Founding a High School Career and College Counselors’ Association of Kazakhstan and new trends in education were discussed at Nazarbayev University

On September 29 and 30, Nazarbayev University (NU) welcomed the VI Seminar of  High School Career and College Counselors of the Republic of Kazakhstan, organized on the initiative of the NU Admissions Department. The seminar is organized for professionals working in education who are responsible for the career guidance of senior pupils.  The seminar occurs annually, and is a platform for these professionals to network, cooperate, exchange of experience and discuss real issues related to student advising and career guidance. This year the seminar was attended by more than 80 participants from all regions of Kazakhstan.

On the first day of the seminar, the guests visited the Open House Day and NU GeekFest, a city event where cyber-sports and geek culture are intertwined (we put a link). At NU GeekFest’s entertaining and informative fair of academic programs, professors and representatives of NU schools answered questions, conducted master classes and guided tours of the university’s laboratories, dormitories, and campus.

On the second day of the event, representatives of the Admissions Department spoke about effective methods of self-presentation (i.e., interviews, resumes, and motivation letters), necessary for successful admission to the university, the features of choosing a future profession, and the stages of admission to the University. In addition, representatives of the University spoke about the Digital Era, and how it is not only creating new challenges for those who work in career guidance but also why these professionals are so important for today’s students.  Specifically, presenters discussed how some professions may disappear by 2030, and about the difficulties of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) on choosing one’s future path.   Participants also learned about a study conducted by the company Universum about Kazakhstan’s job market and its talent needs.  A graduate of the National University of Mexico shared her experience in choosing a university and a profession, and a student from the village of Kazygurt noted the importance of support and mentoring of future applicants.   

During a group session, seminar participants provided recommendations for the development of career guidance in the country’s schools and came to the conclusion that a High School Career and College Counselors’ Association of Kazakhstan should be established.

– There was a good level of organization of the seminar and interesting speakers. We participated in NU GeekFest, which was very well organized and informative. On the second day of the seminar, I was very interested in what the speaker – Laura Karabasova – had to say. In her speech, she shared how a university should present itself and how recruiters or career guidance counselors should behave. In our work, on a daily basis we advise children and their parents to choose education, taking into account the so-called gig economy, campuses and companies they want to find themselves in the future. When choosing a university, students should realize that times are changing and that they should consider a variety of factors beyond just thinking about the subjects they like. Our school focuses on the fact that they always have a choice because no one will tell them who they should be in the future. A person should decide this himself and take responsibility, – said Andrey Khomutovskiy, academic director of the Langberry Astana school.

Based on their practical experience, the participants of the seminar concluded that it is desirable to start preparing students for admission to higher education from the 6th or 7th grade. From this age, the child has enough time to choose a profession, decide or change their mind and choose a new one.

– My job as a career guidance counselor is to guide the student within a clear time frame. As a rule, the 11th-grade student has a clear idea of who he or she wants to be and understands which university he or she is going to enter. But, in my opinion, the preparation should start earlier, from the 7th to the 8th grade. For example, last year a group of students of the 10th and 11th grades of our school visited NU, two eleventh-graders came here and study on a grant, although initially, they planned to enter the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. And this September, tenth-graders came to me and expressed their desire to enter NU, and I learned about the admission process and timeline so I could better advise students, – says Miramgul Mnaidarova, deputy director of educational work, school-lyceum No. 8 for gifted children of Pavlodar.

– We learned about the trends in working with today’s younger generation, about changes in admission to the Foundation Program (i.e., a one-year pre-university training program), and now I will tell my students about it. Starting from the 10th grade, we have been preparing our students for SAT and IELTS exams, as well as for entering both Nazarbayev University and foreign universities. From the 7th to 8th grades, I believe that it is necessary to instill in a child a variety of skills such as self-preparation, personal development, and successful social interaction – shared Nauryzbai Khozhahmetov, deputy director of educational work of the specialized boarding school “Bilim-Innovation” named after A.Malkeev of the city of Esik.