Performance evaluation of university competitiveness in the field of international partnership
Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №4 - 2012
Mambetkaziyev Yerezhep, Kazakh-American Free University, Kazakhstan
Mambetkaziyev Aidar, Kazakh-American Free University, Kazakhstan
The process of globalization of international cooperation in the
field of education is a necessary condition for Kazakhstan to join the global
education community, as it determines the way of integration with national
systems of education of the most developed countries, provides mutual
recognition of educational achievements and serves as the basis for equal
cooperation in the other areas of international relations.
The international partnership is one of the main components of the
reform of the education system of Kazakhstan, as it promotes the definition of
reform’s final goals and objectives through consideration of generally
recognized global trends and standards of education. Realization and
development of international relations rises additional funding in the form of
grants and technical assistance, which increases the attractiveness of the
higher education institution, improves its image and, as a consequence,
increases its competitiveness [1, 2].
Let us examine the evolution of the international educational
activities. Since the late 40's of the XX century, developed world countries
started positioning international educational exchange programs as a part of
their foreign policy, putting them by importance in one line with military and
economic aid to the developing countries. By the end of the last century, there
had been formed a separate branch of the global economy - the international
education market, with tens of billions dollars in sales and the flow of
international academic mobility of students numbering several million people a
year. According to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development,
more than half a million foreign students study annually at different
universities all over the world. The leader in this area is the United States,
with 500,000 foreign students studying there every year approximately.
Development of the international activities of universities of Kazakhstan is closely
connected with the development of international activities of the Republic of Kazakhstan in
general, and education in particular. Today, Kazakhstan promotes the open door policy,
by welcoming a variety of local initiatives to attract
foreign capital and the most valuable experience, advanced foreign technology
and equipment to assist transformations in our society. The most popular and
actively functioning international grant programs in Kazakhstan are:
- Erasmus Mundus CASIA;
- "Research visit" program of the "Prague development
center" (Czech Republic);
- UNESCO joint program with the Government of Japan;
- The program of JSC "Center of International Programs" -
administrator of "Bolashak" international scholarship of the
President of Kazakhstan
- MUSKIE - Muskie Scholarship Program (Muskie), administered by the
American Council for International Research and Exchanges (IREX)
- UGRAD - another program administrated by American Council of
International Research and Exchanges (IREX);
- DAAD - German Academic exchange program. Central Asian Scholarship
Fund - a program administered by the Advisory Centre of Education Abroad by
organization "Bilim - Central Asia".
Kazakhstan does not support isolationism and
actively continues to cooperate in different international financial, social
and other organizations, demonstrating desire to play a leading political role
in the world community. Kazakhstan continues its integration into the world of
higher education, actively developing new educational technologies, solving
organizational issues of accessibility and structuring of higher education, and
convertibility of national diplomas. The government proved its intention by
providing support to foundation in the 90s of such universities as Kazakhstan
Institute of Management, Economics and Strategic Research, Kazakh-American Free
University, Kazakh-Turkish University; later, in the 2000th - to Kazakh-British
Technical University (KBTU) and, finally, "Nazarbayev University",
designed to be a model of a national university, which uses international
standards and experience in its teaching.
In practice, it is difficult to separately evaluate the impact of
international partnership on change in university competitiveness. Rather, you
can set the connection between international education programs and
organizational development of the university. However, such an assessment is
Study of the problem of indicators of higher education institution
competitiveness in general, and international partnership activities, in
particular, showed that there is no unanimous understanding of this issue in
theoretical sources, which contain both identical and distinct approaches [3,
4, 5, 6, 7].
Indicators used in legal acts of the Ministry of Education and
Science are not up to date and cannot serve as indicators of program goals in
this area, specified in the State Program of Education Development of
Kazakhstan for 2011-2020 .
Better indicators of the international cooperation can be found in
current techniques of high schools ranking used by Kazakhstan accrediting
bodies, but still, they are also insufficient and do not contain indicators
sufficient value achievement.
Assessment of international partnership involves not only the
generalization of the factors affecting the formation of the competitive
advantage of a higher education institution in a particular field. It is also
necessary to make a competent, full and well-grounded choice of accepted and
clear evaluation criteria of the factors that allow studying the entire
cause-effect relationship process. An assessment mechanism is required that
would ensure reliable, objective, regular, transparent and optimal results. The
system of indicators must secure information needed for making effective
To take into account dominant quality, little known elements of the
international partnership it is advisable to use a system of indicators, which
is strictly subordinated to the specifics of evaluating competitiveness in
international partnerships and will be an information basis for monitoring and
ranking, as well as identification and utilization of existing reserves to
reinforce competitive the position of the university in the field of
Thus, for the assessment of the competitiveness we suggest using the
following system of indicators, the application of which increases its
The peculiarity of this system is in having interconnected
indicators , based on the criteria and standards used in the organization of
the international educational activities worldwide and, which is most
important, relevant and reflecting modern processes of education internationalization
Moreover this system is characterized by the ability to adapt to
certain conditions, which is especially important when it comes to
differentiating from existing competitors.
The suggested system of estimation includes a set of key indicators
of the most significant results of the international activities of the
university, which form competitiveness of education services provided.
