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Kazakhstan mulls extension of education program for Afghan citizens

03 october 2014, 14:09
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Afghan students ©REUTERS
Afghan students ©REUTERS

Kazakhstan may extend its education program that offers education grants to citizens of Afghanistan, Tengrinews reports citing an Ambassador-at-Large of Kazakh Foreign Ministry Timur Urazayev.

On September 26, Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a briefing entitled Kazakhstan-Afghanistan Cooperation in the Post-Election Period with participation of Ambassador-at-Large of Kazakh Foreign Ministry Timur Urazayev and head of International Cooperation Department of Kazakh Education Ministry Akerke Ablaikhan.

“Afghanistan is indeed so grateful to Kazakhstan for his help that it has repeatedly raised the issue of the program’s extension. However, we will consider this issue taking into account our financial capacities and further development of bilateral cooperation between Kazakhstan and Afghanistan. The education cooperation is based  on an international agreement and an agreement requires certain procedures. Given all these aspects, we are now considering this proposal and of course, if we find ti possible, we would like to prolong this education program,” Timur Urazayev said at the briefing in Astana.

The education program was initiated by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev in 2010 during Kazakhstan’s Chairmanship in the OSCE. The agreement between the Government of Kazakhstan and the Government of Afghanistan on cooperation in education was signed back in November, 2009 in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul during the official visit of then Kazakh State Secretary Kanat Saudabayev to Afghanistan.

The agreement envisages provision of assistance to Afghanistan by Kazakhstan in the field of education.

Under the agreement, 1,000 Afghan citizens can study in Kazakhstani institutes in the period of 2010-2020: 700 of them in universities and 300 in vocational schools. In May 2010 Afghanistan suggested amending the document. Wit the amendments in place, 177 out of 700 Afghan students will study for Master's degrees.

According to the document, the largest portion of grants - 200 - is for degrees in medicine. Another 129 grants are for degrees in agriculture, 91 are for engineering majors, 75 are for degrees in maintaining law and order, 66 are for degrees in education, 45 are for degrees in ensuring the protection of national borders, 40 are for degrees in humanities and journalism, 18 are for social sciences, economics and business, 18 are arts, and 6 are for natural sciences majors. 

According to the head of International Cooperation Department of Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Education Akerke Ablaikhan, selection of the students has been carried out for five years and this year will be the last one.

According to Kazakh Foreign Ministry there are currently more than 800 Afghan students studying in Kazakhstan. Most of them have majors in engineering and medicine.

Under the agreement Kazakhstan covers all the expenses in the amount of $50 million.

Kazakhstan is now negotiating with universities in Europe and US on the possible further training of Afghan students there. Timur Urazayev expressed hope that their foreign colleagues would support the idea.

Only the best Afghan students that are getting their degrees in Kazakhstan will be granted the opportunity.

“We call such students ‘the best of the best’. There is a few of them. The best Afghan graduates could have an opportunity to continue their studies in European or American universities so that Kazakhstani education program would have its logical continuation,” Timur Urazayev said adding that in this case foreign universities would be covering all the expenses.

After completing their studies in Kazakhstan Afghan student are obliged to return to Afghanistan and work there for five years. There is a special committee that monitors fulfillment of the obligations by the Afghan graduates. 

Akerke Ablaikhan said that seven Afghan graduates had already returned to Kabul, Afghanistan and were employed.

It is important “for a new generation to be formed in Afghanistan, for the new young people who lived and studied in a peaceful environment to be able to change the mentality of the Afghan youth,” Timur Urazayev concluded.

Reporting by Renat Tashkinbayev, writing by Assel Satubaldina, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina


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