In the conditions of globalization the importance of the country is determined not so much by mineral raw material resources but by the competitiveness of economy which level depends on the development of the knowledge-intensive and high-tech production and rates of its innovation. The decisive factor in providing all this is the expanded reproduction of knowledge, inconceivable without higher education. Budget costs for education are not a burden of the state but investments into a person that are the most profitable to the society in the long-term prospect.
In the current trends there is reflected the increased value of higher education and recognition of a high role of universities in the forward development of economy. Today the world is at the stage of transition to the sixth technological way. In the number of leaders there will be countries that timely reached this stage. The state program of industrial and innovative development (GPIID-2) assumes a high-tech post-industrial society with the developed intellectual potential. In the present day world there is firmly affirmed the thesis: education is the first link in the chain leading to the development of high technologies.
Innovative education is, first of all, the advancing education. Without denying the need of implementing the tasks of today, present day requests of the society including the labor market, it is necessary to be guided by the predicted future requests. It is useful to remember the achievements of the Soviet education which can find a second wind today as retro-innovations.
The competitive strategy of Kazakhstan in the context of Strategy-2050 shall be based on the development of scientific and educational potential of the country. Unfortunately, this potential does not fully conform to the requirements of the knowledge-intensive economy. The competitive line items of Kazakhstan in the world economy are still rather low. There is no due demand for intelligence. The products are not quite competitive, they are not very science intensive and technologically efficient.
The process of globalization, despite its objectivity, represents the most complicated transformation of the world system in which there is a danger of selecting the unified and simplifying integration models. The Bologna Process which Kazakhstan joined in 2010 is an example of an integration vector of globalization. This required considerable changes in the educational policy. In particular, in 2012 they refused the state educational standards in specialties of higher and postgraduate education. The SCES of higher and postgraduate education approved by the Order of the RK Government in 2012, and then in 2016 have a framework character, they do not consider specifics of this or that specialty. The qualification characteristic of the graduate with the description of labor functions of professional activity, the requirements to professional competences is not considered in them and there is no concentrated statement of educational programs for cycles of disciplines.
In SCES-2012 it is noted that the core component (CC) acts as a fundamental kernel of the educational program and specialty in general which provides an integrated educational space in the country . This formulation is in principle impracticable because the CC of the cycle of majors (M) constitutes, according to the requirements of the SCES, only 5 credits (15,6 %), and the elective component 27 credits (84,4 %). Is it possible to provide with the module of 5 credits a fundamental kernel of vocational training? What an integrated educational space can there be spoken of?
In the conditions of massification of higher education oriented mainly to the solvent demand of the population, there is a conflict of entrepreneurial interests of higher education institutions and requirements for ensuring the needed quality of training specialists. Unfortunately, in this conflict more often there win financial interests of higher education institutions. As a result the market is replenished with unclaimed young specialists. The reason is that massification performed a more socialization function but not the youth professionalizing.
Today in the assessment of the quality of education it is necessary to draw a distinction between the process directed to achieving the planned results and concrete results of the educational activity. The prevailing role is played not by the volume of the acquired knowledge but professional competences and ability of a creative approach to solving various situational tasks of professional activity.
In Kazakhstan there has been formed the National system of the education quality evaluation  including various control procedures and estimates: licensing, certification, accreditation, licensed control, external assessment of educational achievements, single national testing (complex testing of entrants), ratings, final state assessment of students (Figure).
There is no such an excessively developed system of the quality evaluation in any country of the world. The designated control procedures solve various functional problems though their strategic target orientation contacts the assessing and ensuring a due quality of education. The problem of quality assurance is aggravated with bureaucratization expansion. Never-ending scheduled and unscheduled inspections, in many respects duplicating each other, distract the teachers from their pedagogical and scientific work. It is reasonable to minimize these control checking procedures. In this regard the refusal of state certification should be considered as a logical continuation of democratization begun in Kazakhstan in the system of higher education.
