On July 14, the Yessenov Foundation will finish accepting applications for the socially-oriented program “Órleý” (“Orleu”). Its winners – low–income Kazakhstanis – will win a grant for a one-year bachelor’s degree at any university in Kazakhstan. This year the program will be held for the second time. What is the difference between the rules for accepting applications to it this year, and what is the fate of the winners of last year? The questions will be answered by the executive director of the foundation Aiganym Malisheva.
Could you tell us how the four winners of last year’s program study?
One of the winners, Leyla Alimkulova, returned the grant to the foundation, because she received another grant covering all 4 years of her bachelor’s degree from the public foundation “Kazakhstan Khalkyna”. But in the history of our foundation, she will remain the winner of the program. The other three winners have passed the first session in their lives and are finishing the academic year. Of course, not all subjects were given to them equally well: there is a GPA above 3 points, there are also below. But they do their best.
Do you know about their plans to resolve the issue of payment for the second year of bachelor’s degree, since the foundation grant covers only the first year of study?
We can say for sure that Anuarbek Ashykbayev will apply for the “Orleý” program. He told us about it himself. Anuar harmoniously joined the team of the winners of the foundation’s programs, participated in our events and meetings with the winners of other programs. As an ambitious person, he plans to participate in our competition of Research Internships. Okas Kymbat, most likely, will also apply for a grant from the foundation within the framework of the program. Let me remind you that we have decided that the guys who have already become winners also have the right to apply for a grant on a competitive basis in order to cover subsequent years of study.
Who is eligible to apply for the “Orleý” program?
The Yessenov Foundation holds this competition for applicants from low-income families who have not received a grant to pay for higher education (bachelor’s degree). A graduate of a school, an orphanage, a youth home, a college who plans to study at a Kazakh university to obtain a specialty in natural science, technical sciences and pedagogics (only in natural sciences) can become a participant of the program. Applications from young people with special needs are also accepted.
What is the provision of this year’s program different from last year?
We are holding the competition only for the second year, but some lessons of the first year led to small changes in the provision. For the first time this year, those who have decided to choose a pedagogical specialty will be able to participate in the competition. But with a caveat: we are talking only about teachers of natural science subjects. We have simplified the application itself a bit, removed the mandatory requirement of some documents. For example, now you do not need to attach a certificate on the composition of the family, for having many children, for child care etc. The conditions for receiving and the procedure for paying the grant were detailed so that the potential grantee would understand what the fund would expect from him/her in case of winning. We planned to allocate 10 grants.
How do people find out about your program?
We take into account the high Internet penetration in Kazakhstan, therefore we use the fund’s traditional social media accounts for announcing – Instagram, Facebook, Telegram, we are grateful for the reposts of all our partners and just caring people. But, in addition, already in April, information about the competition was sent to such organizations as the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population, akimats (local authorities) and education departments of each region and the cities of Astana, Almaty and Shymkent, specialized NGOs, colleges and universities. It is important to note that two of the four winners of the program last year found out about it on the websites of the universities they wanted to enroll in. Having made the newsletter, we made sure that the message was received, accepted for work, performers were appointed and our message would then be distributed along the chain of departments – our experience has shown that this method is the most effective in our country. Last year, we also informed about the “Orleu” the social protection authorities in each region in advance, but, unfortunately, the effectiveness of this appeal was extremely low. Of course, we are not able to reach every rural district school, but we are making every effort to make as many low-income children and their families as possible aware of the program.
Let’s recall why the foundation allocated only 4 out of the planned 10 grants last year, because the situation may repeat itself.
In the provision of each program, we indicate both the number of grants allocated under the plan and the fact that the Yessenov Foundation itself makes a decision if there is a need to change their number. Why is this happening? Because, during the competition, it may turn out that most of the participants do not meet the requirements of the regulations, have low academic performance or low motivation to get a higher education, there may be other reasons. In this case, we reduce the number of winners by pulling out those who still need to improve their knowledge or skills in any field. During the ten years of our work, there were cases when we increased the number of winners only because we clearly saw that in the final of the competition, for example, not 9 (as it was stated in the regulations), but 10 people claim to win. So we made 10 winners.
How will the program competition be held this year and when will the winners be known?
Applications are being collected now. Deadline for application is by 3:00pm on July 14. Then the foundation’s employees review the applications received and exclude applicants who do not meet the requirements of the competition. There may also be purely technical problems, for example, if the attached document cannot be opened. In this case, we work individually with those who have sent such attachment. Then experts work with applications. The list of those who will qualify for the second round will be published on the foundation’s website no later than July 23. After that (until August 7), a psychologist with the foundation’s staff will conduct an online individual and group interviews with pretenders. The most important thing for us here is how much young people want to study, how high their motivation is. The names of the winners will be announced on August 8. Then the foundation enters into a contract with them, pays for tuition and, if necessary, awards with scholarship. If applicants or their parents have any questions, I kindly ask them not to hesitate to contact our staff, whose details are indicated in the program provision.
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