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Internationalization of Higher Education in Kazakhstan

This research project is designed to understand the role of a government-sponsored student mobility program in promoting human capital development. One component of the project utilizes case study analyses to examine the forces that influence participation in and benefits of one particular government-sponsored international student-mobility program: the Bolashak program sponsored by the Ministry of the Republic of Kazakhstan. A second component of the program is designed to understand the characteristics of international student mobility programs that are sponsored by governments worldwide. For this project component, the research team collected data from websites and other sources to produce a database of government-sponsored mobility programs operating worldwide. We used the data collected to construct a typology of available programs and, consequently, generate a mechanism for facilitating cross-national comparisons.


The research was supported in part by Nazarbayev University with funds from the Republic of Kazakhstan Ministry of Education and Science.


Laura Perna, Penn GSE and Aida Sagintayeva, Nazarbayev University GSE

Research Team 

The research team is comprised of Kata Orosz and Dr. Bryan Gopaul from the University of Pennsylvania and Kadisha Dairova, Marina Kishkentayeva, Zakir Jumakulov, and Adil Ashirbekov from Nazarbayev University.

Press Coverage 

Inside Higher Ed, December 3, 2014: Reactions to the Inaugural Leading Academic Change Summit 

Inside Higher Ed, March 11, 2014: New Typology for International Scholarship Programs 


Perna, L.W., Orosz, K., Jumakulov, Z., Kishtentayeva, M., & Ashirbekov, A. (2015). Understanding the programmatic and contextual forces that influence participation in a government-sponsored student mobility program. Higher Education, 69, 173-188.

Perna, L.W., Orosz, K., & Jumakulov, Z. (2015). Understanding the human capital benefits of a government-funded international scholarship program: An exploration of Kazakhstan's Bolashak program. International Journal of Educational Development.

Perna, L. W., Orosz, K., Gopaul, B., & Jumakulov, Z. (2014). Minimizing brain drain--The pros and cons. University World News.

Perna, L. W., Orosz, K., Gopaul, B., Ashirbekov, A., Jumakulov, Z., & Kishkentayeva, M. (2014). Promoting human capital development: A typology of international scholarship programs in higher educationEducational Researcher.

Perna, L.W., Orosz, K., & Jumakulov, Z. (under review). Understanding the benefits of the human capital developed by an international scholarship program: A proposed conceptual model.