The Shakhmardan Yessenov Foundation has completed the English language program competition for regional universities. Based on the outcomes of the competition, the Foundation made a decision to hold the Program at Daulet Serikbayev East Kazakhstan Technical University in the next two years. Irina Grishchenko, the Operations Director of the Foundation, tells about the final of the competition.

Irina, please remind us in general terms how the competition was held.
We received 11 applications from regional universities in Kazakhstan. The full list of the participants is published on social media. As a reminder, according to the objectives of the competition only regional higher education institutions can participate in it, since our goal is to increase competitiveness of Kazakhstani education at the global level through improving university students’ and teachers’ English proficiency. We selected the finalists in accordance with the Program Provisions. The most important requirements for universities include: the quality of management, the university’s engagement in research and scientific activities, the need of English language courses for further development of the university, and the higher education institution’s reputation. The competition had two stages. At the first stage, the invited experts assessed the applications having ranked them from worst to best. At the second, final, stage we visited the universities which were qualified for the final and observed the situation on the ground. Having analyzed the results of the visits, the Foundation selected the winner.

Who selected the finalists?
At the first stage, we sent all applications to the Foundation’s experts. They are familiar with the Program requirements. We elaborated special instructions and an application assessment form for them. No one of the experts knew which of their colleagues were also engaged by the Foundation in the same capacity. The competition participants didn’t know the names of the experts either. This helps to avoid any arrangements and assessment bias. All experts have a great experience in the field of higher education and are recognized specialists not only in the country, but also abroad. Moreover, they often visit universities in Kazakhstan as part of their work and know the actual situation. The assessment of universities was based on the information in the applications, official results of various ratings, information on websites and social media of the universities and in mass media. According to the results of experts’ assessment of the applications, three universities reached the final. And notably, two of them are from Ust-Kamenogorsk. They are: Daulet Serikbayev East Kazakhstan Technical University and Sarsen Amanzholov East Kazakhstan University. The third finalist was M.Kh. Dulaty Taraz Regional University.

What was the procedure of the final stage of the competition?
The final selection was carried out by ourselves – the Shakhmardan Yessenov Science and Education Foundation. The selection was as follows: we made business trips in order to hold meetings with the administrations of the education institutions in Zhambyl and East Kazakhstan regions which were selected for the final, and observe the conditions that the universities could provide to their students and teachers who would become the Program participants. But the most important thing is that we had to understand why the university needs an English language program, what are its goals and long-term plans for creating foreign language environment at the university, and how can the Foundation’s Program help. That is why we chose Daulet Serikbayev East Kazakhstan Technical University.

What criteria were taken into account, how strong was the competition between universities, and what were the requirements for universities?
The most important requirements included availability and the university administration’s interest in the program, its and students’ motivation level, availability of an online learning platform and channels of communication promotion of the Program to quickly collect applications. All 11 universities which took part in the competition presented themselves well. It was a strong competition. During the meetings with the finalists, we paid attention to several points: the university management; the level of the meetings’ arrangement; how not only administration but also students, teachers, and staff are interested in learning a foreign language. We considered the level of the research work, and how important knowledge of foreign languages is for its greater progress. We also took into account openness of the university and transparency of its activities. Having analyzed all the information obtained, we came to the conclusion that EKTU best meets the requirements of the English language program. So, based on expert perceptions and meetings at the universities, the executive director of the Yessenov Foundation decided on the winner.

What’s next?
We will sign a memorandum of cooperation with EKTU, then a trilateral agreement with the participation of our partner in the Bonas MacFarlane Education Kazakhstan program. In September, at the start of the academic year, the university will select students and teachers for the first year of the Program (i.e. in order to involve in the Program, first and foremost, those who really need it), and test their level of language proficiency. The classes start in October. They will be conducted twice a week, online, by the professional, internationally certified teachers and native speakers who have experience in the Foundation’s programs. We allocate 160 grants for a year. Thus, in two years of the English language program covered by the Foundation, more than 300 students and teachers at this university will be able to seriously improve their English language proficiency level.

And the best of them will also be able to take IELTS…
Exactly. Following the results of each academic year, the 25 best students and teachers from EKTU will be able to take IELTS exams at the Foundation’s expense. So, in two years of the Program implementation, there will probably be 50 such people.

Well, congratulations on the successful completion of the competition and the selection of the Kazakhstani regional university, where the Shakhmardan Yessenov Foundation English language program will be held in the next two years!
Thank you.

2.05.24, Newsfeed, Newsfeed

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