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UK signs education MOUs, Kazakhstan

British Prime Minister David Cameron signed a number of education agreements with Kazakhstan last week, extending opportunities for UK providers in the oil-rich country.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron in Kazakhstan last week. (Photo courtesy of the Prime Minister's Office).

The Kazakh government says 30,000 more English-speakers will be needed for Expo 2017

Among the deals, the British Council announced a major partnership supporting education, training (including volunteering and English) and culture in the run-up to Expo 2017 – an international exhibition on sustainable energy to be held in Astana. The Kazakh government says 30,000 more English-speakers will be needed for the event.

“This provides a fantastic context for the UK education sector to engage”

The Council also signed an MOU with the national teacher training organisation Orleu to train university and school staff.

“As part of this collaboration, the British Council will soon start the training of at least 250 Kazakhstani teachers and educational managers at selected training institutions in the UK each year,” said the Council in a statement. “The estimated value to the UK sector is around £750,000 per year.”

University College London meanwhile agreed to run a four-week summer exchange programme for 40 Nazarbayev University School of Engineering students, extending an existing partnership. The Institute of Directors (IOD) partnered with the sovereign wealth fund “Samruk-Kazyna” JSC, to share its expertise in international corporate governance and executive education.

The University of Cambridge’s Churchill College similarly will provide executive education through its subsidiary the Møller Centre for Continuing Education, thanks to an MOU with Kazatomprom, a state-owned nuclear holding company.

British Council Director in Kazakhstan, Simon Williams, said that Kazakhstan’s “ambitious and extremely well-funded education development programme from 2011 to 2020″ was opening up opportunities for foreign providers.

“[It] includes explicit targets for the increased internationalisation of the education system, which can only be achieved through international partnership and collaboration,” he said. “This provides a fantastic context for the UK education sector to engage with Kazakhstan, given the policy steer towards English-speaking partners and the high esteem afforded to UK education.”

Cameron is the first British Prime Minister to visit Kazakhstan. He travelled with a delegation of 30 small and large companies from a range of sectors and secured deals worth more than £700 million, according to UKTI.

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