Kazakhstan has 11-year free and compulsory school from
the children are 7 years old. The primary school is 4 years
old and the secondary school 7 years old (5 + 2). In 2000,
89% of children attended primary school. After primary
school, students can continue in high school. Emphasis has
been placed on developing higher education. In 2002/03, the
country had 177 higher education institutions. A large
proportion of youth with a Russian background choose to take
their higher education in Russia. Illiteracy is estimated at
approx. 1.5% (1999). Check topschoolsintheusa for test centers of ACT, SAT, and GRE as well high schools in the country of Kazakhstan.
In the first years of the 20th century, a small nationalist
movement emerged in Kazakhstan, and after the Russian
revolution in 1905, the Kazakhs were directly represented in
the 1st and 2nd Duma. When the Czar regime in 1916 ordered
all men between 19 and 43 mobilized, the Kazakhs revolted
under the leadership of Abdulghaffar and Amangeldy Imanov.
Rebellions were bloodied, but after the Russian Revolution
in November 1917 in Petrograd, the nationalist-oriented
Kazakhs demanded complete autonomy for their country.
The struggle between the Red and White Army extended
until 1920. In 1936, Kazakhstan was made one of the 15
republics of the Soviet Union, and in 1937 the local
Communist Party was established. In the first decades of the
century, Kazakhstan received significant flows of Ukrainian,
Belarusian, German, Bulgarian Polish, Jewish and Tartar
emigrants. Many of these had been deported under Josef
In addition to developing industry, Soviet central power
also focused on the development of the area's agriculture.
Previously, Kazakhstan had been considered an area that was
not very fertile. But from 4.2 million hectares of
cultivated land, the area increased to 35.3 million - 15% of
the USSR's total agricultural area - with an important
production of wheat, tobacco, mustard and fruits, along with
extensive expansion of cattle farming. This sharp expansion
of the agricultural area in Kazakhstan was linked to the
chairman of the Republic Communist Party, Leonid Brezhnev.
Until 1985, Kazakhstan's "strong man" was Dinmujamed
KunŠev, a member of the Politburo of the Soviet Communist
Party and President of the Communist Party of the Republic.
When KunŠev was forced to resign in 1989, in the capital,
Alma Ata, student riots were violently suppressed by the
military. In the summer of that year, the lack of water in
the oil city of Novy-Ouzen by the Caspian Sea caused the
inhabitants to attack the city's water supply company. The
official version was blamed on rebel groups, but other
sources confirmed that the events were more serious and had
religious and nationalist overtones.
Following the changes Mikhail Gorbachov had initiated in
the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan declared itself independent.
During the same period, the social organizations Birlik and
ZheltoksŠn and the anti-nuclear movement Semipalatinsk-Nevada
emerged. The most important area for Soviet nuclear
explosions (in Semipalatinsk) and the Baikonur space base
lies precisely in Kazakhstan.
In September 1991, the government presented a seven-point
plan adopted by Gorbachov and 10 of the republics for the
purpose of making a new union treaty. On December 1,
Nazarbayev was elected the first President of the Republic,
and the Communist Party transformed into a Socialist Party.
On December 21, 11 republics signed a protocol in Alma Ata
that effectively disbanded the Soviet Union and formed the
Association of Independent States (CIS) whose members were
individually admitted to the UN. President Nazarbayev's
foreign policy emphasized both a close relationship with
Russia and the region's Muslim republics, and partly an
opening to the West.
In 1992, Nazarbayev let Russia's President Boris Yeltsin
understand that he would no longer allow Kazakhstan's
nuclear missiles - which had been deployed while the
Republic was part of the Soviet Union - to remain under
Moscow's exclusive control. In 1993, Alma Ata agreed to
scrap the missiles against US financial aid.
In the same year, several new political parties such as
the Socialist Party, the Congress People's Party and the
Government Party, the Union for National Unity were formed.
At the same time, Nazarbayev agreed to initiate a rapid
privatization process and to stimulate foreign investment.