Starting from February 15, the Shakhmardan Yessenov Foundation is opening the application process for regional universities in Kazakhstan to participate in the English language program competition. Around 350 students and faculty members from the winning university during 2024-2026 will have the opportunity to enhance their foreign language skills. The top-performing course participants will also have the chance to take the IELTS exam sponsored by the charitable foundation.

In the current academic year, the Shakhmardan Yessenov Foundation is concluding a two-year English language program at Kozybayev University. It is expected that by the summer of 2024, approximately 350 undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty members from the North Kazakhstan University, will improve their English proficiency, with 50 students taking the IELTS exam. In connection with this, the foundation has announced a new competition. The coordinator of the foundation’s programs, Aigerim Sultan, provides details on who can participate and how the process will unfold.

How can students and faculty members from Kazakhstani universities participate in the program?
The English program is the only one in the Yessenov Foundation’s portfolio that involves into application process educational institutions rather than individual students or young professionals. Therefore, universities submit applications for the program competition. The direct beneficiaries of the program are the students and faculty members of the winning university. The educational institution independently conducts the selection process based on the needs of its staff, students, and the university itself. It is emphasized that only regional universities, excluding those in Astana and Almaty, are eligible to participate in the competition.

How to submit an application?
Exclusively in electronic form – on our website. The list of all required documents can be found in the program regulations published on the foundation’s website. The leadership of the participating university must fill out the application and upload the necessary documents.

How will the competition be conducted, and who will participate in selecting the finalists?
Since the program runs for two years, the competition takes place every two years. The application submission for the new competition will close on March 28. At the first stage, foundation specialists will review the received documents to ensure compliance with the program regulations. Subsequently, all approved applications will be reviewed by the foundation’s expert commission, consisting of five individuals who are authoritative figures in the Kazakhstani university community. They will evaluate all applications, assigning specific scores for each criterion. They will consider the necessity of the program for the university and its ability to ensure its high-quality implementation. In addition to the submitted documents, they will examine information posted by participating universities on their websites and social media. By mid-April, a shortlist will be compiled, including the top 3 universities among the applicants.

How will the final round proceed? Which universities have a better chance of winning?
Following the first round – the selection by the expert board members – foundation staff will visit the finalist universities, familiarize themselves with the institutions, and assess the on-site conditions. The decisive factors will be the accessibility and interest in the program, the level of motivation among students, the availability and quality of the platform for remote learning, and the resources for informing students about the program and collecting a maximum number of applications. Therefore, based on the results of this visit, Yessenov Foundation will decide on the winner among the top 3 finalist universities. If the meetings with university leadership, student leaders, prove effective, and it becomes clear that the university is well aware of the program, that it is highly needed, and that the use of the language by students and faculty will actively continue after the program, such a university will have a better chance compared to competitors.

When will we know the winner – the university where the English program will take place in the academic years 2024-2026? Who will make the decision about the winner?
After the foundation staff present their report on visiting the three finalist universities, the expert board will decide on the winner. The names of the foundation’s expert board members are not disclosed to avoid putting pressure on them during or after the competition. The winner of the Yessenov Foundation program will be announced by April 30. In September, the selection of students will take place, and the academic year will commence in early October.

The English language program has been implemented by the Yessenov Foundation since 2013. The winners have been four Kazakhstani regional higher education institutions – Yessenov University (Aktau), Korkyt Ata University (Kyzylorda), Karaganda Medical University, and Kozybayev University (Petropavlovsk). The program lasts for 2 years, and language instructors with internationally recognized certificates are engaged for teaching. Students are divided into groups based on their language proficiency level. Group sessions take place several times a week (in recent years, online), and at the end of the year, the best course participants – students and instructors – are awarded the opportunity to take the IELTS exam sponsored by the Shakhmardan Yessenov Scientific and Educational Foundation. The program’s partner is the Kazakhstan representative office of the leading British language center, Bonas McFarlane Education. It is expected that by September 2024, the English proficiency of 1181 students and faculty members from Kazakhstani universities will have improved over the 10 years of program implementation. The program’s goal is to enhance the competitiveness of regional higher education institutions in Kazakhstan and their students by improving their English language proficiency.

15.02.24, Newsfeed

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