The reforms assume the student-centered training, flexible training programs, a considerable contingent of qualified teachers ready to realize these innovations. Unfortunately, in Kazakhstan the number of highly skilled staffs is insufficient in comparison with the contingent of students. The specific weight of doctors and candidates of science in the education system makes about 50 %. The problem is aggravated with the fact that since 2011 in Kazakhstan there were liquidated the traditional postgraduate and doctoral studies, and the introduced western PhD doctoral studies are only adjusted. It is unlikely possible in such a situation to guarantee the quality higher education that acquired a mass character.
National system of assessing the education quality
The present stage of upgrading higher school is integrated to emergence of a number of risks caused by a keen competition in the sphere of educational services in the conditions of the market economy, developing the Bologna Process in Kazakhstan and the knowledge-intensive economy. The main risks of successful upgrading higher education are connected with insufficient funding of higher school. Budget financing of higher education at the level of 0,3–0,4 % of the GDP is extremely low in comparison with the European standard rates (1,5–2 % of the GDP). From there is a noncompetitive pay level of the staffs, deficit of highly-skilled scientific and pedagogical employees, widely practiced part-time job with damage to the training quality.
Standard managerial risks are caused by a frequent change of educational priorities. The undertaken reforms had a more chaotic character. On the system basis there were only replaced the Ministers of Education and Science (for the last 25 years 13 ministers were replaced), and the matter “of modernization remains to upgrade as large as life”. The standard rates of the ratio of the staffs to the contingent of students established more than a quarter of the century ago, became outdated now. A high annual load of a teacher (900 hours) does not promote improving the educational process quality. As a result the creative educational process turns into an industrial conveyor for stamping a standard bachelor-contractor. It is necessary to refer an insufficient competence of the managerial personnel and a low performance of studies monitoring to standard managerial risks.
The updating of the competence-based approach is caused by the need of implementing GPIID-2 and the development of the Bologna Process in Kazakhstan. In Kazakhstan higher education as a part of the Soviet education system was formed on the knowledge paradigm. Educational programs of the first generations of SCES were formed according to the didactic triad “knowledge – abilities – skills”. At the same time the main emphasis was placed on transferring and assimilating knowledge. In the conditions of globalization and dynamically changing market there are demanded not knowledge for itself but competences of a specialist as a capability (readiness) to apply them successfully in the professional activity. Forming competence-based oriented educational programs is the main way of overcoming the gap between resulting effects of education and present requirements. Without denying the importance of the complex of knowledge and abilities, it focuses attention on achieving the integrated result that competence serves.
The main concept of the today’s upgrading of higher education in line with the Bologna reforms is changing the net knowledge model by the competence-based model. Unfortunately, in the RK this problem has not yet become widely discussed. In the conditions of infinite reforms the competence-based approach in higher education is more often perceived as the next formal and bureaucratic loading having a decorative role. Is it really so? Apparently, such estimates arise owing to the deficit of competence in these questions.
Implementation of the competence-based approach is the most difficult task requiring evidence-based methodology of transformation of the qualification characteristic and professional competences of the graduate requirements into the content of an educational program.
In the Concept of life-long education there is important the transition from managing professions to managing professional qualifications. This problem is solved with the help of professional standards permitting to reveal the professional activity of specialists according to the structure of the technological process and succession of activities at various qualification levels in combination with the requirements to knowledge, abilities and competences. On the basis of professional standards and requirements of the real production sector there must be formed educational policy of the country and the system of certifying specialists. Professional and educational standards providing interrelation between professional training and the requirements of changing economy shall become a kernel of the national system of qualifications.
Developing a social partnership of higher education institutions and professional associations of employers in designing professional standards and practice-focused educational programs based on the graduate’s competence-based model is to become the main vector of modernizing higher school.
The absence of professional standards in many directions constrains designing the competence-based focused educational programs and does not permit to provide an interface of procedures of the final assessment of the University graduates and certification of bachelors’ qualification. Special sharpness is felt in technical education where in connection with transition to the 4-year bachelor degree programs is obviously found the deficiency of practical training.
The main task of the higher school teacher in the context of the competence-based approach consists in that a student wanted to study, to plunge into the subject. Paraphrasing the words: “It is necessary to fight not for all but for everyone”, in pedagogics “the teacher has to teach not all but everyone”. In pedagogy it means the use of the individual person-focused approach in the course of training socially active experts with corresponding competences.
