of applications from regional universities to the English language program will start. It is very effective and has already been successfully held at three local universities of Kazakhstan — in Aktau, Kyzylorda and Karaganda. More than 820 students and teachers were able to improve their English level within the framework of the program, the best ones successfully passed the IELTS at the expense of the foundation. We will determine the winning university of the new competition and the classes will begin in September 2022.
Which programs from the foundation’s old portfolio will continue in 2022?
— The Yessenov Scholarship will remain, we will start accepting applications in January, there will also be the above mentioned Research Internships and the English Language Program. The IT internship program is being modernized. Next year, Kazakhstan will widely celebrate the 95th anniversary of the birth of academician Shakhmardan Yessenov, and in this regard, we are holding a series of events. For instance, the competition of scientific essays at the school of the scientist’s native village Tartogai in the Kyzylorda region.
How is the IT internship program being modernized?
— For the reasons I have already mentioned, it will be reformatted. The new name of the program is Yessenov Launch Pad. There will be 10 winners, not 5, as before. The first part of the program is a seminar. We may also allow other participants (not only the winners ) to join it. During the seminar, they will learn how to look for a job in the IT field, how to make a CV, how to successfully pass an job interview, and also will fill in the missing knowledge in the field. We plan to involve employees of leading international IT companies as guest speakers of the seminar. The second part is a competition for a grant for additional training. Our experts will help the winners choose courses, and the foundation will cover the expenses for 10 winners.
Please, tell us more about a new program, about the “social elevator” for young people from low-income families.
— Yes, the competition will start in the spring. We called the program “Orleu”. The word in Kazakh means to be in constant motion, to climb up and conquer new peaks, to move forward and develop. “Orleu” will help students from low-income families to pay for a year of study at the university. The program is for those who may become the first person in their family to receive a higher education. It will become a social elevator for young people whose parents are strapped for money. The new program of the foundation will allow those school graduates who have not won a state grant, have not brilliant, but very good academic performance (they definitely should not have “low grades” in their certificate), to discover themselves, to become a professionals in their chosen specialties and to move from one social group to another.
When everyone now is concerned about saving what has already been created, why do you open a new program?
— The idea came to us a couple of years ago. The pandemic postponed the experiment with its launch. But now we are ready: we have thoroughly studied our capabilities and the needs of young people, and the founders approved the competition. The point of the program is that it really becomes a social elevator up for those who were born in families with low incomes, but who have huge aspirations for knowledge. It is enough to recall both the history of Lomonosov and Yessenov, who, having a powerful motivation, themselves came to knowledge and to their success, despite the fact that they were born in small settlements in families with fairly modest incomes. I hope we will attract such guys to our competition.
The Foundation will pay for all the years of study – 4, or even 6 (in the case of medicine)?
— No, we pay only for one year of bachelor’s degree and accommodation for nonresident winners during the year. In the second year of study, the winners will either be able to win a grant from us again by submitting an application and taking part in the competition, or to independently find sources of funding for continuation of their education. We believe that our grants for one year of study will give these guys a serious boost, and the opportunity to participate in our competition for all the years of study is a good incentive.
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