Kazakhstan has a fairly well-educated
population and the illiterate are few. The children
start compulsory schooling at the age of seven and the
compulsory schooling is valid for nine years. The vast
majority of children complete schooling, but the
standard of teaching is often low.
Great efforts have been made to improve the quality,
but especially in the countryside there is still a
shortage of school materials and educated teachers. The
school system was hit hard by the economic crisis that
followed the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.
The proportion of highly educated was large among those
who emigrated during the 1990s, which eroded the
knowledge base in the country.
Allcitypopulation: Offers a list of biggest cities in the state of
Kazakhstan, including the capital city which hosts major colleges and
Country facts of Kazakhstan, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.
Schooling is free of charge, but families often pay
for schoolbooks and other materials. Children usually go
in shifts, with a group in the morning and one in the
The preschool has been expanded and now most children
go to preschool for at least a year before starting
Kazakh is the most common language of instruction,
but there are also many schools that teach Russian. All
students read both languages. In regions with large
minority groups, there are also schools where teaching
takes place in languages such as Uzbek, Uyghur or
The government encourages the creation of private
educational institutions, but the vast majority of
schools and colleges are run by the state.
The number of students at the country's universities
and colleges has risen sharply since independence in
1991. About a quarter of the workforce has university or
FACTS - EDUCATION
Proportion of children starting primary
86.2 percent (2017)
Number of pupils per teacher in primary
Reading and writing skills
99.8 percent (2010)
Public expenditure on education as a
percentage of GDP
13.9 percent (2016)
Public expenditure on education as a
percentage of the state budget
13.9 percent (2016)
New laws restrict media freedom
President Nazarbayev signs a series of amendments to the country's media
laws, which, according to critics, further limit the already strictly controlled
Kazakh media. Among other things, news sites on the Internet will identify users
who post in the comment fields under articles and keep the information for three
months. Journalists must also request permission from interviewees before
publishing information pertaining to their person, family, health, finances and
"other legally protected secrets". The Kazakh media freedom group Adil Soz calls
the new additions "a law to protect corrupt civil servants". The legislative
proposals have previously been adopted in both chambers of Parliament.
Order to change to Latin alphabet
President Nazarbayev orders that the Kazakh language be written in Latin
rather than Cyrillic. The change of alphabet will be gradual and fully completed
by 2025. The shift is justified by the fact that it is an adaptation to the fact
that seven out of ten countries in the world use Latin letters. Many observers
also see it as a mark against Moscow, as relations between the two allies have
been strained since the Russian annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014.
Kazakh belongs to the Turkish language family and is written with a modified
version of the Cyrillic alphabet with 42 letters. After the shift, the Kazakhs
will use 32 Latin letters.
Nuclear fuel bank is inaugurated
After two years of work, the world's first international nuclear fuel bank is
inaugurated in Öskemen in eastern Kazakhstan. It has cost about SEK 1.2 billion
to build the facility, which will be managed by the UN agency IAEA. It is
planned to contain up to 90 tonnes of low-enriched uranium, which can be
delivered to nuclear power plants worldwide. The idea is that handling should
reduce the risk of illegal uranium dissipation.
Tighter requirements for becoming presidential candidate
President Nazarbayev signs a law that states that a presidential candidate
must have at least five years' experience of official government-level missions.
In the past, the Constitution states that a presidential candidate must be at
least 40 years, born in Kazakhstan, have lived in the country for at least 15
years and speak the Kazakh language fluently.
Disputed citizenship law comes into force
President Nazarbayev signs a law that gives authorities the right to take
away their citizenship from people convicted of certain crimes. This mainly
concerns crimes related to terrorism and threats to state security. Critics fear
that the law could be used against opposition politicians, since the wording
about "Kazakhstan's vital interests" is considered vague. Many prominent
opposition people are already living abroad.
Long prison sentence for exile politicians
A court sentenced the fugitive banker and opposition politician Muchtar
Abljazov (see Current Policy) to 20 years in prison. He is convicted of
membership in a criminal group, abuse of power, embezzlement and financial
misconduct. Abljazov has been living in exile in Europe since 2009. According to
prosecutors, he has embezzled the equivalent of about $ 5 billion from the bank
BTA in Kazakhstan. Abljazov says the verdict is politically motivated.
Government and parliament are given increased power
Parliament adopts a series of constitutional amendments aimed at transferring
some of the President's powers to Parliament and the Government. The changes
come into force when President Nazarbayev signs them a few days later.
The president regrets the draft
President Nazarbayev proposes that the Government and Parliament ignore his
proposal to amend the Constitution's wording on private ownership. He had
recommended that "the right of all Kazakh citizens" be changed to "the right of
everyone in Kazakhstan" to own real estate and land. The proposal had spread
concern that foreign companies could buy up large agricultural areas.