Forming the needed competences at students assumes the development of corresponding professional competences at teachers, too. This is a necessary condition of improving the quality and efficiency of pedagogical activities which assumes regular teachers’ having various forms of advanced training, their active participation in scientific research in the sphere of professional activity.
Increasing the professional competence is an important condition of ensuring the international competence of the pedagogical personnel which is a necessary condition of integration of the Kazakhstan education system into the international educational space.
The competence-based approach in higher education strengthens integrative tendencies in the educational process. Implementation of the competence-based oriented programs will require creative interaction of teachers not only at the department but also at the inter-department level. There are needed coordinated actions of the staffs aimed at the integrated team result.
In the conditions of globalization higher education in Kazakhstan shall not become a factor of social stratification of the society. The Unified National Testing (UNT) as a factor of enhancement of the entire educational system promotes increasing availability of the quality education to citizens, irrespective of their social position and place of residence. Despite this merit, the UNT does not develop a system logical thinking and does not promote forming creative self-educational activities. The situation at schools is such that in the 10–11 forms the children do not practically study, they prepare for passing the UNT, they are trained. The reason is quite explainable: the school is estimated by the results of the UNT, by the number of those who entered the University. The UNT results are constantly improved, but the level of the system knowledge leaves much to be desired. The UNT as an indicator of the level of education and readiness of a school leaver from the point of view of equal starting opportunities of entering a higher education institution is quite a good tool. It should be improved in the direction of leaving from guessing towards developing logical thinking on the basis of the system knowledge.
Higher education is the basis of the social and economic development of the country. Therefore the state shall track the quality of education irrespective of the economy condition and the level of budget financing.
The Kazakhstan higher education within the Bologna Process became three-level. In the context of forming the all-European educational process these changes are integrated to a number of inevitable challenges. There are needed scientific and methodological reasons for the undertaken reforms .
The expanded autonomy of higher education institutions in forming educational programs and selecting technologies of training are fixed legislatively. The expansion of the degree of freedom assumes increased requirements to the quality of higher education and the need for its objective confirmation . It makes necessary carrying out a systematic monitoring of the efficiency of higher education institutions activities. In this aspect a special role is assigned to independent accreditation of higher education institutions and educational programs.
Since 2017 there will be performed a complete transition from the state certification of higher education institutions to accreditation. It provides developing an effective system of quality assurance of education including both internal quality assurance and external quality assurance .
The crossing point of the interests of higher education institutions and employers becomes independent accreditation of educational organizations and educational programs. Accreditation permits to estimate the activities of a higher education institutions not only in the context of quality assurance, but also from the position of satisfying all interested consumers of educational services (students, employers). It becomes a working tool demanded and attractive to various target audiences. In the course of accreditation higher education institutions reveal strengths of the activities and get competitive advantages in the education market. The revealed weaknesses permit a higher education institution to correct its educational policy and to make strategically correct decisions for training demanded specialists. The procedure of accreditation forces the business community to become not only a customer but also an appraiser of the quality of educational services (knowledge, abilities and professional competences).
Higher education institutions and the scientific and pedagogical public supported actively the institution of accreditation as a new model of the independent education quality evaluation. Since 2012 only through the NAAR there have been accredited more than 400 educational programs and more than 30 Kazakhstan higher education institutions passed successfully institutional accreditation.
The processes of accreditation begun in Kazakhstan represent a public professional evaluation of the education quality which essential difference is its independence, objectivity and publicity. Such a policy of quality assurance causes trust from higher education institutions, promotes increase in their competitive advantages: the appeal for entrants and demand at employers.
The processes of globalization are capable to work in the multi-vector directions . The active market rhetoric, expansion of the paid sector of higher education and the academic autonomy of higher education institutions impact negatively the quality. There is leveled the most important thesis of higher education as a public benefit to please to market conditions. We should not to be guided blindly by the western samples without the Kazakhstan realities. The effectiveness of the undertaken reforms depends on the accurate statement of criterion functions and scientifically based methodology of step-by-step upgrade of higher school in the direction of quality assurance and competitiveness. It is necessary to bring the level of budget financing of higher school to the Central European standard rates, to provide measures for increasing the social status of the high school teacher, developing the conditions for the fixed growth of the professional competence.