The Business Council of the Higher School of Economics (HSE) M. Narikbayev KAZGUU University, November 27, 2020

The mission of the HSE Business Council is to contribute to the development of world-class education at HSE and to develop students’ knowledge and skills that are in demand in the labor market. Members of the Business Council include top managers of the public and quasi-public sectors, as well as private companies.

The creation of this Council in 2016 was prompted by the need to analyze HSE’s educational programs and processes in the light of global economic changes.

In 2020, higher education in Kazakhstan faces new challenges, which determined the topic of the meeting: “Higher education in Kazakhstan in the context of global and local challenges”. Among the guests and members of the Business Council were Vice-Minister of trade and integration, first Deputy Chairman of the Agency for protection and development of competition in the Republic of Kazakhstan, Chairman of the Board of JSC SK-Pharmacy, JSC President of the Center for International Programs and others.

HSE Dean Saule Kemelbayeva, PhD, spoke about the results of her research on the impact of higher education on the economy of Kazakhstan. Education is an investment in the future, both on a public and private level. Econometric methods allow you to calculate the return on investment in education, and how education increases the value of human capital.

As part of the study, Saule Kemelbayeva found that the return on education in Kazakhstan is declining, the market is saturated with graduates with higher education, and the quality of education is deteriorating. “The heterogeneity of returns from education increases: inequality tends to increase in times of crisis, and current trends will increase the gap between returns from good and bad education” – these and other conclusions were presented by the HSE Dean in her presentation.

Lyazzat Khairullina, Vice-Dean for postgraduate programs and science, presented a report on the HSE activities over the past year. In 2019, the “Finance” and “Accounting and Audit” programs were included in the Top 5 programs offered by Kazakhstani Universities, according to Atameken rating. About 90% of HSE graduates were employed in 2019 within 3 months of graduation. HSE is working to increase the competitiveness of graduates: programs are accredited by international certification agencies (CIMA, ACCA, GARP, ICAEW), double-degree programs have been developed with foreign partner universities, and students are offered interdisciplinary programs and additional specializations (minors).

At the meeting, the strategy for further development of the Higher School of Economics was announced: focus on the development of research, master’s and doctoral programs, work on the development of soft skills, and also listened to the proposals of the Business Council participants for the development of educational programs.

Guest of the Business Council Olzhas Tuleuov, advisor to Chairman of the National Bank of the Republic of Kazakhstan, spoke about the lack of macroeconomists and the insufficient level of knowledge of econometrics, data analysis methods, statistics among graduates of economic specialities of Kazakhstan universities.

Olzhas Zhoraev, Deputy Head of the Center for Strategic Research and Analysis of the Presidential Administration of the Republic of Kazakhstan, noted that there is a request for an evidence-based approach to public policy formation, which could be implemented by researchers working at universities in Kazakhstan, in particular at the Higher School of Economics of KAZGUU.

Aibek Sagynaev, head of Export Promotion Projects at the “QazTrade” Trade Policy Development Center, noted that it is necessary to increase the prestige of working in the public sector among talented HSE graduates.

Altyn Shakirkhanova, head of ACCA Kazakhstan and Central Asia, noted that the effectiveness of the online format as a substitute for traditional education is somewhat exaggerated. Thus, ACCA practice shows that students who have been trained with ACCA trainers pass exams better than those who prepare themselves using online materials.

Despite the challenges facing higher education in Kazakhstan and the world in the light of the coronavirus pandemic, HSE KAZGUU continues the mission of the University, providing a high-quality and affordable education that is not inferior to many foreign counterparts.