This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 4/5/2018
Overview

Education market

Kazakhstan’s population reached 18 million in 2017. Ninety percent of the population completes secondary education or beyond and there is great importance placed on education both by the Government and the citizenry. Since Kazakhstan’s independence in 1991, Kazakh nationals have taken increasing advantage of studying overseas with more than 50 000 (in 2017) students choosing to study outside of Kazakhstan.
 
At the moment, 477,074 students are enrolled into higher education institutions in Kazakhstan. There are 126 universities nationwide. The range of tuition fees in Kazakhstan is from $1,000 to $10,000 per year, primarily at American-style, English-language universities. More than 93% of the students are self-funded and approximately 6.7% are on state scholarships.
 
The local government intends to “optimize” higher education in Kazakhstan by limiting the number of higher educational institutions to 100, down from 150 (mostly private) universities through mergers, downgrading, and closures. This reform tightens licensing regulations and qualification requirements for universities to insure programs correspond to international standards.
 
121 092 students graduated from high-school in 2016, and the number will rise to around 200-250,000 students forecast to graduate annually by 2020. So, just as the Government of Kazakhstan reduces the number of universities, an unprecedented number of students will enter the market- creating opportunity for U.S. institutions with ties to Kazakhstan.
 
Since 2011, the Bolashak (“Future”) scholarship program has provided scholarships for Master’s and PhD programs. The most popular countries for study under the program are the UK, U.S., and Russia. Of the 229 educational institutions with Bolashak agreements, 47 are in the U.S.  Academic Mobility Scholarship – another program introduced in 2011, aims to support 300 students in state or national universities to complete part of their graduate degrees abroad at an institutional partner university.
 
At the moment, fewer than 10% of potential Kazakhstani applicants are studying in the United States. Out of more than 50,000 students studying overseas, 90% are self-funded. In the 2016-17 academic year 1,792 students from Kazakhstan studied in the United States, with 52% studying at the undergraduate level.
 
In August 2015, the government of Kazakhstan decided to let the currency, Tenge float leading to a sharp devaluation vis a vis the U.S. Dollar. Despite this, demand for education abroad is stable, albeit, causing a slowdown and a search for less expensive study options.
 
Training services

Training services offered by consulting companies have become more sophisticated and new areas such as management consulting, audits to IAS, GAAP and National standards, HR- and IT-consulting, manufacturing consulting, strategic planning and other professional services have appeared, reflecting the market developments and emerging needs of local businesses. Many international consulting industry giants and small businesses have entered the market which offers and opportunity for more U.S. companies to penetrate the market with their services. 
 
International consulting companies, especially the “Big Four” corporations - Deloitte & Touch, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PriceWaterhouseCoopers are largely represented in Kazakhstan. Booz-Allen and Hamilton used to conduct their activities on a project-by-project basis and has now fully established offices in Astana and Almaty. Franklin Covey opened their office in 2010 on a license. Dale Carnegie established their office in March 2013 via a franchise agreement.
 
Leading Sub-Sectors
 
Education market

Education technology, boarding schools, technical and vocational education, English-language courses, and higher education are highlights for demand in this market. Per capita income of $7,510 (2016) and a large disposable income of its population make Kazakhstan an attractive market for the U.S. education sector. Unlike the rest of Central Asia, Kazakhstan’s per-capita GDP has been steadily increasing up until 2014, creating burgeoning middle- and upper-class youth eager to travel and study abroad. However, multiple currency devaluations in 2014 as well as in 2015 had a negative impact on Kazakhstani families. Nonetheless, government policy has dramatically increased English-language education nationwide over the past decade. Major multinationals regularly noted a “skills gap”, with an insufficient supply of up-to-date technicians, engineers, scientists and professional managers, which meant an increasing demand in education for related degrees.
 
Training services

The most demanded training services include management soft skills, English language skills as well as technical training for the oil and banking sectors, e.g. international accounting standards, or reservoir engineers. Specialists note growing demand for training services and HR management skills development for mid-level managers. This market potential is also estimated as prospective and is associated with the development of small and medium size companies engaged in the B2B sector.
 
Some experts believe that at present the role of strategic management is underestimated by private businesses in Kazakhstan, and predict that demand for these services will reach its peak within two or three years. At present, major consumers of strategic services are national companies undergoing frequent changes and requiring solutions on team restructuring, optimization and evaluation.
 
Following the 36% devaluation in 2015, companies are looking into focusing their hiring on local labor force. In cases where supply of professionals is limited, there is an increased trend for senior managers to be recruited from Russia, Belarus – largely thanks to free movement of labor allowed under Eurasian Economic Union of Russia, Kazakhstan Belarus. There is still demand for soft skills and management training for Kazakhstan citizens.
 
Labor Market - Brief Overview

The Kazakhstan labor force (people aged 15-64) is approximately 9 million people in 2016. There has been a slight increase for both genders in terms of participation rates, for men up from 76% in 2000 to 78% in 2012 and for females from 65% to 68% in the same period according to the World Bank. Kazakhstan registers relatively low unemployment rates for international standards. Male unemployment averaged 4.3% and female unemployment about 6.4%. Youth unemployment rates (for those people aged 15-24) were slightly lower than those for the total population, that is, 3.8% for young males and 4.7% for young females in 2014-15. This is opposite to what normally happens in other parts of the world where youth unemployment tends to be higher than total unemployment. Higher educational attainment offers protection against unemployment in Kazakhstan.


Opportunities

Education Market

Networks are key resources to successfully enter the country and recruit effectively. These include education agents and institutional alliances that cooperate with school guidance counselors. This market is an agent-driven market and there are a number of qualified educational agencies that operate on the territory of Kazakhstan. A proper due diligence is recommended before establishing partnership relations.
 
Other activities, such as visiting schools, attending student fairs, holding seminars, and advertising campaigns, have become effective and important for recruitment. College guidebooks and catalogs are another way to introduce students from Kazakhstan to U.S. educational institutions. Parents as a target are an important segment of the market. Marketing materials need to be created to speak to parents. Internet and social networks are rapidly growing in Kazakhstan. The number of national users is approaching 10 million people.
 
Training services

A major share of solvent customers of international consulting firms now in Kazakhstan includes national companies, second-tier local banks, companies with foreign capital, and leading export-oriented giants.


Events

A2 Education Fair
8-9 February 2018
Almaty, Kazakhstan
Organizer: A2
 
Begin Central Asia Tour
Dates: February 17-18, 2018
Location: Almaty & Astana, Kazakhstan
Organizer: Begin Group
 
ICEF Central Asia Focus
27-28 March 2018
Location: The Ritz-Carlton Almaty, Kazakhstan
Organizer: ICEF
 
EducationUSA Tour
TBC (potentially October 2018)
Location: Almaty, Astana and further cities: TBC
 
Web Resources
 
Contact

Aliya Shaikhina
Commercial Specialist
Email: aliya.shaikhina@trade.gov
Phone: +7 (727) 250 76 12 ext. 6491
 

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.



Kazakhstan Education Trade Development and Promotion