Accepted paper:



Aliya Akatayeva (Satbayev University)

Paper abstract:

The journey to autonomy and academic freedom at Satbayev University, Kazakhstan

Dr Aliya Akataeva and Dr Dilda Nauryzbaeva, Satbayev University, Kazakhstan


Kazakhstan was first Central Asian state to join the European educational space on March 2010. Universities took responsibilities to develop academic autonomy, democratic principles in management, students' academic freedom, research,and scientific freedom. In the sphere of higher education, the Kazakhstan government

has contributed much to the development of academic mobility, three-degree diplomas and universities' academic freedom. Kazakhstan is making great attempts to provide qualified and efficient education competences. However, Kazakhstan is still facing challenges and difficulties in implementing the Bologna Process.

Despite the fact that the Ministry of Education is attempting to introduc

e academic freedom, Kazakhstani higher education is faced with misunderstandings, low level of participation,and different attitude and approaches to the implementation of world standards in education. The high

level of globalization of the world community and rapidly growing economies require a speedy rebuilding of the development model of Kazakhstan, which in turn requires the development of competitive universities.

February 14, 2017 was a momentous day for higher education in the Republic of Kazakhstan. For the first time, 12 of the country's higher education institutions were given some degree of autonomy. The government approved new regulations that allowed those high-performing universities to manage their own affairs in a number of crucial ways, from admissions policies and developing degree programmes, content and assessment to defining academic job roles, qualifications and salaries. Autonomy in higher education is usually understood to mean "academic freedom", with universities enjoying freedom of discovery, inquiry and the teaching and learning of their students. Apparently achieving autonomy is not just the Kazakhstani government's task but its "dream", making only as an extremely tenuous connection between academic independence and the prospect of reduced funding from the state which is leading to greater activities in commercialization. In this situation Satbayev University has its own history of transforming and adopting international standards in education. In 2016, the university adopted a new roadmap for 2025 which is the concept for establishing itself as a leading globally ranked research university.

The university's mission is devoted to strengthening the university role

and develop ing its research potential in six areas: materials science, extractive industry, information technology, energy, earth science and biotechnology. This presentation explores how Satbayev University is navigating its journey towards autonomy and academic freedom in light of the February

2017 government regulations.

panel EDU-02
Global Bolognaization: Central Asian Encounters with the European Higher Education Area