Nazarbayev University Foundation Program
1. Nazarbayev University Foundation ProgramShigeo Katsu
Why does NU need the Foundation Program?
Overview of current Foundation Program
Statistics of Students Applied, Accepted to Foundation Program
and Progressed to NU Schools
4. Student Support Services
5. Assessment of the Current Foundation Program
6. Main Features of the new Pre-University Program
7. Preliminary model of admission process
8. New Quality Assurance Framework
9. Pros of implementing Foundation Program
in universities on Kazakhstan’s way to K12
10. Implementation of Foundation Programs
in universities: issues to be addressed
11. Annex 1, 2
3. 1. Why does NU need the Foundation Program?• Foundation program is offered to prepare students for: Academic,
Research and Linguistic challenges they will meet at Nazarbayev
University (hereinafter - NU) Undergraduate programs
• Secondary education of Kazakhstan (11 years) does not prepare
students for studies in academic environment of NU which is built
based on best international experiences of its partners
• Aims of the Foundation program are:
– smooth transition of students into English academic environment;
– to provide students with laboratory (hands-on) experience;
– to help students with understanding of academic integrity (cheating, plagiarism),
study skills (note taking, proper citation), time management, self-study skills, etc.;
– a more informed choice of future degree programs
4. 2. Overview of current Foundation Program• Nazarbayev University was established in 2009 and accepted
first cohort of students (484 students) for the Preparatory
Certificate Program (hereinafter – Foundation Program) in 2010.
• Foundation Program is a mirror program of the University
• The contract period is: 2010 (February) – 2015 (August).
• Aim - to provide students with the academic and research,
critical thinking and practical skills, conceptual tools, as well as
the Academic English language and study skills required to be
successful on any undergraduate degree program at the
• Academic year: September – June
• Number of staff: Senior Staff -6, Administrative -6, Academic 67.
5. 3. Statistics of Students Applied, Accepted to Foundation Program and Progressed to NU Schools4500
Accepted to NU Foundation Program
Progressed to NU Schools
* Successful completion of the Foundation Program does not guarantee admission to NU Undergraduate Program
6. 4. Student Support Services• Personal tutorials – provided by a personal tutor (member of the CPS Academic English team).
30-minute weekly tutorial individually or in small groups at a regular time. At tutorials students
can discuss problems they experience, e.g. difficulties with friends, accommodation, health or any
other aspect of their life and studies.
• Moodle – a virtual learning environment.
Through Moodle courses students receive important academic information including homework
and other sources that can help with their academic progress.
• Self-Access Centre (hereinafter – SAC) provides comprehensive facilities for self-study.
Facilities include an on-line DVD library, Computer Assisted Language Learning, resource books,
journals and newspapers.
• Writing Centre provides additional help if students experience difficulty in writing for core
EAP tutors offer 20-minute consultations. There are also workshops available throughout the year
on subjects such as academic style and writing thesis statements.
• Counseling Center – supports students through the individual counseling and psychological
diagnostics, On-line counseling, trainings and lectures for students, long-term supporting
7. 5. Assessment of current Foundation ProgramSuccesses
Challenges of current Foundation Program
(mirror program of UCL):
Provides merit-based and transparent
Difficult fit with NU Academic Calendar
Prepares students for demanding Englishspeaking academic environment
Lack of flexibility: NU programs constantly evolve, but
the Foundation Program does not adapt to NU’s
needs and requirements
Helps students make informed choice of
future degree programs
Foundation staff is hired by UCL
Development and enhancement of:
• critical thinking skills
• soft skills
• study skills
IPRs belong to UCL, so:
• NU cannot share its experience with other
• No sustainability for NU
Provides hands-on laboratory experience
Serves as a tool to evaluate student’s ability
to be successful in his/her future academic
8. 6. Main features of the New Pre-University Program:Features of the new Pre-University Program (hereinafter – PUP) in cooperation with a new strategic
Intellectual Property of Nazarbayev University
The Foundation Program will have a national impact, providing other universities with a model for
foundation level studies, which will enhance the quality of higher education across the country
Full integration with Nazarbayev University
Foundation program will be fully integrated with NU undergraduate schools and aligned with NU’s
strategy and needs. The program will evolve based on the feedback given by professorship of NU.
