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Kazakhstan Programme: Capacity Building

Please note that this partnership has now ended.

The Faculty of Education was involved in a support and advisory role at Nazarbayev University after the first idea of a Graduate School of Education was initiated in 2011. A three-way partnership was subsequently established, with the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education as the third party, to work on the creation of the Graduate School of Education at Nazarbayev University and to engage in joint research activity.

Our support and advisory role at Nazarbayev University


In October 2011, as a result of a feasibility study undertaken by the Faculty, the ambitious notion of a Graduate School of Education at Nazarbayev University was developed. This School would – within five years – become a prestigious faculty of education in Eurasia, offering high-quality courses at Masters and doctoral level, and developing innovative and pioneering research in collaboration with its international partners.


Subsequently, the Faculty of Education was centrally involved with appointing the senior staffof the Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Education (NUGSE); advising on the academic framework for the school and on the development of learning support facilities and resources; and supporting the evolution of staff development policies.

In relation to the curriculum, the Faculty supported NUGSE in developing and planning detailed curricula for the one-year and two-year Masters programmes in Educational Leadership and in Multilingual Education, offering recommendations for doctoral programmes, and monitoring student selection and admissions.

Much of this work continued through two meetings of partners each year, keynote contributions from members of the Faculty to the annual Eurasian Higher Education Leaders Forum (EHELF) in Astana, assessment and quality assurance of the programmes, support of the faculty recruitment process and workshops on assessment, pedagogy and career development for the School staff.

NUGSE doctoral students advising

As part of the Partner agreement with NUGSE, both Cambridge University and UPenn enjoyed hosting a number of NUGSE doctoral students for six weeks a year. These generally took place once NUGSE students had passed the proposal stage of their studies. The experience involved students being paired with a relevant Faculty of Education supervisor who supported the students exactly as if they were a full-time PhD student at Cambridge. During their stay, NUGSE students were also free to join in with all the other opportunities afforded to students at Cambridge. The relationship with their Cambridge supervisor continued after the student returned to NUGSE up to the point of thesis examination and provided ways of working with not only the students themselves but also between our extended team at the Faculty and academics at NUGSE.

The Faculty of Education is proud of its contribution to this collaborative partnership, which saw a vibrant, high quality and innovative Graduate School of Education emerge at Nazarbayev University. This enabled the School to meet its aspirations to become one of the leading graduate schools of education in the Eurasian region and beyond.