Speech given by Deputy Head of Mission on 25 October in Astana. This is an English transcript of the speech.
Dear distinguished guests, visitors and representatives of UK universities and colleges.
I am delighted to welcome you today to the 2014 Education UK Exhibition organised by the British Council in partnership with the Center for International Programs. I am particularly pleased to see 42 UK institutions exhibiting here today. This is a record number and reflects the very great interest in Kazakhstan amongst UK educational institutions.
2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the signing by the UK and Kazakhstan Governments of a formal agreement to cooperate in the fields of education, science and culture. It therefore also marks the 20th birthday of the British Council’s work in Kazakhstan. This is a significant anniversary and is but one example of the long and fruitful cooperation between our two countries.
The Government of Kazakhstan rightly regards educational reform as a key means for the country to become one of the 30 most-developed nations in the world under the President’s Strategy 2050. Many reforms are taking place at all levels of education to integrate the country with the wider European region, and the rest of the world, so as to increase its global competitiveness.
We believe the UK is a natural partner for Kazakhstan in this process. We have a long history of academic excellence and scientific discovery, with UK scientists winning 75 Nobel prizes.
I’m also pleased to be able to witness many examples of fruitful UK-Kazakhstan cooperation in education: the UK is the most popular destination for Bolashak scholarship holders; and there are numerous active institutional partnerships such as those between Nazarbayev University and Cambridge University, between the London School of Economics and Political Science and the Kazakh British Technical University, and between Ravensbourne College of Design and the new world-class vocational colleges due to open in Almaty and Astana in 2015 under the national agency Kasipkor.
I could list many more, but I fear we would be here all day!
All young people and their parents need to make very important decisions about their education, which will influence their future career and life. Today, I invite you to consider the UK as your study destination and to find out what UK colleges and universities can offer you. It is inspiring to see that young people in Kazakhstan are so ambitious, intelligent, goal-oriented and increasingly fluent in three languages – Kazakh, Russian and English. Many UK universities and colleges speak very highly of the quality and dedication of students from Kazakhstan and I am sure you will continue to uphold this reputation as the next generation of Kazakhstani students in the UK.
Thank you for your attention!
It is now my great pleasure to declare the 2014 Education UK Exhibition open!