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Ministerial visit highlights education opportunities in Kazakhstan

David Willetts visited Astana to continue cooperation in education between the UK and Kazakhstan.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Meeting at the Civil Service Agency

The Rt Hon Mr David Willetts, Minister of State for Universities and Science in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills recently accompanied a delegation of senior UK education representatives to Kazakstan. The delegation visited Astana on 28-29 November 2013 to further develop cooperation in education between the UK and Kazakhstan.

This visit built on the existing strong partnerships between the UK and Kazakhstan in:

  • higher education
  • vocational education
  • teacher training
  • English language training

It also identified new areas in science and innovation for future collaboration.

This mission followed a series of successful government to government engagements, including the summer 2013 visit by the UK Prime Minister David Cameron to Kazakhstan and the official launch of the UK-Kazakhstan Intergovernmental Commission in October 2013.

Cooperation in education:

Areas identified for further cooperation include:

  • E-learning in schools, including in remote areas
  • support for enhanced academic mobility between the two countries
  • English language training for civil servants and the Expo 2017 workforce
  • transfer of UK vocational training and qualifications to Kazakhstan
  • support for human resource development in the workforce, including in Samruk-Kazyna’s holdings

New cooperation in science:

Areas identified for new cooperation include:

  • remote methods for oil and gas / mineral exploration
  • food processing
  • space technologies, including satellite broadband
  • agricultural technologies
  • construction technologies

Ministerial visit

David Willetts visited Kazakhstan at the invitation of the Kazakhstani Government to attend the 20th Bolashak Anniversary Forum and to meet key Kazakhstani decision-makers in the educational sphere. Mr Willetts was the sole representative of a foreign government invited to attend the forum, which was hosted by President Nazarbayev.

Delivering his speech at the Forum, David Willetts highlighted that the UK is the top destination for Bolashak Scholars, with over 4,000 choosing to study in the UK out of 10,000 scholarships awarded since 1993.

Besides participating in the anniversary forum, David Willetts met with representatives of several Kazakhstani national agencies and companies including:

  • National Welfare Fund Samruk-Kazyna
  • Samruk-Kazyna
  • Civil Service Agency
  • Kasipkor Holding
  • Nazarbayev University

Mr Willets was accompanied by representatives of

  • UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) Education
  • UK Higher Education International Unit
  • Association of Colleges
  • English UK
  • Cambridge English
  • Pearson

Meetings with the Deputy Prime Minister Asset Issekeshev and the Minister of Education & Science Aslan Sarinzhipov allowed discussion of UK and Kazakhstani policies in education and science, as well as agreement on new areas for cooperation.

Opportunities arising from Mr Willetts’ visit will be taken forward by UKTI Education and by the British Embassy and British Council in Kazakhstan in consultation with other stakeholders.


For further information regarding this visit please contact the Communications Section: +7 7172 55 62 17 or British Council Kazakhstan: +7 7172 55 2066/77. You can also send your requests to

Notes for editors

All photos from the visit can be found here:

Published 6 December 2013