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White Paper from the International Conference “Governing for Autonomy: Framing the Challenges; Noting the Progress”

On September 19, 2016 research staff of Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Education (NUGSE), in conjunction with Professors Matthew Hartley and Peter Eckel from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, conducted an international conference entitled “Governing for Autonomy: Framing the Challenges and Noting the Progress”. 

This particular topic was chosen as the theme of the Conference because Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Education in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education (USA) have been carrying out a major research project entitled “Advancing Models of Best Practice in Academic Governance and Management in Higher Education Institutions in Kazakhstan". That project, led by Aida Sagintayeva (Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Education) and Matthew Hartley (University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education), has focused on a thorough analysis of the current governance reforms in HEIs in the Republic of Kazakhstan, involving visits to twenty-five universities in seven cities. 

Governance reform is a stated priority of the State Program for Education and Science Development for 2016-2019 (SPESD), which seeks to enhance the management and monitoring of the development of higher and postgraduate education. The SPESD emphasizes the need to implement the principles of shared governance through the gradual expansion of academic freedom and administrative and financial autonomy across Kazakhstani HEIs. The Conference provided a platform for representatives of Kazakhstani universities leading the development of shared governance in their institutional settings to discuss these important issues.

The leaders of Kazakhstani higher education institutions attending the conference discussed the development and implementation of shared governance in Kazakhstani universities: the most promising approaches to HEI management and governance for the next 10-years, effective mechanisms for university management and governance, the performance and accountability of governing boards, and the implementation of autonomy in higher educational institutions of Kazakhstan.

This white paper reflects the key insights from the Conference including recommendations for further work on the development of institutional autonomy in Kazakhstani higher education system.


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