However, using only this system of indicators has the following
drawbacks, as it implies:
1) Only internal evaluation based on the source of information for
2) Use mostly quantitative indicators.
3) Considering the opinion of only one member of the education
market - the higher education institution.
Before determining the best approach to the assessment of the competitiveness
of the university in the field of international partnerships, it is important
to determine the parties interested in the assessment, and the purposes for
which the assessment may be used. In our opinion, the results of this
assessment may be interesting for the following parties:
- the Ministry of Education and Science, while considering the
placement of state order, and funding of public university;
- the employers, while considering information about the institution
in the process of staff selection and hiring;
- Students and their parents, when choosing a school;
- University, for analytical work and effective management
Therefore, an integrated approach to assessing the competitiveness
of the international education services of the university is recommended which
integrates the parameters of internal and external evaluation.
Speaking of competitiveness of educational services, including that
in the field of international cooperation, it is imperative to consider the
fact that it is largely determined by the assessment of the degree of customer
satisfaction, which involves, primarily, the conformity of knowledge and skills
of public and professional nature to the needs and expectations of the
Thus, to evaluate the competitiveness of international cooperation
it is appropriate to use a methodological approach that includes:
1) Consideration of internal and external evaluation.
2) Evaluation of both quantitative and qualitative indicators.
3) Involvement of participants of not only the education market, but
As a result of this methodological approach, the integrated value of
the results can be obtained. The procedure of a comprehensive assessment of
competitiveness in the sphere of international partnership involves:
1) Defining the purpose of evaluation. The purpose of evaluation is
sustainable increase in the university’s competitiveness in the field of
international partnership based on the study and analysis of the needs of the
environment, processing the results and creating a plan of strategic and
tactical activities. Higher education institution itself is a subject of
assessment; it has access to the information, collects the information,
analyses it and gets the results.
2) Planning the assessment procedure in the field of international
partnership includes setting appropriate objectives, determining the sources of
information, doers and terms of performance.
Among the required set of objectives the priorities are: identifying
components, positive or negative influence on the subject of evaluation,
identification of key resource reserves to increase competitiveness,
development of the action plan.
The sources of information for the evaluation are both internal
(documentation in accordance with the approved list of documents) and external
(derived from the survey) data.
3) Collection and processing of information using all possible
sources and validation of information, information processing and grouping by
components (depending on the method of evaluation).
4) Analytical work, the calculation of the integral index of
competitiveness and the analysis of the results.
5) Development of the recommendations based on the performed
analysis: determining factors that contributed to these results, designing
measures to improve competitiveness of international partnership and defining
promising areas of the university activity to ensure its achievement.
As for the methods of assessment, they require having two necessary
- Quantitative internal evaluation in accordance with the system of
balanced indicators we developed;
- High-quality external evaluation based on a customer survey.
There are the following priorities in the field of international
partnership in higher education at the present stage of development of the
educational system in Kazakhstan:
1) Implementation of public policies to promote international
cooperation in the field of education, in accordance with the laws and other
legal acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan, international (interstate, intergovernmental
and interdepartmental) treaties in the field of education.
2) Development and implementation of comprehensive programs on
improving international cooperation in the field of education.
3) Preparation of highly qualified personnel from among the most
talented Kazakh youth in the best foreign universities.
4) Education and training of specialists for foreign countries from
among foreign citizens and stateless persons.
5) Assistance in meeting the educational needs of young people from
foreign Kazakh Diaspora.
6) Exchange of scientific-technical and scientific-pedagogical
Strategic objectives in the field of international cooperation
between higher education institutions should include:
- Increasing the number of the existing international treaties,
agreements, memoranda and partnerships, as well as improving their
- Achievement of international competitiveness of the results of
educational and research activity;
- Increasing the competitiveness of the university at the regional,
national and international education market;
- Attraction of funds to the university budget for the development
of international activities and generation of income from international
The above mentioned strategic goals lead to setting the following
strategic objectives of higher education in the field of international
- Promoting academic mobility of students and teachers in accordance
with the principles of the Bologna Declaration and the establishment of a
common European educational space;
- Expansion of cooperation with foreign universities and
organizations in the traditional areas of partnership and the creation of new
forms of cooperation;
- Use of the achievements of foreign scientific schools and
international research and methodological expertise;
- Creation of international research groups and consortia to conduct
collaborative research in basic and applied problems;
- Distribution of information on advances and capabilities of
universities in the field of joint educational and research activities;
- Activization of export of educational services .
Obstacles to the development of international relations are:
1) Insufficient funding of international activities of the
2) Insufficient level of R & D facilities.
3) Lack of financial attractiveness of the university for foreign
4) Bureaucratic obstacles in the process of attracting foreign
teachers for long-term periods.
5) Low level of teacher motivation to participate in the programs of
6) Difference in domestic and foreign educational standards.
7) Language barrier.
Thus, implementation of the measures described above to promote
international co-operation will contribute to the competitiveness of the
university, to improving its image, both in the local and international markets
of educational services, will increase attractiveness of the institution of
higher learning for international educational and research institutions. They
will increase its attractiveness to students from other countries, will promote
the integration of the university into the international educational space,
which is an indisputable priority for the university in the context of
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Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №4 - 2012