This week, we interview Marina Khan, Founder and General Manager of Intellect Consulting Educational Agency, about the Kazakhstan Association of Educational Agents (KAEA), its activities, market changes and driving industry standards.

What are some of KAEA’s achievements since its launch in 2004?

I believe that the quality of relations between the members of KAEA is the main achievement of the association. Every one of us highly respects each other as professionals and successful businessmen/women. We willingly share our experience and information, are always glad to have mutual meetings and spend time together with pleasure. Healthy competition is a good incentive to improve the quality of the provided services and creative exploration of the right marketing strategy.

What has KAEA been up to over the past 12 months?

Members of the association are always happy to take part in the networking events, and I would like to mention that we always get eagerly invited. For the last year our members participated in different workshops, such as Study World, ALPHE, ICEF, IALC, NAFSA, BBSW, WEBA, British Council, English UK Antalya and many others.

Major agencies, such as Globus, Intellect and M&K, organise their own events for partners. There is an interesting tendency of hosting such events not only in the main capitals, Astana and Almaty, but in other cities of Kazakhstan as well.

KAEA members are active attendees in all sorts of trainings and seminars, organised by such organisations as Linden Tour, CERBA, visa centres, and embassies.

New personnel of the agencies – members of the association – enthusiastically undergo online education and written exams to gain English UK and ICEF certificates.

The main goal and achievement of the KAEA members is creative and successful work, happy students and satisfied parents! 

What are some of the main Kazakh student trends at the moment, and what challenges do Kazakh students currently face?

The Kazakhstan market has passed a long way from a situation when education at all levels was absolutely free for everybody to a current state with clients choosing the most expensive educational programmes. The Kazakhstan market has passed a huge range from a very limited choice of schools and universities in one country to access to almost every educational institution from around the world.

It is important to understand that parents today, in the majority, are the first generation in their families with the ability to send their children to study abroad. An access to education abroad was gained in the early 90s after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Another feature of this market is the vast majority of students returning to Kazakhstan and having very good prospects for employment and rapid career growth.

For more than 20 years, a special scholarship programme, designed by the first president of Kazakhstan, enables talented and hardworking young men and women to study in the best educational institutions abroad.

In general, the market is getting more mature. The most popular and demanded are the most famous institutions of the world. Nowadays, students and parents are significantly higher informed than 20 years ago. 

The level of English has increased dramatically! In this regard, the demand for language programs is reducing. However, students are not afraid to apply to world-renowned institutions with a big name and often they are successful in that.

Students and their parents use summer time as an opportunity to get better prepared for further academic education and pass various exams.

I gather KAEA has considered joining the Federation of Education and Language Consultant Associations (FELCA). What are the attractions of this?

Even though we knew about FELCA long before the KAEA was formed, the question of entering the association is under consideration for the second year.

The most evident advantages to us are:

  • Exchange of information and experience among the professionals from all over the world
  • A sense of control over the quality in some schools
  • Communication with professionals from around the world
  • Access to the services granted only to the members
  • Professional development

And what are the benefits to agencies in Kazakhstan of striving to join KAEA?

  • Membership in the association is a distinct quality sign. This comes from the fact that KAEA members are the main “players” in the market. Members are the agencies with an excellent reputation, hundreds of loyal customers and professional staff.
  • Conformation of the country’s event plan and calendar, cooperation
  • Joint efforts to promote international education and improve the quality of potential students

What does KAEA have planned over the next 12 months?

We are planning an increased presence in the media, the completion of our web page and work in the social media networks; additional training for the new staff; and some publications.

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