New Foundation will have a NU Academic Calendar with 2 semesters: 1 semester – generalized timetable
with a focus on Math, English and Kazakh languages; 2 semester – specialized timetable. Focus on
Mathematics during 2 semesters for all students regardless of their track.
Student Support (in addition to all services provided at current Foundation program)
Academic examples classes: practical academic sessions where students can complete homework and assignments with
support of undergraduate and postgraduate students
Careers information, advice and guidance: additional advice and support will be provided by student careers and skills
team alongside the existing provision available at NU to support students’ progression to undergraduate study.
Local capacity building: to provide transition of the program to NU, a new partner will design and
implement targeted professional development for program staff ; develop an increasing network of
school-based partners; create opportunities for school improvement across the region
9. 7. Preliminary Model of Admission ProcessAdmissions:
• Funneling system of entry tests
• Use of standardized and internationally benchmarked entry
• Recruitment and admissions working group
10. 8. New Quality Assurance FrameworkRobust quality assurance framework with both
internal and external validation. NU will appoint an
external auditor to provide independent scrutiny and
validation of the program.
Student progress will be monitored and improved
through the six assessment points across the
academic year with a sample of assignments
moderated through second marking to ensure
consistency of assessment and the validity and
reliability of the data.
The quality of teaching will be monitored and
improved through peer observation, regular staff
training and sharing of best practices.
Students will have regular opportunities to provide
feedback on their experience through a Staff-Student
Liaison Committee and the regular completion of an
online feedback form.
11. 9. Pros of implementing Foundation Program in universities on Kazakhstan’s way to K12Starting from 2015 Kazakhstan will be implementing K12 as a pilot project to be
fully introduced in schools by 2020 and Foundation Programs are seen as a
“temporary measure” to prepare students for undergraduate studies.
1. Students are better prepared for their undergraduate studies through:
• development of academic and research, critical thinking and practical
• Academic English language (for universities with English language of
• study skills;
• laboratory experience
2. More informed choice of future degree programs
3. Merit-based and transparent admission process
12. 10. Implementation of Foundation Programs in universities: issues to be addressedIssues to be addressed
In relation to Kazakhstan’s education system:
1. Should introduction of K-12 eliminate the need for a PUP or complement it?
2. Lack of hands-on laboratory experience in schools (poor infrastructure)
3. Should PUPs be a part of secondary or tertiary education?
4. Cost: free or fee-based?
• fee-based: State or self-funded?
• fee-based → self-funded → limited access for low income families
5. Should universities create consortiums or offer PUPs on their own?
6. Cost evaluation for Government/University/Student
7. External validation of the program to provide quality assurance
8. Admission requirements an graduation standards for PUPs
In relation to NU experience:
1. Adaptability and relevance of NU Foundation program to other Kazakhstani universities
2. PUP or Direct Admission: who should go through Foundation?
3. Benefits of Foundation program: academic preparation (English language, subject courses, study
skills) VS preparation to adulthood (soft skills)
4. Merit-based and transparent admission process
13. 11. Annex 1: Application timeline and admission criteriaTimeline:
Stage 1: February - March
Stage 2: March - April
Stage 3: May
Results posted: August (beginning)
Tests can be submitted in all regions
Admission to NU
IELTS or TOEFL
Subject Entrance Test
(evaluates academic readiness
for studying at University)
(assessment of general English, applicants
with valid IELTS or TOEFL score may be
Engineering – IELTS min 5.5
(with no component below 5.0);
• School of Humanities and Social
Sciences – IELTS min 6.0 (with
no component below 6.0);
14. 12. Annex 2: Modules and Successful Completion of the ProgramMODULE
To successfully complete the Foundation Program the student must:
1. Satisfy 80% attendance requirements of all courses
2. Obtain the following minimum marks:
At least 60% in EAP;
At least 40% in Science & Society or Academic Research and Methods;
At least 40% in each of the two core modules.
3. Pass the final examination in two subject modules with more than 40%.
Successful completion of the Foundation Program does not guarantee progression to NU