Kazakhstan Visit, Issue 3

Today was down to business with our hosts at the Karaganda State Technical University. Although we came prepared to give lectures, it turns out that the other main reason for our invitation was to explore collaboration opportunities. Most of the day was spent in meetings with professors, the dean and a quick talk with the vice-rector, trying to identify areas in which Stellenbosch (Engineering) and KSTU’s research interests overlap.

The Kazakhstan universities seem to find themselves in the same difficulty as South African universities had a decade or two ago: after a long period of relative isolation (but strong ties to local industry, and a strong engineering culture), the Bologna Process is placing increasing pressure on universities to produce research outputs. This is a very difficult transition to make for a university which focuses mostly on education and industry collaboration. However, Stellenbosch University (certainly E&E Engineering) found itself in a similar situation in the late nineties; it’s only over the past decade that we really started increasing our research productivity

So there seems to be an interesting common ground. I’m struck by many similarities in South Africa and Kazakhstan’s development over the past two decades, and am looking forward to see how things develop over the rest of the visit. I’ve also realised that South African universities have a piece of capital we shouldn’t underestimate: our command of English in a world where the language is the lingua franca of research.

One Response to this post.

  1. Posted by JanB on 28.05.13 at 19:37

    ” I’ve also realised that South African universities have a piece of capital we shouldn’t underestimate: our command of English in a world where the language is the lingua franca of research.”
    Couple that with “but not being English and therefore have good appreciation for multi-lingualism and the challenges faced by non-English institutions.” Or something of the sort.
    Enjoy your stay, GJ!


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